The manicure in its perfect state should be considered an endangered species. As the prey of spiky car keys or a cellphone lurking at the very bottom of your purse, your freshly polished nails live in peril of nail chips and smudges that will have you hiding your hands in shame.
It’s the little details like your hands that tell a lot about your character and how well you take care of yourself, says Tanya Glover, a nail technician at Woodhouse Day Spa, 6388 W. Jefferson Blvd.
She says setting a routine is the most important aspect of maintaining a healthy and strong nail bed. The average manicure has the life span of a week unless the client is proactive between appointments, according to Glover.
You can buy yourself two weeks between manicures if you properly take care of your manicure, she says.
Here are some of the tips Glover says will extend the life of your lacquer:
Moisture. Glover says that the No. 1 threat to manicures is a lack of moisture. She says applying cuticle oil daily to the nail is like giving your body water. The moisture will help your nails from peeling underneath the polish, the harbinger of nail chips
A lot of people think that by putting lotion on, you’re doing good, she says. However most products contain alcohol to hold the fragrance, which is drying to the skin, and lotion sits on top of the nail plate, it doesn’t get deep down into the pores.
Protein. Just like bread and water, protein and moisture literally go hand in hand.
The protein on your nail plate is what’s going to keep your polish on your nails while strengthening your nail between manicures, Glover says. It’s like a refill after a day of grabbing things, washing your hands, and using your fingers as tools like, scraping.
Changing your diet or applying a protein polish as a base coat and top coat will put the protein directly into your nail bed, she says.
Filing. The same theory about your hair goes for nails, too – if you keep them trimmed, your nails will grow back stronger, and daily filing maintains the manicured shape of your nail.
It rejuvenates your nail and stimulates growth if you constantly give them that fresh edge with an emery board, Glover says.
Buffering the nail before applying polish is also necessary for a smooth application. Avoid cutting excess skin around cuticles, which could cause bleeding and infections if not done properly by a professional.
Drying. Flailing your hands in the air for two whole minutes won’t do it. Glover says that most people set up their manicures for instant failure the moment they leave the chair.
Humidity is the worst. Wet lacquer does not set up in humidity. It needs cool temperatures, Glover says.
She suggests using drying drops such as SpaRitual’s Andale Dry and Shine, which help strengthen the polish while reducing the drying time. Or you can take a full 20 minutes to relax.
Gel manicures. Gel manicures, such as shellac, have become the hero for clients who don’t have the time to drop in weekly for a nail check-up.
The shellac is the trend right now, Glover says. It’s super shiny, it lasts up to 14 days, there’s no drying time and no mess ups. For people who are constantly on the go, this is the way to go.
One drawback of gel manicures is it can be drying to your nail bed, but as long as the client applies cuticle oil daily, the nail bed will be replenished, she says.