How to Keep Your Nails Healthy and Beautiful

We all want healthy, beautiful nails. And, while professional manicures can do wonders for your nails, nail health is really dependent on how you take care of your nails at home.

The dos and don’ts of healthy nails

Do wear gloves when cleaning or gardening

Too much contact with water can lead to bacteria growing underneath the nails, which is why it’s always a good idea to keep your nails clean and dry by wearing gloves when appropriate.

When you’re doing the dishes or cleaning your home, wear a pair of cotton-lined rubber gloves to protect your nails from hot water and harsh chemicals that can damage your nails.

It’s also a good idea to wear work gloves when gardening or doing yard work. This will help to prevent dirt from getting underneath your nails.

Don’t cut or damage your cuticles

Did you know that your cuticle acts as a natural barrier against bacteria and fungus?

When you damage your cuticles by cutting or manipulating them, you lose this natural protection and leave yourself prone to infection.

Whether you’re getting your nails done at your local nail salon or you’re giving yourself a DIY manicure, the best thing for your nails is just to leave the cuticles alone.

If you absolutely can’t stand the way your cuticles look naturally, carefully and gently push them back. Never cut them.

Do keep your nails neatly trimmed

Don’t get me wrong. Long nails are gorgeous and glamorous. However, if nail health is what you’re going for, you’re better off keeping your nails neatly trimmed.

Long nails look great but are prone to damage. When your nails are longer, it’s easier for them to break or snag on something.

Trim your nails with sharp, clean scissors or clippers straight on a regular basis.

Don’t bite your nails

Did you know that up to 30% of the population are nail biters? If you’re one of them, it’s time to kick the habit for good.

Here are a few great reasons to stop biting your nails:

  • Hangnails – Hangnails hurt — a lot — and the more you bite your nails, the more likely you are to see those painful little suckers.
  • Ingrown nails – Also quite painful, ingrown nails can grow under your skin around your fingernails when you bite them. Sometimes, they even require surgical removal.
  • Teeth damage – Not only does biting your nails damage the nails themselves, but it also damages the teeth and can cause them to shift out of place in extreme cases.
  • Germs and bacteria – Under the nails is one of the most hard-to-reach areas to clean, and when you bite your nails, anything hiding underneath them goes right in your mouth. That’s especially troubling, considering we’re in the middle of a global pandemic.

Do indulge yourself by painting your nails

Love to paint your nails? You’ll be glad to know that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with indulging in your favorite colors, so long as you choose quality polish.

However, do give your nails a break from polish every once in a while to keep them healthy.

Long-term nail polish use will eventually lead to chemicals seeping into the nail beds, leading to cracked, discolored, peeling nails. Gels that need to be soaked off can be even more harmful for your nails.

Don’t use acetone-based nail polish remover

If you do paint your nails, it’s important to use high-quality nail care products to avoid exposing your nails to chemicals that can harm them. One of the most common and damaging chemicals for your nails is acetone.

Repeated use of acetone-based nail polish remover can strip your nails over time, causing them to become brittle and thin.

Also, avoid polishes that have to be soaked off using acetone, as soaking causes real damage.

Do keep your nails moisturized

Thanks to COVID-19, lots of people are washing their hands a lot more often than they used to. And, that means that many people are also realizing just how important it is to keep their hands moisturized.

Dry hands can crack and bleed, dry nail beds are brittle and prone to breakage, and dry cuticles can become easily damaged.

Keep your hands and your nails properly moisturized by using ointments and gels rather than just lotions. Also, keep your cuticles and nail beds healthy and moisturized as well.

Don’t rip hangnails off

If you are unfortunate enough to find yourself with a hangnail, make sure that you take care of it the right way.

Pulling a hangnail off with your fingers or teeth is a bad idea.

For one, putting your fingers in your mouth isn’t smart during a global pandemic. Furthermore, it’s impossible to just pull the hangnail off without also ripping off healthy skin.

Instead of pulling hangnails off, cut them with clean, sharp clippers or scissors.

Do enjoy a manicure every once in a while

When you want to pamper yourself, nothing compares to a great manicure. Not only is the manicure itself relaxing and indulgent, but the end result is beautiful nails.

However, for the same reason you want to give your nails a break from polish every so often, you also want to take a break between manicures.

People who get manicures all the time tend to have the most problems with nail brittleness and infections due to regular exposure to harsh chemicals.

When you do get a manicure, look for a nail salon that’s clean and offers safer, alternative nail polishes and products.

Also, make sure to choose a reputable salon, as infections can arise from reusing clippers and other tools.

Find the right nail salon with Top Rated Local

When you want a professional manicure, always do your research when choosing a nail salon.

Make sure that any salon you choose is clean and safe. Also, look for a salon that properly disinfects and sterilizes tools between uses, and replaces single-use tools, like buffers, files and pumice bars.

You should also make sure COVID restrictions are in place to keep customers and staff safe. This includes sick time, because the last thing that you want is to be getting your nails done by someone who is actively sick.

Start your search for a nail salon near you with Top Rated Local. You can compare the top nail salons in your area side by side, read nail salon reviews from across the web and more — all from one place.

Find a nail salon near you today!

Tips for Perfecting the DIY Manicure (& How to Stay Safe at Your Favorite Nail Salon)

You may not have the option to visit your favorite nail salon in person right now, but that doesn’t mean that your nails have to suffer. You can get a great manicure from home, you just need to know how.

How to Get the Perfect Manicure From Home

#1. Prepare your nails properly.

The quality of your manicure is greatly affected by how well you prepare your nails before you get started. Preparing your nails properly before painting them will make your manicure last longer and the paint go on smoother.

How to prepare your nails:

  • Clip – Unless you’re attached to your length, you’ll want to start by clipping your nails. Clip carefully, starting from the side of each nail. If you start in the middle, you run the risk of breakage.
  • File – File your nails to smooth out the edges and to get the shape that you want.
  • Buff – With a nail buffer (not an emery board) lightly buff the tops of your nails. This will smooth out the ridges and remove natural oils that can undermine your manicure.
  • Cuticles – Soften the cuticles and remove any dead skin with a cuticle remover. Cuticles help to protect your nails from bacteria, so don’t cut them, but you should gently push them down with a cuticle stick.

#2. Prepare your hands.

A manicure isn’t just about making your nails beautiful; it’s about making your hands beautiful, too. And, to do that, you need to take some time to pamper your hands.

Prepare your hands for your manicure by gently exfoliating them with a sugar scrub. This will help to remove any dead skin cells and excess oil on your hands and nails. Then, moisturize your hands thoroughly. For a little extra pampering, wear a pair of cotton gloves for a couple of hours after moisturizing.

Before you move on to painting your nails, go over each nail with nail polish remover to get rid of any remaining oil from the moisturizer, which could make the polish dry improperly.

#3. Use a base coat.

Before you start painting your nails with the color of your choice, make sure that you paint a thin layer of base coat on your nails.

Applying a base coat will help to protect your nails, keep them hydrated, and prevent chipping. It will also prevent the polish from staining your nails. Give your nails a few minutes to dry after you’ve applied the base coat.

#4. Paint two coats of color.

Now, for the fun part, actually painting your nails!

Pick the right color, and if it has started to separate, roll it, instead of shaking it, to combine it again. If you shake it, little bubbles can form in the polish that prevent it from going on smoothly.

Most DIYers will put too much paint on their nails, as well as use too many strokes to apply the paint.

Instead of painting the polish on in one big blob, you’ll want to paint two thinner layers of paint. With each layer, try to get just enough paint on the brush to paint the whole nail without redipping it, but not much more than that.

Try to paint each nail in three big strokes. Start with one stroke in the middle, and finish with single strokes on each side.

Repeat this process with a second coat, and finish by painting the tip of the nails, which will help to seal in the color.

#5. Seal the deal with a topcoat.

Give your polish a few minutes to dry, and then finish your manicure by applying a layer of topcoat polish. This will make your nails look shinier, protect them from chips, and make your manicure last longer.

Do you want your nails to look great for longer? Apply a new layer of topcoat to your polish every two to three days to keep it looking fresh and new.

Nail salons may, or may not be, open in your community, and even if they are open, you may not feel comfortable going into one. But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have beautiful nails, nor does it mean that you can’t support the local businesses you love.

If you can’t, or don’t want to, visit your favorite nail salon in person right now, think about supporting them in other ways, like buying gift cards, taking advantage of any alternative services they’re offering — like online consultations or tutorials — shopping with them if they’re selling products, donating to their GoFundMe, writing reviews for them, etc.

If you do feel comfortable visiting a nail salon and they’re open near you, make sure to follow a few safety precautions while you’re there. These include wearing a mask, scheduling an appointment ahead of time, waiting in your vehicle until your appointment, and double-checking the salon’s safety precautions prior to scheduling an appointment.

Whether you want to leave a review for a nail salon you already know and love or you want to find a local nail salon to help you get the look you love, start with Top Rated Local®.

With Top Rated Local, you can read a nail salon’s reviews from across the web and quickly compare their overall online reputation to their competitors’ side by side — all from one place and in no time at all. Get started today.