8 Quick tips for Flawless Nails

Now most of my followers are nail people but I just wanted to put something out there for those non nail people struggling to achieve a great looking mani. So here we go:

1 – Always follow hand washing and using hand sanitisers with an application of lotion. See my recommendation here for a cheap but effective lotion.

2 – Try to apply cuticle oil at least twice a day. For an idea of which oils do which job, have a read of one of my previous posts here.

3 – Cleanse the nail plate before applying base coat to remove any grease that could make application uneven.

4 – Invest in a good basecoat to prevent discolouration of your nails and fill any ridges you may have. A lot of basecoats now have the added benefit of additional nutrients to help nail growth.

5 – Apply polish in thin layers and allow a bit of time to partially dry between layers.

6 – Use a brush and nail polish remover to clean up any spills and smudges on your cuticles. Something like this would be ideal.

7 – Use a fast dry top coat to avoid smudging. I love ‘Seche Vite’.

8 – Go to bed before a special occasion with your hands slathered in intensive moisturiser wrapped in cotton gloves.

My Regular Nail Oil Regime

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As I’ve said before, I am always being asked how I keep my cuticles looking nice and my nails long and so I thought I would go into exactly what oils I use regularly and their benefits.

The main two are Jojoba and Argan Oil. They sit next to me on my desk and on the arm of the sofa at home for me to use as and when I get chance or think about it. I tend to apply these at least twice a day as long as I am not away (then my regime usually goes out of the window!). Here is a list of what I use and why they are of benefit:

Jojoba is unlike the majority of other vegetable oils in that it closely resembles sebum, the natural substance produced by our skin glands, therefore it is great for soothing and moisturising. It is also rich in Iodine so is great for fighting infections and fungi. It is also known to reduce wrinkles and signs of aging, which at nearly 46 I definitely need especially on my hands. One of  the main reasons I use this so regularly is that it doesn’t need to be kept in the fridge.

Argan Oil is high in vitamin E which gives the skin and nails a natural boost. It is known for it’s wound healing due to it being rich in linoleic acid, vitamin A and vitamin E plus moisturising benefits to help prevent hangnails. This is also stable without keeping it cool so you can keep it to hand to use whenever it pops into your head to treat your nails.

Safflower Oil softens up dry areas and prevents moisture from leaving the skin, which in turn promotes elasticity and improves the texture of the skin. With these and also natural anti-inflammatory benefits it’s a go to for me.

Cherry Kernel rich in Vitamin A, B1, B2, B6, C and E, antioxidants, proteins and minerals plus Oleic acid which promote improvements to dry skin and nails and hydrates dry cuticles.

Hazelnut oils fine texture makes it easily absorbable and therefore it can penetrate deep into the skin. It offers antioxidant protection and it hydrates leaving skin soft and plump stimulating regeneration of skin cells.

Raspberry, high in essential fatty acids, vitamin A and a high content of vitamin E. It is anti-inflammatory, an antioxidant and has hydrating benefits.

Red Raspberry Seed oil is loaded with vitamin E & vitamin A – both potent antioxidants, plus Ellagic acid which has been shown to reduce the destruction of collagen and Phytosterols which encourage healthy skin growth and hydrates areas that need a moisture boost

Avocado oil contains vitamins C, E, K, PP & B and chlorophyll which smooths the skin and has anti-inflammatory properties. It provides considerable moisturising properties and serves as an anti-irritation product on broken skin. It helps also increases collagen production to keep it looking supple and youthful.

Using oil can show dramatic changes over time and although you don’t need to use all of the above (because most of them have similar properties), I do so just to change it up every so often. I buy mine from Eco-cosmetics4u but you can find them in most health food shops and many places online.

My ‘Go To’ every day hand lotion

Today I am going to let you into a little secret of mine.

With the cold weather on it’s way it is so important to keep your hands moisturised throughout the day and while you sleep. Every time you wash your hands you are washing away important natural oils that form a protective shield on your skin, and as we have all probably experienced – if you neglect your hands they could become dry, cracked and painful. Your hands are one of the first parts to show signs of aging, the skin is very thin and continuously exposed to environmental damage so here is my economical secret to every day protection:

Sainsbury’s Little Ones Baby Lotion

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I am sensitive to smells and therefore need to be careful when purchasing product that they don’t contain artificial perfumes etc. Because this is aimed at babies it is hypoallergenic, colour & fragrance free and most importantly does not contains any controversial parabens (propylparaben, ethylparaben & methylparaben).

This lotions sinks in quickly but leaves no sticky or slippy residue. It contains Vitamin E which is known to fight off free radicals and Shea Butter which is incredibly nourishing and moisturising and is reported to aid in the skin’s natural collagen production.

As I say above, this is my go to hand lotion which I use after hand washing and throughout the day at my desk, but I must add that I use others overnight and when I leave the house which I talk about in this Nail Care Routine post.

So at a silly price of 80 pence for 500 ml, why not give it a go and let me know your thoughts.

*Please note, this is not a sponsored post, I am not being paid to promote this product, this is my own personal opinion and preference.

Ask Me Anything – The Answers

Nail answers

I recently did a “If you could ask me anything about Nails, what would you ask?” on my Facebook Page so thought I would share my answers with you. I hope that my replies are helpful.

 

Q: What’s the best way to strengthen my nails? I’ve stopped biting them, after having bitten them since I was a child. I moisturise my hands and nails daily, is there anything else I can do?

A: Good question Debbie as everyone is different. Firstly well done for stopping biting and regularly moisturising, as well as moisturiser, have you tried applying cuticle oil on and under your nails at least twice a day?. Also it has been proven that it is best for your nails to keep nail polish on all of the time as it prevents the nail bed soaking up water which softens the nail which in turn makes them susceptible to damage. If you can’t wear nail polish colours to work you can always use a matte clear polish.

If you’d like to try a professional product then I’d highly recommend IBX. It is a nail strengthener which isn’t available in High street stores, it actually penetrates the nail with the help of both essential oils and heat (similar to how butter melts into toast) and an LED lamp, it strengthens and repairs your nails within.

The only downside is that it requires ongoing treatment which in turn requires investment in your time especially at the beginning of treatment – once a week until you start to see improvements and then once a month for maintenance. The treatment has great results in most people but you do need to be aware that if you have always had weak nails they aren’t going to change overnight.

Also – when I can afford to, I like to take a Collagen supplement from Proto-col which make my nails really strong. They are quite pricey but really work.

 

Q: I do tend to get quite a lot of ridges across my nails. Is there anything I can do about this? Sorry I’m not great at this pampering malarkey.

A: Hi Claire, I too get ridges up my nails and I tend to buff them out about every 6 weeks, it’s best not to use a buffer any more frequently as it thins the nails. I also use ridge filler before applying nail polish http://www.sallyexpress.com/china-glaze-ridge-filler. Also see my reply to Debbie above about IBX which may help. If the ridges are across the nail, it could be due to damage, illness or arthritis. I have arthritis in my right hand and my nail is a very weird shape. I also get ridges across my nail when I have had a particularly bad run of M.E. or had an operation. I use gel polish (structure gel) to disguise this or self levelling nail polish. I hope that helps?

 

Q: What can i use to stop my nails splitting at the sides xx

A: Hi Jac, I suggest that you invest in a crystal nail file and very gently file your nails every week. Also oil your nails at least twice a day and more if you are constantly putting them in water, gardening or anything else which puts them at risk. If you go to a nail tech in your area you can ask her to apply acrylic powder when you are having your Gels done which will strengthen them. I hope that helps? any other questions, just ask. If you check the blog post I have replied above, it explains about a supplement I take which is expensive but makes your nails really strong,

 

Q: Hi Amanda, I think my nails are too short for nail art can you work with shorter nails as I don’t want to grow them! Thanks

A: Of course Anna, you don’t have to have nail art, just a simple manicure can look beautiful and the array of colours available makes possibilities endless. Have you thought about having loose glitter applied to a Gel manicure? or just simple nail art on your ring finger like spots? Your manicurist can also create the illusion of longer nails if you’d like them to with nail polish, she will just leave a slight gap down the side of each nail when applying so when you see the polish it appears that your nails are thinner & longer – if that makes sense? However, that said, nails are never too short for nail art if you’d like it, have you thought about stamping which is very effective?. If you type in ‘Nail art for short nails’ into google or pinterest you’ll see that anything is possible. I hope that helps? x

 

Q: Hi Amanda, what’s the best product for getting and keeping my cuticles soft please.x

A: Hi Sonia, Thanks for posting your question. I tend to use a number of different products as I am obsessed with keeping my cuticles nice because I am photographing my hands so regularly. My current ‘go to’ products are Lush ‘Lemony Flutter’, it is quite expensive because you get loads of it so you might like to share it with a friend. I also buy natural Argan Oil and Jojoba Oil, plus regularly apply hand cream to my cuticles when I am sitting at my desk or watching T.V. For more details on other tricks I use take a look at my blog post from last year: My Nail Care Routine.

 

If you have any questions, please do post below.