Monday, December 28, 2009

Tip and Toe Care: Part 3 Natural Nail Care

Time for part 3 of my nail care series. This time it's natural nail care tips and a list of good-to-have products!

Natural Nail Care
Now that we fully understand the nail structure and how the nail grow it's time for some nail care. There are a few things you can do to improve the health of your nails, some of which I've mentioned earlier. I wont be explaining much in this post as I feel much have been thoroughly explained before and some things are for an upcoming manicure post, where it will make more sense. This post is more to prepare for the real manicure.
If you have any questions just post a comment or send me an e-mail and I'll answer it as fast as possible :)

Finger Nail Care
Keep your hands moisturised, the skin and nails are constantly bathed in natural oils and moisture but excessive hand washing, using cleaning detergents, weather and other every day factors will dehydrate the skin resulting in dry skin and split and peeling nails.

Wash your hands and nails regulary, using a brush, to remove any dirt or bacteria that might be under your nails or around your nailfolds. Remember to moisturise afterwards.

Wear protective gloves while gardening, doing dishes or cleaning to protect your hands and nails from strong detergents.

Regulary use cuticle oils or cremes. My own favourite is to heat up some olive oil and massage in to my cuticles, it will absorb fast into the skin and the warmth from the oil feels great.

By pushing the cuticles back you remove dead cells and make the nail plate look longer.

Use a nail file instead of clippers when trimming the nails as clippers might cause the nails to crack or weaken. To cut a bigger length off the finger nail use scissors and file the last bit. More about filing in the upcoming manicure post.

Do not use your nails as tools!

When removing polish try not to rub as that will disturb the nail plate. Moisten a cotton ball or pad with remover and gently press down on the nail plate. Hold until the polish is dissolved and swipe toward the free edge. For glitter polishes, nail art, as bullions or rhinestones, or other hard to remove nail polishes and items I soak a cotton pad, place it on the nail. Wrap the finger tip up in aluminium foil and leave it for a minute. This will prevent the remover to evaporate before the polish is fully dissolved. Then just swipe towards the free edge and the nails should be nailpolish free. And the best of all, no pesky glitter stuck on the surrounding skin!

Toe Nail Care
Toe nails aren't much different from finger nails. They need TLC too!

It's important to keep the toe nails clean as bacteria are more likely to grow on the feet than on the hands.

Scrub the feet once a week to prevent skin build up and to make them smooth and nice.

If you already have build up, use a wet pedi rasp in the shower after the scrub. More about this is an upcoming pedicure post

Apply foot cream or rich body cream right after showering. The skin will absorb the moisture better while it's still a little damp.

Toe nails are harder and can often handle the pressure from nail clippers, but it's more gentle to file and it will strengthen the nails further.

Don't forget the toenail cuticles. Push them back regulary and make sure you massage the foot cream around the nail walls and cuticles, not just on the soles of your feet.

Tools, Implements and Products
Things that are good to have at home and what they are used for

Finger Bowl
To soak your fingers and nails, softens the cuticles and cleans the nails. This can also be used for hot oil manicures. If you don't want to buy a professional contoured finger bowl (they're pretty cheap on e-tailers) you can use a regular glass bowl or dish that fits the size of your hand.

Liquid Hand Soap
To use with the finger bowl. It's a good idea to use a soap with anti-bacterial properties.

Nail Brush
A small brush designed to clean your nails. Use with warm soapy water and scrub the surface and underside of the nails to remove dirt, bacteria and pathogenic organisms that won't come off when only washing the hands.

Exfoliator or Scrub
Using a scrub will remove dead skin cells and make your skin look younger and fresher. I like to make my own with salt and olive oil or a rich creme.

Cuticle Creme or Oil
Used to moisturise your cuticles and surrounding skin. I personally prefer oil as I refuse to use silicones and mineral oils on my skin which are common ingredients in cuticle and hand cremes, but each to their own. It's best not to listen to much to others and just try different products until you find what works best for you.

Orange Stick
Orange sticks are used to push back the cuticles, but also for correcting imperfections when applying nail polish or cleaning under the free edge of the nails. They are normally made of orange wood, but there are also plastic ones to buy.

Cuticle Nipper
The nipper is used to remove excess cuticles or hang nails without pulling or harming the surrounding skin.

Nail Clippers and Scissors
Nail clippers has a cruved cutting edge and are designed to quickly cut the lenght of your nail. Nail scissors have a small curved blade and are mostly designed for use on finger nails. It doesn't apply as much pressure on the nail as clippers do.

Nail Files
Nail files come in many shapes and sizes, for natural nails it's best to use a glass/crystal file or a emery board with a high grit number. The higher the number the smaller the grit. If you use a file with a too coarse grit you might shred your nail plate, causing it to split. Many emery boards you can find at your regular drug store have a grit of 80 which is way too coarse for use on natural nails. It's recommended to use a file with a grit number higher than 240 for natural nails.

Same thing with buffers as files, they come in various grits. Don't use one with a lower number than 240 on your natural nails. The regular '3-way buffers' normally have a grit higher than 3600 and are safe to use on the nail plate to smooth it out and give it a glossy surface.

Pedi Rasp
Used to gently remove skin build up and soften hard areas on the soles of the feet.

Links to previous articles in the Tip and Toe Care series:
Part 1 The Nail Anatomy
Part 2 Nail Growth

My own knowledge
Marti Preuss -
Minnie Matsumoto -
Various other websites where no author or sources were mentioned,
therefore I do not know who to credit.
If you recognize any of the material posted here as yours don't hesitate to contact me.


Arie said...

Very informative!, nice post ;)

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