Getting your nails done isn’t all about fancy nail art and pretty embellishments. If you miss people saying ‘Wow, I love your nails!’, then you’ll most likely need to invest some time into a nail care routine.
Whether you want to improve the condition of your natural nails or need the lowdown on how to make your nail extensions look fresher for longer, we’ve got you covered with our step-by-step nail care routine. Read on for all of our tips and tricks on how to achieve fresh and fabulous nails.
Natural Nail Care Routine
Embracing your natural nails is definitely in right now. It doesn’t matter if you have short nails or plan on growing them out, there are various ways you can improve their overall health and look.
Healthy nails should be a light pinkish colour with visible cuticles and a prominent lunula at the nail base (this is the semi-circular white section). If your nails are splitting, swollen or have horizontal grooves, these are all signs of unhealthy nails. Adverse effects like these can be as a result of many factors, from biting the cuticles to more serious concerns such as a vitamin deficiency.
Follow our perfect natural nail care routine and say bye-bye to crusty cuticles and damaged nail beds:
Eat protein-rich food
Altering your diet to more protein-rich foods will not only improve your overall health but will leave your nails looking lovely too. Nails are made of protein, so increasing your intake of foods such as lean meat and fish will help them to grow long and strong.
Don’t eat meat? No problem! Eating plenty of fruit and veg, especially superfoods such as blueberries and kale, will boost your vitamin levels and release antioxidants that will all contribute towards healthier nails.
TOP TIP: If you like a pint of beer now and then, that’s not such a bad thing for your nails – result! Wheat-based beer is rich in silicon, which is just what you need for stronger bones and nails.
Achieving healthy nails isn’t all about what you put in your body. Looking after the exterior of your nails will improve their overall appearance and can also help them grow too.
File and clip the nails regularly to smoothen out any nicks and make all lengths even. This will prevent your nails from getting caught on any surfaces which could result in breakages.
When filing, avoid a sawing motion and instead file in one direction only, from side to centre. This technique will produce a clean cut rather than frayed edges.
Don’t clip the nails too short as this can cause tenderness and possibly even infection. Soak the nails in warm water to soften their texture, then trim each one following the natural shape of the nail.
Avoid Clipping Cuticles
Trimming the cuticles is done solely for cosmetic reasons and should generally be avoided. Removing the cuticles leaves your nails exposed to bacteria and infection.
When cutting the cuticles at home, you also run the risk of cutting them improperly with unsanitized tools, which will increase the risk of infection further. Leave them alone!
Practice Nail Strengthening
Nail strengthening treatments can help to improve the quality and length of your natural nails. You can purchase these ready-made or try your hand at making your own. A simple age-old remedy of 3 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tbsp of lemon juice heated in a microwave, is enough to brighten and strengthen weak nails.
Hydrate your nails and fingertips with a moisturiser that’s infused with plenty of natural oils to prevent them from looking dry and flaky. There’s plenty on the market so do your research to find one that’s best suited to your nails and skin type.
Choose a Good Nail Polish
Avoid nail polishes that contain harsh chemicals as much as you can. Harmful chemicals, such as Formaldehyde, can be found in many nail polishes and can damage and dry out your gorgeous nails. Read the ingredients and avoid toxic chemicals such as DBP and Toluene.
Remember, always use a base coat before applying any nail polish, especially bright colours, to avoid staining your natural nails. Check out Posh Look’s Gel Polish Ranges and have them delivered straight to your door.
Give your nails a break! Put down the polish and enjoy going au naturale for a while – your nails will thank you for it. This will allow you to groom, buff and moisturise your nails frequently so they’ll be in the best condition of their life.
Avoid heavy lifting and unnecessary actions if you want to prevent chipping or breaking your nails. Simple things like wearing gloves when washing up or using the end of a spoon to open cans will all reduce the risk of nail damage.
So, you’ve had your nails done and they’re looking gorgeous. But how do you keep them in tip-top condition for as long as possible? We’ve compiled a list of our top prep tips and aftercare routines to make your extensions look amazing for weeks on end.
Choose a Suitable Length
When choosing your acrylic or gel length it can be tempting to go super long and glam. Consider the practicality of your nail length before making your decision. If you have a manual job, it’s going to be a challenge to keep long nails in good condition and you may end up with some painful breakages.
Fake Tan before your Appointment
If you’re partial to a bronzey glow, make sure you fake tan before your nail appointment. You don’t want to spend all that time in the nail salon then mess up your gorgeous manicure with fake tan stains. Plus, your hands will be ready and prepped for those beautiful Insta snaps of your new set.
If you need to fake tan after you’ve had your nails done, make sure you wear gloves!
TOP TIP: Use an SPF to protect your hands from the UV rays that are emitted during the lamp setting process. This can reduce premature ageing and the harmful effects of radiation.
Avoid Oil-Based Products
Moisturisers, fake tans and body creams containing Lanolin or Mineral Oil are known for breaking down the bonds of your nail extensions. As a result, you’ll experience weak and lifted nails and they won’t last anywhere near as long.
HOWEVER, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t moisturise. Invest in a good cuticle oil that’s rich in fatty acids and apply daily to avoid drying out and brittleness.
Avoid Picking and Lifting
Speaking of lifting, avoid picking at your nails as this will cause water and bacteria to settle under the nail. It can also be very impractical to wear lifted nails as they can become trapped in hair and clothes easily.
How often you get infills to keep your nails looking fresh, depends on the rate of your natural nail growth. A good set of acrylic or gel nails should last around 3-4 weeks, at which time you can go back to the salon and get a fresh new look.
If your nails start looking a little dull before then, restore their glossiness with a high-shine topcoat.
We’ve all been there… your nails have grown out halfway up your nails, one’s broken and another one has chipped. That doesn’t mean you should start pulling and tugging them off! Reduce the damage that nail extensions create on your natural nails by getting them removed professionally.
A qualified nail tech will remove the extensions with acetone for a small price so that your natural nails don’t have to suffer!