Nails have to look good every day and often, they just don’t. We’ve all been there, despite our best intentions. But if there’s one thing we know from years of nail care, it’s that finding the perfect nail polish requires one thing above all others: careful application.
With this in mind, we spoke to certified manicurist, Julianna W, AKA Pretty Ugly, for her advice on manicures and self-care. Below, she shares advice on how to keep your nails healthy and why it’s so important to give your toenails care.
So, how can I keep my nails healthy?
W: Our nails are like an operating system — they need to be healthy to run efficiently. I see a lot of clients that don’t invest the time, effort, and care into their nails to keep them healthy. The nail is a hidden asset that no one notices, yet you should be considering its maintenance as well as upkeep every day. They are not toilet seats — you have to keep them clean, dry, and healthy all day, every day.
Food is a huge culprit for dry and brittle nails. Food is also the cause of inflammation and discoloration. If you feed your nails, you will support healthy nails, just like you would for your ears and mouth. Keep a stash of the right foods in your kitchen and the right amount of salt on hand. Pro-biotic or paraben-free beauty products or oils are great for nourishing and moisturizing your fingers and nails, like, cucumber and honey.
How do I clean my nails without any harsh chemicals?
W: You have to follow the manufacturer’s instructions! After you clean the nail with soap and water, let the polish dry for 10 minutes. After the polish dries, check for dead bacteria by rubbing it on the tips. Don’t worry if you don’t spot it — there’s nothing wrong with the polish. Just push down gently to make sure it wasn’t biofilm bacteria. The most recommended step to keep your nails healthy is using an enzyme-friendly nail polish remover like Q-tips, which you could even purchase at the drugstore.
What I found that worked for me is following the manicurist’s instructions. Also, give the above instructions every day for a year. Over time, you’ll notice changes in your nails.
What should I do if I spot a nail that’s brittle?
W: As stated above, feeding your nails is an important part of their long-term health. If you notice your nails aren’t properly nourished, don’t panic. Give them a rest and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for dry-cleaning your nails.
How can I keep my nails healthy when my toenails are on the dry side?
W: Keep your nails hydrated and moisturized. In the US, it is quite common for women to have toenails that are too dry. Obviously, not all women can remedy this problem. However, it’s important to know that the nail bed should always be moisturized and for feet to be regularly washed — sans chemical products like talcum powder. You should also always moisturize the bottom layer of your fingers.