Monday, January 10, 2011

Au Naturale

Painted nails look great, but like any other situation in life it's whats underneath that really counts. Making sure you have a healthy base should always be the focus, so here are a few tips to keeping your natural nails healthy.

Number One: Don't cover up.
If you have to wear fake nails (we all know there will be a time when our good ol' "bridezilla" friend will insist on her party to have the same tacky tips), try to keep them on for as little as possible.
Acrylic nails really aren't good for the health of your nails. Just like you need air to stay up and running, your nails need fresh air to stay strong and pretty. I'm sure most of us have found out or seen from others the scary scene that are you real nails after having acrylics removed; bumpy, flaky, thin and discolored (not to mention it hurts!) If your nails need some toughening up, OPI makes great products for strengthening... you will be a lot happier in the long run if you can utilize the naturally given nails you have instead of paying some stranger who knows how much on a monthly basis to apply a bunch of harsh chemicals that suffocate your nails.

Number Two: Push them, don't snip.
Your cuticles are very sensitive and if handled improperly, can lead to some nasty and painful infections. Instead of automatically cutting the cuticles at the top, try moisturizing them very well (after the shower) with some cuticle oil then simply push them back. You can train your skin and nails in less time than you might think. If that doesn't sound worth your while, just go asking around about nail salon horror stories. The smallest cuts can snowball faster than one might think. If you have a hang nail or something of that nature, sure, tend to it but don't go over board. Moisturizing will do wonders on problems that usually stem from dry skin (Medline Remedy Skin Repair Cream and Bath and Body Works body butter are sure winners).

Number Three: Buff it up.
I like to lightly buff my nails about once a month (no more frequent). Lightly buffing your nails once or every other month stimulates blood flow to the nail bed which in turn causes stronger nails to grow. I might not be correct on this one, but I have also heard it makes nails grow faster as well. If you have trouble keeping a "shiny nail" even with a clear top coat, one reason might be due to ridges in your nail. The smoother your nails are the shinier they look.

Number Four: Take a break.
After every few polishes, I like to go au naturale for a little just to make sure my nails get to totally breath freely. Like I stated above, your nails need fresh air. Polish on your natural nails are nothing like acrylics, but it does still block complete air flow. Giving them a little breather now and then is always advisable and can prevent fungus.
Gross personal story alert! My Mom once wore a super dark polish on her toes for too long and wound up spending almost a year trying to get rid of a nail fungus that if not treated could make your whole nail fall off. Not to mention the money spent in treating her nail was much much higher than the polish. Even if you're an economist and you factor in your time spent, she still would have come out on top had she taken off the polish and let her nails breath.

There are WAY more things that you can do to keep your little lovelies happy and healthy, these 4 tips are just things I do on a normal basis.
If you have more in depth questions about a nail problem you or a friend are dealing with, feel free to comment on this post with your question. If I don't know the answer off the top of my head or through Google, there are a lot of great nail techs on OPI's FB page that I would be happy to ask. (My girl, Katie W. is such a pro! She even recently helped my boyfriend's Mom with a nail problem).

Until next time.


  1. i've heard the whole nails need to breathe deal, but it's not true.. here's a blog entry i found that has some good info about this ...

  2. I'm always struggling with peeling nails! They are so weak! (especially in the winter and especially because I do a lot of 3D, hands-on stone art projects at school causing my nails to chip. :()

    But I'd like to add not peeling your nail polish off and cutting (or filing) your nail when a peel comes so it doesn't get any deeper into your nail. I'm trying to make those two habits of mine because I always seem to the the opposite. Haha :)