Healthy nails require upkeep. No one wants pesky hangnails or brittle nails. Routine is key to keeping your nails healthy and strong. This beginner’s guide to nail care will help you do exactly that.
Nail Care Basics
Discolored nails, ridges, and brittleness can all be signs that your nails are damaged or unhealthy. Nails consist of the protein keratin, which keeps your nails strong, smooth, and uniform in color. Without proper care, those healthy nail qualities can diminish.
To keep your nails and hands at their best, there are a few basic things everyone should do daily:
Dry and clean your fingernails to prevent bacterial growth.
Keep your hands hydrated with moisturizer to prevent cracking.
Avoid biting your nails and pulling off hangnails, especially when your hands are dry.
Building a Weekly Nail Care Routine
A weekly nail routine that builds on the tips above can help you ensure that you're really prioritizing your nail care. That said, often when people think of nail care, they think of a manicurist working their magic. But your nail care doesn’t need to happen in a nail care spa or salon to be effective, and it goes far beyond keeping nails polished.
It's also important to note that nail care is not just for women, though that might be a common misconception. Nail care for men is important, too. Everyone reaps the benefits of a regular nail care routine. Feel free to add or subtract any step you feel to customize the best nail routine for yourself.
Here are some essentials of a salon-quality, at-home nail routine:
First, give your nails a regular cut. When they grow long and get past a certain length, your nails often become thin and break or split.
Take vitamins, such as biotin, or use cuticle oil to help protect against damage by giving your nails extra nutrients.
For any loose hangnails, soak your fingers in warm water to loosen your skin. Then use tweezers to gently pull any loose skin out.
Trim your cuticles. To do so, push back the cuticles with a flat, wooden stick to keep them even and neat. This also helps make your nails appear longer. Warm water and cuticle oil can help soften your nail beds and make this process easier. However, be sure you don’t remove your cuticles or pick them off completely. Cuticles are crucial in protecting your nails from infection.
File your nails regularly, too. You can shape your nails in a variety of ways, from almond to round to square to square-round. Everyone has their own personal preference. Use your file to shape them. Tip: Repeatedly file in the same direction to avoid ripping your nails. It is best to start gently to avoid over-filing.
Finally, if you want to add color, you can polish your nails. Always start with a base coat, which is a clear nail polish that prevents stains and helps protect your nail. When that dries, apply your color nail polish. Depending on the shade, it may take one to three coats. Avoid making your nail polish too thick. That is when it easily peels off. To avoid mess, you can use nail polish remover and a Q-tip to remove excess polish. Last and most importantly, top it all off with a top coat to avoid chipping.
The Benefits of a Nail Care Routine
Following are some key benefits of regular nail care:
Prevents infection and bacteria
Helps boost blood circulation