You may have gotten away with neglecting your cuticles all summer, but dry, cracked nail beds whose colour matches that of your crimson polish is a good indicator that it’s time to step up your nail care as the temperature drops. So we asked pro manicurist Cathy Mancini, president and CEO of LUX Spa in Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood, for ways to mend and prevent damaged nails this winter.

Why cold-weather manicures are essential.
“A drop in temperature, a lack of moisture in the air and even fluctuations in temperature—from hot to cold—can wreak havoc on your cuticles causing them to dry out,” says Mancini. “For those that have dry cuticles to begin with, they can expect to see more hang nails in addition to painful cracks and splits in the cuticle that can bleed.”

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Your new beauty ritual. Twice a day, massage cuticle oil into the skin around the nails. “The oil helps to soften cuticles and keep them moist at all times,” she explains. Try CND SolarOil nail and cuticle conditioner.

Consider forgoing nail polish from time to time.
“Limited polish use is the best remedy,” says Mancini. “Although nails do not breathe, product such as polish is drying to the nail plate.” And your twice-daily application of cuticle oil helps to encourage healthy nail growth, which will help your manicure look better anyway when you do opt for polish.

Your DIY at-home nail care.
Apply oil to the cuticles before pushing them back, but avoid trimming them yourself. “Your cuticles are the doorway in to your body and you don’t want that door open because once it’s open, you run the risk of infection,” explains Mancini. “After pushing back your cuticles, wash your hands with warm soapy water to removed the oil residue. This will help to keep the polish on your nails.”

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Protect your nails all winter. To keep skin smooth and prevent dry, cracked cuticles, try a paraffin treatment (LUX offers a Hydra-LUX treatment that uses all-natural and locally made paraffin). “Wear your gloves!” she adds. “And moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!”

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