How to care for your nails?

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Nail It Right

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If there is one thing that can catch the other person’s attention when they meet you it is your hands. An important part of overall grooming, hands somehow get ignored. But the key is that a set of well maintained hands and nails always speak more than words. And if you are wondering how to take care of your nails, here is your ready reckoner.

Nail Care

Nail care is extremely important, but often it does not get its due. Most of us focus on other aspects and ignore taking care of the nails. “The first step would be to maintain nail length that is comfortable for you. Next, is cleansing as our hands and feet are used through the day, it is vital that you keep them clean and dirt free. Gently scrub the areas beneath the nails with a nailbrush and use a scrub to exfoliate any dead skin around the fingers and nail area. This step should be followed by a moisturizing routine including a gentle circular massage that will keep the nails healthy and moisture rich,” says Neela Bopaiah, Founder, Polished. Using nail polish strengthens the nail plate. However, nail polish has to be removed in three days or else it may result in nail granulations which appears in the form of flakes on nail and also results in bacterial infections. “Do not use yellow and red coloured nails as it may result in yellow or red nail discoloration and avoid acetone free nail polish removers. Conditioning nail enamel removers (fatty materials such as cetyl alcohol, cetyl palmitate, lanolin, castor oil) are useful and act as occlusive nail moisturizers retarding water evaporation. Nail conditioners are the hydrophobic emulsions containing proteins, oils, fatty acids, lanolin, petrolatum, or humectants such as glycerin and propylene glycol. Cuticle is very important and protective layer of nail. During manicure, do not damage the cuticle as it may result in paronychia and irritant contact dermatitis,” avers Dr. Umashankar Nagaraju, Consultant Dermatologist, Apollo Hospitals, Bengaluru.

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Take Care

Products that are free from Formaldehyde, Dibutyl Phthalate, Toluene, Allergens Camphor and Formaldehyde Resin will prevent nail and health complications in the long run. Use an acetone free remover to keep your nails from drying. Follow a three-step process of base coat, toxic free nail polish and topcoat to maintain good nail health. Apart from home care, it is advisable to get a mani-pedi with specialists in a salon to take care of over grown cuticles, chipped nails and to restore nail health. A spokesperson from Jean-Claude Biguine, Salon and Spa opines, “if nails are dry/brittle/soft nail treatment should be applied on regular basis to fortify and make nails healthier. Nail polish should be changed every week and a base coat must be applied so that the nail will not become yellow. Gloves should be on when doing washing up or for an extensive period of time in water during household work.”

Home Remedies

In fact nail care can also be done at home. Lemon can give you clearer and whiter nails and remove any stains. If you have brittle or discoloured nails, soaking them in apple cider vinegar mixed with warm water once in a day will help to fix the problem. You could dip your fingernails in lukewarm mustard oil or olive oil for 10 minutes every alternate day and massage gently in circular manner around the nails and cuticle area to improve blood circulation. This hardens tender fingernails and toenails and helps moisturize the cuticle area to keep it supple. A massage with warm olive oil or coconut oil on nails helps give softness and smoothness to your nails. “Using tea tree oil is extremely beneficial as it has antifungal and anti bacterial properties. Also food rich in calcium and micronutrients nourish the nail. Antioxidants maintain good blood supply to the nail,” advices Dr. Rashmi Manjunath, Senior Dermatologist and Clinic Head. Veteran Beauty Expert, Renowned Cosmetologist-Aesthetician & Founder-Director of ALPS Beauty Group, Bharti Taneja explains, “a major reason of yellow-nails is lack of pampering for your feet and hands. Try doing manicure-pedicure at the comfort of your home at least once every month. For this, add one teaspoon shampoo, one teaspoon table-salt along with few drops of antiseptic liquid in a two litres of warm water. Soak your hands and feet in it for 10 minutes; scrub-off the dead skin using pumice stone and rinse-off using warm water. When it dries, massage all over with a rich, moisturizing cream and leave for an overnight to catch hold of fantastic looking nails, the very next morning.

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Maintain & Repeat

Nail care must be an important part of every individual’s hygiene and beauty regime and should ideally be a daily practice. It can even be as simple as cleaning the inside the nails with a nail brush, filing and moisturizing nails and all this can be done in the comfort of one’s home.  Pia Balwani, Founder at Hair OK Please, Mumbai advices, “the basic rule is to get a manicure once a month. Since the nail extensions have hit the market life has become very convenient. But at the same time, getting a manicure is a must as it helps in the removal of dead skin and cuticles. Try to stay away from cheap substitutes of nail polish removers.” Nail care is an important part of a personal grooming and it talks a lot about the health, basic hygiene and personal sense of style of a person. “Doing a regular manicure keeps the hands and nails clean, healthy and beautiful. It also reduces the pigmentation and removes the dead skin. Eat healthy foods that are composed of calcium and other minerals to keep the nails strong and prevent from brittleness or any kinds of nail disorders. Drink lots of water as it will not just prevent wrinkles on your skin but also avoid your nails from getting brittle or dry,” suggests Puii –Stylist, Green Trends Unisex Salon & Spa.

In Vogue

Mundane rosy nail polishes are overdone; trending is the nail art, where your creativity comes out on that tiny landscape of your fingertips. Nail art, just like fashion, brings a new breeze every season. Minimalistic is the trend this year. Painted tips of nails, geometric shapes and intricate designs restricted to one or two nails is the classiest ride. Naunidh Singh, Makeup Artist opines, “French tips is a classic which has stayed, though this year it is still holding on to its popularity with a little drama. Instead of whites, moody colours like blacks, metallic and oxblood are being used this season. Double tips are also gaining its fan following gradually. There is a pool of choices available for shapes in a 3D effect, in case you are looking for a bold statement.” Even though there is a bundle of art available for nails now, simplicity is still very much in. If you are a woman of expression, let your confidence steal the show while you’re beautiful hands do the talking!

Tips

  • Make sure your nails are always moisturized.
  • Apply cuticle oil twice a day to retain moisture around the cuticles
  • Topcoat is a must have.
  • Apply nude colour on your nails as it keeps the nails looking fresh.
  • It is best to have nails with rectangular rounded edged so that they do not break easily.

This story has appeared in the November 2016 issue of Femina Karnataka Twin (date Nov 08) here: 

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