Updated: Dec 16, 2020
One of the main reasons to get a manicure is to have neat and orderly hands for a time span that goes from a week to almost a month, depending on your polish of preference. Unless you really like changing up your nail color (and you have the time to do so), having your polish chipped or ruined in any way can be a nuisance that, in some cases, could even require immediate attention in the case of a cracked artificial nail. If you only have time to take care of your nails ever so often, then you’ll probably want to avoid certain bad habits that you probably didn’t even know you had to make sure your manicure lasts as long as possible while also keeping your nails healthy. And let's not forget, ensuring those beautiful hand-painted designs and crystals stay in place!
1. Hand cream
Use proper hand cream. Does winter have you using tons of lotion on your hands? If so, make sure you are using the right kind of lotion: body creams and lotions contain ingredients that are specially formulated for your body’s skincare. Unless specified, you shouldn’t use them on your hands for the same reason you wouldn’t use them on your face, as different skin types require different formulas. Moreover, body creams (and some face ones, too) can cause lifting on your nails and leave unwanted halos on your polish. Next time you apply body cream make sure you are cleaning your hands thoroughly afterward, especially if you like keeping your nails long!
2. Cuticle oil
Use cuticle oil. You might think that using an appropriate hand cream is enough, but that’s rarely true. Not only will a regular application of cuticle oil help keep them soft and make it easier to push them back, but cuticles also represent the only protection of your nail bed from the outside world. Take good care of them to prevent any kind of damage to the nail bed, making it a part of your daily routine!
3. Vitamins & healthy diet
Eat a well-balanced diet. I’m not trying to have you turn your lifestyle upside down for the sole purpose of having stronger nails, but if you have weak or brittle nails and you have tried everything you might want to make sure your food contains all the B vitamins, magnesium, and zinc that your body needs: it could provide plenty of help. If you want to take it a step further, consider taking a vitamin specifically formulated for healthy nails.
4. Glass file
Use a glass file. Paper nail files could potentially tear and damage the keratin layers of your nails. If you have the chance, try glass files, which instead preserve the keratin layers, leaving nails smooth and healthy, and prevents jagged edges: your manicure will chip a lot less, trust us!
5. Wear gloves when cleaning
Don’t clean without gloves. There was a reason your grandmother always cleaned with gloves on and so should you! If body lotion can ruin your manicure, just think of the impact cleaning products can have. Any kind of cleaning product has aggressive chemicals that can ruin your nails in no time, so always wear rubber gloves – especially when washing dishes, since having wet nails exacerbates the negative potential effect of dish soap.
6. Don't soak nails (for too long)
Don’t soak your nails in water for too long. It softens them and makes them more fragile. Moreover, don’t forget that water can carry bacteria, which could again affect the health of your nails, especially if trapped under the polish or acrylic.
7. Your nails are not multipurpose tools
Don’t use your nails as a multipurpose tool. I understand it’s very tempting, but you should avoid using your nails to open cans, clean up stuck-on food, and rip cling wrap. Doing this can be problematic for several reasons: it will make your nails more fragile and often crack your nail polish too, which is definitely not worth it.
8. DON'T PICK
Don’t pick your nail polish - EVER! Resisting the temptation to take your polish apart can be hard, especially if you’re an anxious person. Still, you should know better. Picking at your nail color, chipping acrylic, or peeling off your gel polish, can do great damage to the outer layer of your nail plate. Picking nail polish is not an approved removal technique, EVER!
9. File in one direction
Don’t file both ways. As we have mentioned when giving you tips for your at-home manicure, you should avoid the back-and-forth motion when filing your nails, as it will fray the tip of your nails and weaken them. The best way to file your nails, therefore, is to proceed in one direction with a glass file.