Whether you're the type of person who religiously paints their nails as a form of self-care or someone who's constantly picking and biting at their cuticles, we all yearn for healthy, perfectly manicured nails. We talked to nail-care experts to find out exactly what you should be doing for your nails — but first, how can you tell if your nails are healthy? Here's what to look for.
Signs of Healthy Nails:
- Nail plates are a pinkish-white color
- Cuticles are existent (so don't cut them!)
- Nails and white tips are even lengths
- Prominent half-moon shaped white section (called the lunula) at nail base
Signs of Unhealthy Nails:
- Peeling or splitting nails could be dryness or the result of vitamin deficiency
- Tiny white spots usually mean you're biting your nails or painting them too often
- Horizontal grooves could be from stress, high fevers, or jamming your finger
- Red, swollen skin around nails could be from removing or biting cuticles
- Spoon-shaped nails could be a sign of iron deficiency or anemia
1. Keep your hands clean
Before you do anything, it's important to make sure your nails and the skin around them are thoroughly dirt-free. Then remove all traces of your last color with an acetone-free remover (anything else unnecessarily dries out your nail). Dr. Ava Shamban, author of Heal Your Skin, recommends applying soap to a toothbrush, then gently scrubbing your nails and skin. This will remove dirt and exfoliate any dead skin without the need for harsh, drying chemicals or expensive scrubs.
2. Be gentle on your nails.
Your nails are delicate, and scrubbing them too roughly can actually expose you to infection. Another no-no: Using metal tools under the nail, as too much digging can cause the nail plate to separate from the skin (called onycholysis).
3. Clip your nails regularly
Regular trims are as important to your nails as they are to your hair. So set aside time to clip them every two weeks, adjusting to more or less often once you see how your nails respond.
4. Always keep a nail file on hand.
If you're someone whose work or gym routine causes a lot of wear and tear, keep a nail file handy to smooth away any rough edges that happen on the spot. The best way to do it? Work in one direction with the grain of your nail for a smoother finish.
5. Don't forget to take care of your nail tools, too.
Disinfecting your nail tools between uses is just as important as regularly cleaning your makeup brushes, and for the same reason — bacteria. Washing metal tools with soap and water and then wiping down with rubbing alcohol. Our steam nail polish remover is easy to clean with a cloth and warm soapy water.
6. Protect your nails with a base coat.
Painting your nails at home is no excuse to cut corners by skipping the base coat. Dr. Prystowsky points out that this step not only protects the nail from being stained by the polish, but also helps the color look more saturated and opaque with just one coat. And if you really want to take things to the next level, try adding a coat of clear gloss between each layer to add extra shine and protection.
7. Read the labels on your polish.
Just as with makeup and skincare, not all nail polish brands are created equal, so make sure you're buying or using a good product. Dr. Debbie Palmer urges you to steer clear of polishes containing toxic chemicals like dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde, and toluene, as these toxins can contribute to brittleness, splitting, and cracking
8. Use a top coat to prevent nail chips.
Don't think you're squirming your way out of using top coat, either. This step is just as important, as the top coat seals in the polish's color and adds a much-needed gloss finish to your digits.
9. Moisturize your hands and nails regularly.
You wouldn't go to sleep without moisturizing your face, so why should your nails be any different? Nail artist and expert Holly Falcone likes to use a mix of almond and avocado oils to keep cuticles and nails hydrated while she gets some shut-eye, but any nutrient-rich oil or moisturizer will do. In a pinch, you can even use a dab of lip balm.
10. Nail polish removal - use the gentle steam removal system!
Our machine is safe and easy to use the steaming system that doesn’t go past 52 C. Which means it will remove all of the polish off of your nails without damaging your cuticles.
You can also remove acrylic (powder or gel), shellac, and much more. Making it easier for you to get off those stubborn gels in the comfort of your own home and not have to hire a professional to do it for you. Professionals from all over the world cannot recommend this steam nail polish removal machine enough.