Nailing More Beautiful Nails

By on February 12, 2010, in Beauty Knowledge Center, Hands & Feet

Sure, manicures feel great and give us a few minutes to catch up on the celebrity gossip magazines, but there’s more to healthy nails than a pretty coat of polish. Nail problems can actually be an indication of your overall health, indicating a deficiency of nutrients or vitamins in your diet—Vitamins A and B, Calcium, Zinc, Iron, Protein and Iodine are all essential for healthy nail growth. From ridges to yellowing to splitting, here are some pointers to getting perfectly healthy nails.
Problem: Grooves or ridges
Cause: The nail actually develops natural grooves that run the length of the nail, but unevenness in the grooves can be caused my aging or genetics.
Solution: While filing down ridges is an option, the best solution is a ridge-filling base coat that creates a more even surface for nail polish.

Problem: Yellow nails
Cause: Dark polishes are the most common culprit, as they can actually stain the top surface of the nails, especially when applied directly to the nail without a base coat. Environmental factors like smoking and pollution can also cause some yellowing over time.
Solution: Wear a clear base coat when applying a dark polish to add an extra barrier between it and nails. You can also buff away some of the staining with a buffing stick. For a more natural solution, soak nails in a bowl of fresh lemon juice (watch out for open cuts!) for five minutes. Then simply rinse and moisturize.

Problem: Brittle nails
Cause: If splitting is lengthwise, it’s because of damage to the nail’s growth area; if it’s horizontal, it’s usually due to excessive bending or force.
Solution: Hot oil and conditioning nail treatments penetrate the nail plate, helping to make it more durable and less prone to breakage.

For a perfect at-home manicure every time, consider these tips:

  • Soften cuticles with a cuticle softener, moisturizer or even a little soapy water before pushing them back. But leave the cuticle cutting to the professionals—most people do more damage than good trying to cut their own cuticles.
  • Using a top coat not only adds shine to your manicure, it prevents color from fading, increases dry time and protects against chipping.
  • Instead of shaking the bottle of nail polish, roll it between your palms to avoid air bubbles.
  • Apply base coat, polish and the top coat in thin layers to avoid globs and speed drying time, which helps prevent smudges.
  • If you don’t have time to let your nails dry, a few drops of cuticle oil applied over the polish will keep anything from sticking to them.
  • Sweep on a layer of top coat every couple days to keep your manicure looking fresh.
  • Even if nails are polish-free, wipe them with remover before polishing to clean off oils that can speed up chipping.
  • Shimmery colors last longer as the sparkly particles cling better to your nail.
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