Healthy & Strong Nails – The Best Manicure Tips & Tricks From Nail Professionals

AccessoriesHand & nail care

Hands up – who wants healthy and strong nails? Everyone? Yeah, I thought so!

Nail and hand care, as one of the basic grooming activities, is sometimes overlooked in favour of other beauty treatments such as hair or skin care.

But let me make a case on why everyone (and I mean men as well as women) should do at least the basic nail and hand care regularly – whether at home or getting your nails done by a licensed nail professional.

Plus, I’ll give you lots of handy tips and tricks and advice that only nail professionals know about!

So let’s start your journey to healthier nails today…

Manicure - why should you do it regularly?

Our hands are our work horse – we do everything with them but we rarely take great care of them (unless you’re a hand model and then it’s literally part of your job).

Have you ever experienced itchy skin, hang nails, brittle nails that break easily or even, in extreme cases, cracking and bleeding skin? Then your nail and hand care needs a serious reconsideration! These are some of the signs that your nails and skin need your help to get healthy again.

So why should you have a manicure regularly?

  • Manicure keeps our hands well-groomed and nice-looking
  • cuticles are tidied and regularly maintained which helps to keep them from overgrowing
  • it can prevent hang nails
  • it keeps our nails from having sharp edges and ruining our clothes and tights
  • massage and exfoliation during manicure improves blood circulation, can relieve tension and aches and let’s face it – it’s relaxing and soothing – and the best part of having your manicure done with a nail professional!

After all, we look at our hands pretty much all day long and having a beautifully manicured nails just makes so many people happy (I know I’m one of those people)!

The secret to happy & healthy cuticles? - Nail Oil

YES, YES AND ANOTHER YES for those at the back!

Applying cuticle oil at least once a day is one of the most important things you can do for the health of your nails and cuticles. Trust me on this!

The frequent handwashing, sanitiser use, showering etc. exposes our nails to water and chemicals on a daily basis. This causes nails to be stripped of oils which leads to brittle and easy to break nails. It also dries out the skin and can lead to cracks and hangnails. So what can you do? Apply nail oil daily of course!

By applying nail oil, you replenish those missing oils and make the nail nourished and more flexible again. You should see less breaking and hangnails and the general condition of the nails should also improve.

Nail oil also helps the skin look well groomed and cuticle and eponychium growth at bay and looking nice.

My absolute favourite of the last two years is LART Orange & Cinnamon Cuticle oil. It smells divine and it works perfectly with a LART’s rich shea butter hand balm in the same scent. Both of these products have been developed for use by nail professionals so you’ll only find great quality ingredients that will leave your hands very happy!

Nail Filing Tips & Tricks

The way we cut, clip or file our natural nails has an impact on their condition. Do your nails feel sharp in places or splitting? It’s possible that you’re using incorrect type of nail file.

The best way to achieve nice and smooth free edge of the nail is to use the correct nail file and filing technique. Here are some tips & tricks to help:

  1. File your nails straight after cleaning your hands (washing & sanitising) while your nails are at their hardest. Filing your nails after a bath/shower or after a manicure soak could cause damage. This is because nails absorb moisture, soften and swell up slightly and in that state filing can bend them or cause splitting.
  2. Use only very fine nail file on your natural nails to prevent splitting, snags and to get that smooth finish. It’s best to use 240 grit nail file or glass (sometimes called diamond) nail files.
  3. When taking down length of your nail, you can clip or cut the length with clippers or manicure scissors but then you finish off with fine nail file. File from the side of the nail to the middle to reduce trauma and splintering of the nail. Finish filing with fine nail file to seal the free edge and prevent excessive moisture getting into the nail.

Following these simple filing tips can help you improve the nail condition straight from the beginning of the manicure treatment.

To soak or not to soak?

Lately, the common practice of soaking nails before manicure has been questioned by nail pros and some have even abandoned this practice. Why?

When we soak our nails, they absorb water and expand. Later, the water starts to dry out and the nails contract back. This can cause chipping and lifting of your nail polish or other nail coatings because they aren’t necessarily as flexible as nails.

So when to opt for a moisturising soak and when to choose a dry manicure?

If you want to continue your manicure and apply nail or gel polish, dip, acrylic or anything else on your nails, skip the soak to make your final manicure last longer.

However, if you like to keep your nails clean and in their natural state, a lovely soak is going to be a nice treat for your hands.

Treat your nails like jewels, NOT tools! If you want to avoid breaks and other damage to your nails, you need to treat them well.

More tips for healthy nails

There are plenty more ways to improve the condition of your nails so choose what suits you best!

  • Eat a healthy diet – yeah, I know, this one is a hard one but eating a varied healthy diet is a sure way to give your nails a boost. Try including protein-rich foods like eggs, salmon, chicken or plant-based alternatives like spinach, nuts and seeds. If that’s too drastic for you, read on…
  • Take Biotin or Collagen supplement – nails are made of keratin and these two supplements have been described as the most effective for nail health (bonus, it can also help your hair and skin!)
  • Stay well-hydrated – good level of hydration affects our whole body as well, so drink plenty of water regularly throughout the day.
  • Wear gloves when cleaning, washing dishes and handling chemicals. This is a big one – the more you soak your nails in water for prolonged periods of time, more your nails absorb water, expand and dry out. Avoid it by wearing gloves when possible
  • Use cuticle oil and hand cream daily – even better – multiple times a day! They will keep your hands soft, moisturised and nails flexible and healthy.
  • Opt for rounded shape to minimise nail breaks – Shorter and rounded nails have a strong support structure and no sharp corners so they break much less frequently than square-shaped nails. I used to get frequent nail breaks when I wore my nails square shaped but since switching to almond or rounded shape, I’ve had only few issues with breaking. It works!
  • Treat your nails like jewels, NOT tools! If you want to avoid breaks and other damage to your nails, you need to treat them well. Don’t  use your nails as tools to open cans, scratch off stickers, don’t type with nails instead of fingers, take care when opening doors, cars etc. It might seem silly but these everyday activities are often the cause of nails breaking.

These are some of the most useful tips & tricks to healthier natural nails that I gathered over the last decade nail blogging and being a nail technician.

I hope you’ll be able to implement some of this advice and make your nails and cuticles happy, healthy and beautiful!

Let me know YOUR favourite tips and advice in the comments, I’d love to learn something new!

Lucie Hall
LART Nails UK Educator

Lucie has been passionate about nails and especially nail art for over a decade. Starting as a nail blogger at lucysstash.com, she quickly became one of the top UK nail bloggers of the time, racking up two Cosmopolitan and two Scratch Stars UK Best Nail Blogger nominations and hundreds of thousands followers across social networks.
She finished her professional qualifications in 2014 and has now become LART UK Educator and Marketing Director at Beyond Beauty & Nails.

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