Even the most beautifully manicured fingernails need the occasional polish holiday. Here are four great nail care products that will give them a break.
STEALING BEAUTY | As pretty as polished nails are, they need to be left bare occasionally to give them some air. About once a month, Allison Emery performs a “nail ritual” that consists of four basic steps: trim/file, cleanse, buff and hydrate. “Regular nail maintenance keeps your nails healthy and strong,” according to this beauty expert. “With a little TLC, nails that are dry, brittle or even splitting will be shining in no time.” Here’s how she gets the job done.
Trim/File—Use a nail clipper that is sharp and comfortable to handle. If you have been maintaining your nails regularly, then you may only need to trim a small amount. If your nails are extremely damaged and splitting (hello, nail-biters), you will need to cut them fashionably short (just slightly longer than the edge of the skin of your fingertip leaving a small band of white) so they can start a new growth cycle. Don’t cut nails too short or the corners too deep—cut straight across so they can grow out properly—then file into your ideal shape, following the natural contour and smoothing out the edge. Crystal nail files are best because they never get dull and they create a superfine finish to the nail edge.
Cleanse—The best way to thoroughly cleanse your nails is to use an inexpensive nailbrush. The bristles are stiff so they can effectively clean your nails from all angles, even underneath. Using the nailbrush and a small amount of hand soap, massage and lather the soap all around your nail beds, ensuring a deep but not too aggressive clean. Gently scrub your nails for about one minute to ensure a thorough cleansing. Rinse thoroughly, pat dry and park yourself somewhere comfortable to sit and finish your nail ritual.
Buff—Most of you are familiar with filing your nails, but buffing is equally important. I have used a few different four-sided nail buffers, and the easiest—and most economical—is Revlon’s Crazy Shine Nail Buffer. This amazing tool has only two sides, rough and smooth. Use the rough side to completely smooth the entire nail; it is quite gentle so it’s not possible to overdo it. After you are satisfied with your smoothing, flip the buffer over and polish your nail to a glistening shine. The results you can get with just this one procedure are pretty amazing. Once you have finished buffing and polishing, wash and dry your hands once again to remove any nail dust.
Hydrate—Believe it or not, the best way to moisturize your nails and cuticles is not with hand cream but with essential oil such as sweet almond oil, apricot oil or pure vitamin E. The best way to apply this oil treatment is via a nail massage cream because it offers more nail benefits. Massaging the salve into your nails and cuticles actually helps to stimulate growth and increase blood circulation in your fingertips. It may seem kind of silly, but it actually feels really good too. Tip: You may wish to do your nail massage before bed and leave the treatment on overnight for optimal moisture and growth results. For the most luxurious nail massage try Dior Crème Abricot fortifying cream for nails (pictured above), or for luxury on a budget try Sally Hansen Cuticle Massage Cream.