This story was updated in January 2019.
Be it high-shine, chic matte or glossy, colouring your tips (and toes) can double your style quotient. Freshly polished nails can definitely add that extra spring to our step. Before you follow our 5-step routine to colouring your nails like a pro, let’s learn how to take care of them first. Grab a notebook and pen, will you?
Important Nail Care Tips & Tricks To Make Note Of
1. Keep Your Fingers Squeaky Clean
One way to make your nails look fantastic is to keep your fingers and the skin beneath the nails clean. You can start by using an acetone-free remover to remove the paint and later wash your hands with mild handwash. Wait, we’re not done yet. Take a new toothbrush and dip the bristles into a bowl of liquid soap. Now, gently scrub your nails and skin. Doing this often will keep your nails clean by removing dirt and dead skin.
2. Make Trimming A Habit
Long nails look gorgeous, but it’s important to look after them so they do not break or chip in the long run. Every two weeks, set aside some time to clip and file your nails. If you don’t, it may cause inward nail growth, fungal and bacterial infection. You could also cut yourself and others if you aren’t careful.
3. Don’t Mess With Your Cuticles
Many women tend to do away with their cuticles during a mani-pedi. Don’t be that person. Removing the cuticle can actually do more harm than good. It puts you in a vulnerable spot for bacteria to settle and cause an infection. Hence it’s best to not touch your cuticles. If you can’t stand the sight of them, then once a week, you should use a wooden orange stick to push back the cuticle and massage the area with cuticle cream.
4. Take Extra Care of Your Tools
Ladies, just how you would take care of your makeup brushes, you’ve got to do the same for your nail care tools as well. Start by washing them with soap and water and later, rub and wipe the tools with alcohol to disinfect them.
5. Read Labels Always
Don’t just blindly buy a nail paint just because the colour and the packaging looks great. Read what’s on the label. If it contains ingredients like formaldehyde, toluene, dibutyl phthalate, stay away from them. They’re toxic in nature and can cause brittleness and cracking.
6. Take A Break From Using Products
Honestly, your nails need a break. Over the weekend, take some time off to remove your polish and allow your nails to breathe. Taking care of your nails is important because keeping polish on for a prolonged period of time can cause the nails to turn yellow, dry and week.
7. Watch Your Diet
What you eat, shows on your nails. For clearer and stronger nails, make sure that you’re consuming foods that are rich in Vitamin E and protein. Beans, fish and nuts are your best bet. Biotin and fish oil are also good for you nails and overall health.
A Few Do’s & Don’ts To Keep In Mind
1. After washing your hands or cleaning the utensils piled up in your kitchen sink, always remember to use a hand cream after. Dishwashing soap and water tend to dry skin out and can make your hands rough if you don’t take care of them.
2. Before going to sleep, apply oil to your nails. It helps keep your cuticles moist and nourished at the same time.
3. The next time you get your hands dirty, dig your claws into a bar of soap. This technique prevents bacteria from getting collected under your nails and plus, makes it easier to clean later.
4. If at all your nail breaks, don’t pull the nail out with your hand. Use a nail cutter to clip the nails and later file them down. If you’re unsure how to go about it, please don’t be shy to seek professional help.
5. Try to keep your hands covered by wearing gloves during the winter season. Exposing your nails to the chilly climate can actually damage them by causing brittleness.
1. Your nails are delicate and are not designed to handle rough and tough jobs. Use a scissor, hammer or any such tool instead of your nails in such situations.
2. Never file your nails when they’re damp because they are vulnerable to damage. Allow them to dry and harden before touching them.
3. Biting and chewing your nails is an awful habit and can spread diseases if you mistakenly consume the dirt beneath the nails.
4. Avoid picking at chipped polish or be seen with chipped polish as it gives off a very shabby vibe. Always keep your nails neat and trimmed.
5. Since the cells in your nails are made of protein, you might damage them if you keep nail polish on for more than two to three weeks. Remove the polish using a remover and give your nails a chance to breathe for at least a day or two.
Now, It’s Time For The 5-Step Routine.
Step 1: Start with a Clean Slate
If you already have polish on, it’s wise to remove it the night before so that your nails get some time to breathe. No matter what the formula, a nail polish remover can leave your nails dry. Use Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream to moisturize your nails and keep your cuticles healthy too.
Step 2: Clip and File
Come morning, and it’s time to paint like an artist! The ideal time to trim your nails is right after you bathe since they are really soft at that time. You can even soak them in hot water (with a pinch of salt) if you’re doing it at another time of the day. After filing your nails, don’t cut your cuticles if they are protruding out – just push them back. Cuticles help protect your tips against fungal infections.
Step 3: Prep Yourself
Before you begin, check for leftover nail polish. If you see some on the sides of your tips, the safest bet is to use a cotton bud soaked in acetone. Next, coat the skin around your nails with petroleum jelly so that if you end up painting outside the lines, you can get rid of it by simply rinsing your hands. A secret tip for when you’re planning on using a bright colour or neon shade: paint it on a coat of white nail paint to really make it pop and appear less sheer.
Step 4: Three Strokes Is All It Takes
Make sure to always use a clear base coat first to protect your nails from turning yellow thanks to all the colour. Get the OPI Natural Nail Base Coat, or the Sally Hansen Diamond Strength Nail Hardener, which doubles up as a base coat and is a great fix for brittle nails. Instead of applying one thick, lumpy coat, apply a single coat on each tip; it should ideally be done in 3 strokes – one in the center and one on each side. Apply a second coat when your nails are considerably dry – this way you’ll avoid smudges and dents and bumps.
Step 5: Finishing Touches
Want your favourite shade of tangerine to pop a bit more and last longer without chipping? Use a top coat like the Inglot O2M Breathable Nail Polish Top Coat. If you like a gel finish (which is doing the rounds right now), try the Colorbar Insanely Matte Top Coat, or the Colorbar Disco Gold – a must-have to incorporate some glitter for the wedding season. Of course, going professional also means trying your hand at nail art: make it easier by investing in the Bourjois Dotting Tool – this double-ended tool will help you doodle all you like and add a unique twist to your tips!
Some Nail Art Designs To Keep You Inspired
If You Love Minimalism
Nudes and browns are two colours you should keep an eye out for. They’re subtle and look classy no matter what the occasion may be. To make your hands look a little more elegant and to feel pretty, put on a dainty finger ring.
For The Working Superwoman
You like things to be kept neat and in an organized fashion. You probably have no time to paint your nails. A French manicure will suit your personality and your lifestyle the best. It’s a hassle-free design and looks smart when worn to work as well.
Pretty In Pink
Hot pink or baby pink? You have a pretty tough choice to make! However, whichever nail polish shade you settle for, we bet it’ll look amazing on you. After all, isn’t the future pink?
Lover of Black
Love all things black? Good! Then you must paint your nails black too. The colour will make your fingers pop and draw instant attention to them. Plus, it’s a very sexy colour that complements every outfit.
Too Flashy For You
If you play by the rule ‘Go big or go home’, then you’ll probably heart these flashy nails. Try diamond studs, glitter or metallic hues ‘coz you were born to stand out, gorgeous!
Creativity At Its Best
Stripes, polka dots, triangles, stickers – you’re a person who loves going all out with her nails. And you SHOULD! Life is too short to not take any risks. Go for it, we say!
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