Wednesday, October 24, 2012

How to "Nail it!"

This post is going to be all about nails.  How they can be one of your best beauty assets and how you can make the most of your manicure.

In the October 2012 issue of O: The Oprah Magazine there is a lot of fun advice about love, life, careers and beauty.  One piece of advice that stuck with me was from O's creative director Adam Glassman.  When asked for "Simple Ways to Look Polished," Glassman's response was: "a great haircut, neat nails, and well-shaped eyebrows."  These are truly beauty basics.

Lately, it has really hit me that my nails looking great can really have a positive impact on my day.  It might sound silly, but it is true.  You can see your nails throughout the day, if they look great it helps you feel that you look great.  If they're kinda messy and unkempt, it may make you feel messy and unkempt.

But what's more frustrating than spending the time to make your nails look great only to have them chip a few days later?  Well I'm sure there are a lot of more frustrating things, but it is definitely frustrating.  I'm a nurse, and I have found that changing gloves all day, washing your hands all day, opening pill packets, etc., is not at all friendly to nails and nail polish.  So today I went in search of the best ways to keep your manicure going strong.

(Image from Flickr)

To make a manicure last longer:

Clip/File:  shorter nails are less likely to chip, so shorter is better.  Shape also matters, but I have read conflicting advice on what shape to use. says to file nails short and round and to avoid square corners as this leads to more chips.  Good Housekeeping on the other hand says round your tips and leave corners somewhat square.  Both magazines got their advice from dermatologists.  I recommend trying both ways and see what works for you.  So far, for me, it looks like rounded edges work better.

(Image from Fashion meets Food)

Good Housekeeping also recommends filing over clipping.  All sources I found agree that filing is good but needs to be done in only one direction.  This is really trickY for me, so I just resorted to mainly clipping and then just finishing up edges with a bit of one direction filing.

Get rid of oils:  The great thing about having to remove old nail polish is that you will have already removed any oils with your polish remover.  Otherwise use either nail polish remover lightly over each nail or soap and water to make sure your nails are clean and oil free.

Don't soak:  Make sure nails are dry before you paint them.  Nails that have been soaked have soaked up water and will shrink as your polish is drying, this can lead to chips and bubbling.

Base coat:  Yes, this is important.  Base coats adhere to your nails better than nail polish and help hold your manicure to your nail to keep it from chipping.

Polish in layers:  After the base coat you need to apply your color in multiple thin layers rather than a single thick one. This will help prevent chipping due to one thick brittle layer.  With each layer make sure you completely cover the end of your nail.  Sealing this end with each layer and the top coat helps to prevent chipping.  The polish you choose also plays a role in how long your manicure will last.  Make sure each layer is completely dry before adding more polish, luckily thinner layers dry faster.  Another thing that will help your polish last longer is picking the right shade.  Shiny shades last longer than matte ones and shimmery or glittery shades also last longer.

Top Coat:  Choose a good clear top coat to seal everything in.  Wait until your polish has dried before applying it.  Make sure you completely seal the polish in with the top coat, once again make sure you get the end.

Leave them:  Let your nails dry without blowing on them.  Air going over the polish can cause bubbles which will lead to chipping.

Maintenance:  Once your polish is completely dry apply a little oil to each cuticle.  Any oil works, they do make specific cuticle oil if you want to buy it, but you can use your cooking oil from the kitchen.  Keep this up while your nails are painted.  It keeps the nails healthy and makes them less likely to chip.  Also to keep your polish from wearing off or chipping you can apply another top coat daily.  It's a whole lot quicker than having to re-do your nails in a few days and definitely helps them last.

Yay for longer lasting nails!!


Good Housekeeping: