This is part two of our series of taking care of your body during social distancing. As you can gather from the title of this post, this week we’re focusing entirely on your nails!
While nails are slightly less specialized than your brows, it is still in many people’s routines to get their nails done on a bi, or perhaps weekly, basis. Nail technicians and artists are practiced professionals with honed skills, and also have a wide range of nail care products you may not have at home.
During this period of social distancing, you may find that taking care of your own nails becomes a comforting, relaxing weekly ritual. So let’s dig deeper.
Creating a solid foundation for beautiful nails
Before you think about how to properly shape and paint your nails, it’s important to start with a strong, healthy base. Your regular nail artist likely has different base coats and serums that keep your nails healthy that you may not. Fortunately, there are many natural, easy at-home remedies.
First, we always recommend moisturizing daily. This may be second nature for you when it comes to your face, but it’s just as important to the rest of your body. Regular moisturizing keeps your skin from drying out and repairs damage. It’s not different for the skin around your fingers, which actually may get more beat up than the rest of your skin from washing dishes, cooking, gardening, and other activities. Especially during this time where we are washing our hands and sanitizing often.
Don’t neglect your cuticles, either. These small areas of skin around the nail that act as a barrier between your body and nails, to protect the nail by preventing bacteria from entering. While there are many natural cuticle serums available, our clear Nourishing Lip Balm (the shade Boston) works great as one! Moisturizing your cuticles also prevents chemicals from nail polish or remover from getting into your body.
In addition, it’s important to not try and cut your nail cuticles yourself. We actually recommend never cutting your cuticles, as mistakes can allow for infections and pain, but instead using a specialized cuticle remover and a pusher to keep them off the nail. Always only cut away dead skin.
For your nails health, different varieties of oil work well. Coconut oil is extremely common, and caster oil is another option. Both of these oils have a multitude of uses around the house and for your body, too. We’ll revisit the specific properties of both when it comes to our third and final grooming post on hair next week.
Cutting and shaping your nails
As long as you have a nail file, you can take care of your nails. For adults, we recommend not cutting your nails (though if you do, always cut straight across), but rather, using a file to shape them. A nail file buffs away only a small amount of the nail at a time and thus allows for more precise shaping, and is more forgiving to mistakes.
To prevent your nails from becoming damaged or weakened, use a side-to-middle filing technique. Start on one side of your nail and move it inwards, always moving in one direction only. Applying a sawing motion can lead to weakened edges, breakages and splitting nails.
Using the proper technique will also help with shaping and avoiding unevenness. Holding your nail tips as straight as possible will also prevent one side from being more skewed than another. When it comes to shaping, pick a preferred shape and stick to it. For at-home ease, we recommend round or square nails for being the easiest to maintain yourself.
Watch out for harmful chemicals
As a company that believes in the power of nature, we don’t believe in applying acrylics. Not only are many harmful chemicals involved in this process, but they’re also just not good for your overall health and can lead to a lot of long-term damage.
In addition, gels might not be the best at-home choice, either. While there are at-home kits on the market, they require a lot of equipment at set up. In addition, making an error in the application process will have you starting over from the beginning.
Therefore, we recommend either sticking with your standard polish, base coat, and topcoat, or just going all natural. You’d be surprised how good your nails can look with a simple buff and polish.
If you do want a pop of color (and maybe a little pop of happiness), make sure you do your research ahead of time and pick out a polish that doesn’t contain harmful chemicals that are unfortunately common. These include toluene, phthalates, and formaldehyde. Fortunately, to avoid these chemicals, you don’t have to splash out over twenty dollars for a single bottle. Look to this list from Good Housekeeping for a bunch of clean brands that are bad chemical free, and even vegan!