- Do not subject your hands and nails to extremely hot water, harsh chemicals, and strong household cleaners. Do wear gloves.
- Do apply hand lotion regularly to keep the hands moisturized and aid nails that crack or chip. If nails are soft and tend to tear, avoid putting lotion on the nails themselves.
- Do use a cuticle cream daily or massage a dab of olive oil into the cuticles.
- Do not file or buff the nails excessively. This can think and weaker nails.
- Do be alert to allergic reactions from formaldehyde in nail polish or acrylics in sculptured nails, tips, and nail glues. The reaction may show up as a rash or itchiness on places touched by the nails, like the eyelids, cheeks, or neck – rather than on the less sensitive skin of the hands.
A home manicure, once you learn the basics, can be an easy weekly routine to improve the appearance of your nails and hands.
- File each nail with an emery board from the sides in tow the center. File in one direction only, do not "see" back and forth.
- Soak fingertips in warm soapy water to soften cuticles.
- Apply cuticle remover and gently push back the cuticle with the blunt end of an orangewood stick.
- Trim any hangnails with a small nail scissors. Do not otherwise cut the cuticle, as it is the protective barrier for the growth center of the nail.
- Scrub nails in soapy water and clean under the nails with an orangewood stick wrapped in cotton.
- Dry hands and apply hand lotion.
Polishing the nails creates a finished look, but your nails will be unhealthy if you let them go at least one day a week without polish. Here are some tips for a professional looking polish job:
- Wipe nails with polish remover after the manicure to remove any residue of soap or lotion.
- Do not polish the underside of the nail. When it's time to remove the polish, chemicals in the polish remover can live the nail away from the nail bed, providing a chance for infection to develop.
- Apply a base coat and two to three thin coats of polish, rather than one thick one, for better coverage. An additional clear top coat protects against chipping.
- Tidy up polish that's strayed onto the fingers with the following tool: a moistened toothpick wrapped in a bit of cotton puff and fitted in nail polish remover.
- If you have to dry polish quickly, try dipping fingers carefully in a bowl of ice water.
- Polish nails away from direct sunlight, which may cause bubbles in the finish.