I have had so many of you ask about nail care. How to prevent splitting, peeling and hang nails. So I thought I would call in an expert. We all know and love Michelle and her beautiful nail creations on OrdinaryMisfit.com. She graciously agreed to guest post for us. Let’s get stuck in – F
I am pleased as punch to be posting here today. Not only is this one of my favourite blogs and it’s such an honour to be here but also because it’s something I am quite passionate about.
I am here to tell you about hand and nail care and health. For most of my life I had really weak nails and they were always short. I couldn’t grow them because they would break or split before I could even do anything with them. When I started playing around with nail polish and art it was important for me to not only do pretty things with polish but also have healthy nails and cuticles. So my research began…..and I want to share what I learnt.
The first thing that is important to know is that some people are just lucky to have naturally strong nails and healthy skin and cuticles. Some people aren’t. That simply means that some people have to ‘work’ harder at it than others. I say ‘work’ because it might seem like a lot of effort but it becomes part of a routine and before you know you aren’t even thinking about it.
The most important thing is moisture. The skin on your hands are exposed to the elements and need all the moisture they can get. Hand lotions and creams will leave your hands and cuticles soft. This is also one of the only ways to prevent those hard bits of skin forming on the sides of your nails. It will keep your cuticles in top condition as well. It’s a good idea to use hand lotion every time after you’ve washed your hands (at least). I am a little OCD and wash my hands a lot so I know how it can seem like a chore but if you find the right lotion you won’t even notice the time and you can get right back to what you were doing before.
Your nails however, need a little more TLC than just moisture. Even though moisture goes a long way to nail health, it isn’t all your nails need to grow stronger and healthier. Here is something interesting about your nail structure….
The nail matrix is the “mother of the nail” and lies directly below the eponychium(cuticle) stretching to the first joint. This small area of living tissue is the most important part of the entire nail unit. The matrix produces a super tough protein called keratin. These keratin cells are the building blocks of the nail plate. The matrix is an opaque, bluish white, almost rectangular area of highly specialized cells. The matrix is richly supplied with blood vessels, lymph and nerve endings, which carry nutrition to the new cells. The matrix (the living nail) will continue to produce new cells as long as it receives the necessary vitamins, oil and moisture to remain in a healthy condition. If the matrix becomes damaged the effects are usually seen on the nail plate. If damage to the matrix is severe, it could lead to permanent deformity.
That part of your skin above the first knuckle to the tip is where all the magic happens. For good nail health it is important to use a cuticle oil. Cuticle oil is made to not only soften and moisturise the skin but also to penetrate the nail. That means that all the good stuff gets soaked in at the matrix and your nail will grow healthier, stronger and more than likely faster.
If you use a base coat that promises strength etc, it will only do anything while it is on the nail. That part of your nail has already been formed and can’t be ‘fixed’. You can only grow out stronger, healthier nails. So if you do have weak or brittle nails it is always a good idea to use a base coat that can help while you wear it WHILE your stronger nails are growing out. I couldn’t believe the difference in my nails in just a few weeks of using good moisturisers and cuticle oil.
There are a few things that you will never catch me doing to my nails:
• I will never ‘buff’ my nails. This removes layers of your nails that basically makes them thinner, weaker and causes ‘damage’. I would much rather wear a ridge filling base coat if that was my problem or I would use a very shiny clear coat if I wanted the shine.
• I will never cut my nails. I don’t use nail clippers to cut my nails. It is much healthier to file your nails. The best grit to use for natural nails is 180.
• I will never cut my cuticles. No. Just no. It is too risky and can be very painful. It is also the quickest way to get infected cuticles and will have no benefit. The skin is there for a reason!
• I will never not use a base coat. Not only because of the normal staining etc but also because it will protect your nails.
Lastly, it is a good idea to have a daily and a weekly routine. My daily routine is very quick and simple and really just involves hand lotion throughout the day, some scrubbing at least once a day and some ‘treatment’ at night when I go to bed. My ‘treatment’ is usually a cuticle balm or rich moisture high hand lotion or butter. My weekly routine is a little more involved but can still be quick and will make a huge difference. I soak my hands in warm soapy water for a few minutes to soften the skin. I then put some cuticle remover on and leave that on for as long as is required (this depends on the brand you use, some are just a few seconds and some are a minute or two). I then push my cuticles back gently and rinse off the cuticle remover. When my hands are dry I file my nails if necessary and slather my hands in a rich hand butter or lotion. That’s it. I sometimes do this while I am soaking in the bath.
I hope you have found this interesting and helpful. I know it sounds like a terrible bore or chore but you will be surprised how these things become habit and you barely even notice that you are doing them. The difference in your hands and nails will make it worth it. As I mentioned, some people are lucky and need to work less on getting great hands and nails and others need to work harder at it. I am very lucky that my cuticles are generally in good condition but I need to stick to my routine to make sure my nails don’t go back to how they were before. It is so worth it for me.
Thank you so much for having me Faeema.
Thanks for reading!