Long or short, square or round, however you take your nails the fact is the only way for them to be truly gorgeous is for them to be strong and healthy.
Whilst it’s going to sound braggy, there isn’t a neat way to say it – my nails are the subject of much attention. All I have to do is tuck my hair behind my ear and strangers clasp my hand and demand to know my secret. Nail bars ask to take photos for their window. You get the idea. It’d be nice to think that I’m genetically blessed in the claw department, but unfortunately this hasn’t always been the case. In fact, nail technicians used to giggle and ask if I was sure I wanted to bother with a manicure.
So how did I get from there to here? Well. Here’s how.
- Take supplements. Or fix your diet. Either way, if your nails are unhealthy and brittle – that is, they break, peel or otherwise refuse to grow, there’s no way around it. Your nails are the most visible evidence of the saying ‘you are what you eat’. Personally, I’m a fan of Swisse Ultiboost Hair Skin Nails, but there are many out there and you’ll need to try a few (and even fiddle with the dosage a bit) to find one that works for you.
- Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance. I’m not for a second saying you should do anything as ridiculous as give up professional manicures altogether, but knowing how to care for your nails and cuticles between visits is imperative to achieving year-round delightful digits. Learn how by watching a lot of Youtube videos and reading blogs from the big-deal beauty bloggers or just make a few strategic trips to the best nail salons in your area and watch them like a hawk.
- Find a good handy-man. (See what I did there?) You need two kinds of nail pro on your speed dial. The cheap and cheerful, no-frills option where you can always get an appointment and they do a fast, quality job without any fuss. The second for occasions requiring serious pampering – you know, where they bust out the champagne and a mani takes 90 mins. Either way, neither should use an electric drill, cut your nails or cause you to bleed. Ever.
- Stop using your nails as an implement. You know what I mean – as a tiny crowbar to pick things open, peel things off and generally like some sort of tool.
- Get your kit in order. With a bit of trial you’ll find the essentials that work for you. In the meantime, here are mine:
- Mecca To Save Hands hand cream ($38.00 AUD) – it’s not just hydrating and quickly-absorbed, it contains an all-important SPF!
- Sephora Cut To The Point cuticle nippers ($24.00 USD) – as long as they’re high quality the brand doesn’t matter too much. One thing’s for sure however – this sure isn’t the time to scrimp.
- Emery boards – and lots of them.
- Orange sticks – I like to have a bunch of wood ones and a metal one on hand.
Frightfully easy, as it turns out!
As for some of those “known” things you may have heard of…
- Biotin – frankly did nothing for me. The same for silica supplements. Sad face!
- Gel nails / shellac nails / nail polish – these can make your nails weak and brittle, but it’s not the polish that’s the problem, it’s the application and removal. Abrasive application and rough removal will damage your nails quicker than quick.
- Filing left-to-right versus filing in one direction – I’ve honestly never seen any difference!