How To: Nail Care

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

My nails are one (ten?) of my favourite things, and I take pride in caring for them. Being one of those kids who would always bite their nails, they are very brittle and break all the time, but I've found that when I paint my nails they don't break so easily. Also, being a Design major, I love coming up with ideas on how to decorate my nails. Today I'm going to show you how I take care of my nails.

 What you'll need:
- Nail varnish remover - Sally Hanson 'Strengthening' Polish Remover (SH has always been a saviour for me, they don't strip down your nails like most 'cheap' brands, and this bottle is for 'weak, thin nails' which is perfect for me)
- Cotton balls
- Nail care tools - clippers, file and cuticle pushers
- Cuticle oil - The Body Shop 'Nail & Cuticle Oil (TBS are well known for their beauty products and this does wonders to the strength of your nails and cuticles)
- Nail varnish - base coat, colour and top coat


Step 1: inspect your nails. I tend to leave my nail varnish on my nails for about a week, and change when it begins to chip away as shown.


Step 2: put the nail varnish remover onto the cotton ball by putting the ball on the top of the bottle then tipping it upside down so the ball absorbs some of the liquid. Don't put too much onto the ball otherwise it'll go everywhere when you go to use it. Using the cotton ball, rub your nails in small circular motions to get the existing nail varnish off. I tend to use one cotton ball for each hand, or one cotton ball to get most of the nail varnish off and a second to tidy it up.

clippers, nail file, plastic cuticle tool, metal cuticle tool, cuticle oil

(a)

 (b)

(c)

(d)
Step 3: tend to any nail care.
a: Begin with the nail clippers to trim down your nails. I prefer to keep my nails a short, with approx 1mm of the edge exposed. I like to make my nails a soft oval shape, so I start with trimming the middle of thee nail, then the corners, rounding off the nails slightly while trimming.
b: Using the nail file to smooth down the edges. ONLY file in one direction, if you rub the file back and forth on the edges they become brittle and are more likely to catch and break. 
c: Using the metal cuticle tool, slightly push back your lunula (the bit of skin that goes over your nail at the back). This makes the nail appear longer, meaning you can put more nail varnish on it.
d: Apply the cuticle oil to your cuticles and entire nail. Once applied, using the rubbery plastic cuticle tool push back your cuticles. Allow the oil to soak into your nails for about 15mins then wash it off with soap (nail varnish doesn't stick to oil, so it's crucial to wash it off once it's soaked)

base coat (Quick Dry by Revlon), coloured coat (Buttercup by Sally Hanson), top coat (Insta-dry Anti-chip by Sally Hanson)

(b)

(c)

(d)
Step 4: Paint your nails!
a: Apply one layer of the base coat. When applying, begin by doing one line from the top to bottom of the nail in the middle, then repeat on either side. This creates an even layer of varnish. It's safe to wait 10mins before the next layer. (apologies, I forgot to take a photo of this step!)
b-c: Select your colour and apply one layer using the technique mentioned above. Wait longer than your base coat before applying the second coloured coat, I go for at least 15mins. Some nail varnishes don't have enough pigment in their formula and some have a lot so you can do 1-3 coats of colour, any more and they take longer and longer to set properly.
d: As you already have three layers of nail varnish on, you'll have to wait until they're almost completely set before applying the top coat. I tend to wait around 30mins just to be absolutely certain. Once the top coat is applied, wait about another 30mins for it to set before doing anything that involves using your fingers to avoid them from smudging or moving about.


You should end up with a lovely set of pretty, healthy nails! If you have any nail varnish that didn't quite make it to your nails and ended up on your skin, (once your nails are dry) run them under warm water and pick it off, or apply nail varnish remover to a cotton bud and rub it off.

I know what you're thinking, taking two hours to do your nails seems quite ridiculous! I know that all this waiting time between the layers of varnish does seem a bit extreme, but if you don't wait until the coats are completely set before adding a new one on, they may never dry and remain soft then they'll buckle and smudge as soon as you try to do anything. Here are some suggestions of things to do while you wait:
- read a book - one or even half a chapter between layers
- watch tv - a 20min episode between layers
- scroll the internet - time yourself between layers


I hope you enjoyed this post on how to care for you nails. What do you do when you give yourself a manicure, is it any different to mine? Do you have any suggestions on different products I should use? Let me know if you'd like to see more "How To" beauty related posts. I have an idea on doing a "Top 10" nail varnishes (colours or brands) post soon, so keep your eyes peeled!

- Louise x

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