Turns out, the Nail Salon really can do a little more than offer pre-rolled joints.
As we get older, how we relax and care for our nails changes. (Of course, we don’t want to grow our nails the same size again — we just want them to do a better job. You don’t have to choose between practice and perfection.)
While playing with scissors may sound like the sanest option for young fingers, baby fingernails can actually be sensitive. And if you’re a parent, you know how hard it can be to make certain things comfortable.
A trainer’s primer on when to use certain tools can help you to bond with your kid and increase the likelihood that these longer nails will grow well:
Blunt tools for baby fingers
This rule of thumb should apply to both tiny fingers and your adult hands. The nose, the side of the hand closest to the baby’s hand, or whichever finger offers the least pressure tend to be the best choices for multitasking: A small, curved nail sharpener is just right. Or, even better, a plastic “nail router” knife, which keeps the stress lower.
Whether your baby is a boy or a girl, you’ll be better off sticking with clear nail-polish samples (which are brief — and painless!) than you are with a shard of cake decorating glass.
Get more tips on safe nail-polish practices with 6 Reasons Baby Boys Are Superior Nail Clippers, the clip-out eye, baby bottles and roller bags, and the coolest reusable gel pack.
Molecular aesthetician Aisha Katawala considers these things an irreplaceable pair of hands. “The only rule of thumb is don’t miss anything,” she says.
If you’re working with a pressure-sensitive nail tool, consider keeping a pair of adult-sized applicators for your child to help keep them at a safe distance.
Folders for baby hands
“Instead of wrapping your tiny fingers in cellophane or tissue paper, use a baby’s book bag,” Katawala says. “It’s extra zippable and can help shield fingers that may be partially in contact with a folder (or cutting board or nail file) throughout the process.”
Avoid binding and pulling
To ensure your baby’s nail keeps its shape, cuticle specialists say that the “curl” should actually be “blocked” — not forcibly pushed back. “Not only does it help your baby’s nails grow stronger, but it’s also easier on mom’s nerves,” says New York-based aesthetician Lindsay Sullenberger.
“Too much of either side pushing and pulling pulls the nail right up, and the cuticle ends up drooping,” Katawala says. “Making sure the cuticle stays straight throughout is really important.”
Get more tips on how to avoid over-bonding with your baby’s baby nails with Skin Tight for Baby Shaving, Wet Nails, and Styling.
1-4 Tools for baby hands
True story: We got sappy at work just thinking about these! Graphic designer Hayley Cutaia is a pro, and a growing one at that, working as a creative intern in museums and galleries. “I’m blessed to have good ‘hands,’” she tells us. “Though my 7-month-old hasn’t noticed yet, I’m often spotted with messy, over-embraced baby fingers.”
Want to give your 10-month-old nail extensions? You have to be a professional — you can’t work within the Nail Salon, but so many other outlets don’t mind. “Nowadays, I rarely leave my home without a tiny flat mask on my hand so it doesn’t turn out to be a large mess,” Cutaia says.
Alternatively, you can leave all the Baby Massage supplies at home, expertly apply our tips for baby nails.
How to clean baby nails