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Nail care: How to get healthy nails
Making a beauty statement used to be as simple as pulling off the season’s
hot lip colour or eye makeup. But with your manicure now as an important element to one’s look, there’s a whole new feature you need to get into great shape: your nails. To help you whip them into their best condition ever, we checked in with Leeanne Colley, owner of Tips Nail Bar in Toronto.
Nail care problem: Peeling nails
Solution for healthy nails: There’s nothing appealing about peeling. And unfortunately, ladies, if you’re prone to peeling, there’s not much you can do about it. The best thing you can do, says Colley, is keep your nails short. “The longer your nail, the more there is on the free edge to peel,” she says. Also, try using vitamin-enriched
nail products to help build strength—they won’t prevent your peeling-prone nails but they might provide a temporary reprieve.
Nail care problem: Thin, weak nails because you’ve (gasp!) peeled off your soak-off gel manicure
Solution for healthy nails: “This is the worst thing you can do!” says Colley, who also a nail expert for Revlon Canada. “You’re taking off layers of your natural nail, too, when you peel off a soak-off gel manicure.” And you can expect it to take half a year (you read that right!) until your nails are feeling strong and healthy again. “It takes six months for your nail to completely grow out,” she explains. In the meantime, she recommends using plenty of cuticle oil and a nail-strengthening product. The good news? If you’re going to a reputable nail salon, continuing to get manicures won’t cause further damage, so you don’t need to quit your manicure habit. In fact, having your nails done may, in fact, help create a stronger coating on your weakened nails and make them feel less sensitive, says Colley.
If peeling nails aren’t your only problem, keep reading for more nail care tips on how to get healthy nails stat, on the next page…
Nail care problem: Disastrous cuticles
Solution for healthy nails: If your cuticles have thickened to ugly proportions, your problem lies in clipping off too much of your cuticle. “When you clip off too much, they’ll grow thicker. The same goes for when you use a blade to shave off calluses,” says Colley. The thing with cuticles, she explains, is that they’re there to act as a barrier for bacteria to enter. Think of the extra thick growth that returns as your body’s protective reaction to keeping enemies from entering. Your best bet? “Only ever clip off what doesn’t look pretty,” says Colley. So any bits sticking out, or white parts looking just terrible. And then on a weekly basis, she recommends gently pushing back your cuticles once a week after you’ve showered, and be sure to apply cuticle oil every night before bed.
Nail care problem: Yellowed nails
Solution for healthy nails: Sure, you managed to do your nails in a jiffy just as you were out the door, but when you do this and skip applying base coat, your reward could be yellowed nails. Always use a base coat if you want to avoid your nails developing this sallow tone (and as for how to get rid of this sickly hue, a light buff will help alleviate it). Also, change up your nail colour more often. “Some women leave their pedicure on for two months—and you can see the natural nail at the bottom is fresh looking, but the rest that’s been covered with
high-pigment polish is yellowed,” says Colley. So even if you think your manicure or pedicure is looking decent for a long time, it’s worth changing it up more often in order to avoid the dreaded yellowing.
Nail care problem: Hangnails
Solution for healthy nails: Hangnails are caused by dryness, so make cuticle oil your nails’ new best friend to help avoid developing them going forward. As for handling your current hangnails, use cuticle scissors to clip them off cleanly. “Do not bite them off! Chewing them off will make them worse as you’ll pull the skin higher,” says Colley.