We think most people who paint their nails can agree that’s there nothing better than a fresh coat of polish— especially when you get it done at your favorite nail salon. The time spent there is rejuvenating and your nails seem to take on a new persona when they’re covered in color.
To the contrary, there are also those who have trouble relaxing because of the cost and time it takes. So, when you do take the time to get your nails professionally done, you should know how to take care of them in between appointments.
We talked to two New York-based nail leading ladies—Gracie J, season 1 professional nail stylist of TNT’s “CLAWS”, and Dr. Dana Stern, renowned nail dermatologist— to not only find out how you can maintain your manicure in between appointments, but also how to them healthy and strong 24/7.
Fixing Chipped Polish
The most common blunder that happens right after a manicure is a chipped nail. Most of the time, people sacrifice and take off all their color. Yet, Gracie J., points out you can “Find a matching color to temporarily mask the chip.” The same hack applies to an expensive gel manicure, ut J. warns, “It’s best to get that fixed, because you don’t want the gel to keep chipping or in some cases, even lift.”
Tame Your Cuticles
Taking care of your cuticles in between appointments is something Gracie and Dr. Stern both strongly recommend. “The cuticle is the nail’s natural protective seal and the key to overall nail health,” Dr. Stern explains, “Do not cut! Instead, gently push back after a warm shower or bath with a wash cloth or cuticle pusher.” Gracie J adds that using a cuticle oil daily to safely push back skin can decrease time spent in the manicure chair because you’ve already sped up prep time.
A Broken Nail
Whether it’s acrylic or natural, a nail break hurts physically and spiritually. If your nails are fake, Gracie guides you away from ripping them all off since all products aren’t soak-able. This means you could end up spending more time and money with a pro because it was done improperly.
To avoid the stress of a fracture in the first place, Dr. Stern says a healthy diet is the key to maintain nail strength. “Nails are primarily composed of protein and therefore, for general nail health, it is important to consume a protein-rich diet,” she says. “There is some evidence in the medical literature that Biotin (a vitamin B co-enzyme available at health food stores) is beneficial for nail health.”
So, if you’ve thought about taking Biotin before, you just got confirmation that it works. To keep things simple, eat foods rich in protein like chicken, quinoa, and almonds.
Things to Avoid
Dr. Stern is no manicure newbie and is a fan of polished fingers herself. Yet, she is careful about what she puts on them and so should you. When it comes to polish, she avoids formulas that contain Formaldehyde, Phthalates, Toluene, Triphenyl Phosphate, Xylene, and parabens, which are found in most beauty and personal care products. These chemicals can cause nausea and seizures, but also contain carcinogens, toxins, and hormone disrupters.
Gracie J. also says to remember “your nails are jewels, not tools. Treat them with the utmost consideration.” This means putting on gloves when you wash the dishes (which also saves you from the gross soggy food in the sink).
No matter what you prefer, polish or bare, nails are a part of your body that need attention! They can get brittle and dehydrated. So it’s up to you to keep them looking just as good as the rest of you. With these pointers, you’ll be on your way to maintaining healthy, strong, and beautiful digits in no time.