Saturday, April 9, 2011

Nail Care – A Guide for the Busy and Bewildered

 This lady's nails are very cute. I'm going to attempt to have these exact nails for Easter, because I like to aim high. Click on image to be taken to the source of such inspiration. 

A note, dear readers, before I begin; if you are already of fine nail hygiene, if you posses nails long and elegant, if your phalanges could easily double for those of a pro hand model, then this post is not for you.

If you set aside time for manicures or have ever used the term ‘nail art’ without any air of irony, then this post is not for you.

If you can, at this moment, hear your nails tapping on your keyboard as you type, and not just the kerplunk of fingertips on plastic, then, sadly, this post is not for you.

This post is for those whose schedule is too cramped to allow for more than five minutes of nail TLC time per week. It is for those who have long stared at the strong, reliable, stunning nails of others and dreamed of how exotic it might feel to have hands so attractive, meanwhile nervously flicking their own until they break. It is for those who grow bemused by the range of nail care products at the pharmacy, to the point that they leave with a bottle of baby pink ‘Liquid Calcium’ that burns like no tomorrow.

For these people, of whom I am a fellow, I write this post.

A guide to caring for your own nails in five minutes, once a week, and with only two utensils required.

A lot of people, I would even hazard a guess at the majority, grow up with some knowledge of how to care for their nails. Whether it’s clippering once a week, whipping out a handy nail file as soon as a breakage occurs or cutting cuticles, people seem to know about nails. It does make sense, we should all know about them because we all have them, right? Wrong. There are a large number people out there who know just as much about nail care as most of us know about what it is a spleen actually does. I was once one of those people.

Nail care can be time consuming, expensive and intricate, yes, which can be supremely off putting for those who have little spare time, money and patience. As with anything that has an over-hyped, over-marketed, consumer duping industry attached, though, the basics of nail care can also be whittled down to a simple and quick at home process.

  • Nail Buffer/Shiner
  • Glass Nail File
  •  Cuticle Care: After your shower, when your cuticles are softened from the warm water (these are the normally hard, clear skin bits growing at the bottom of your nail) gently push them downwards with the back of another nail. Please note the world gentle, this should not hurt at all, but will leave you with smooth, un-raggedy nail beds. Repeat twice weekly.
  • Nail White Care: Invest in a glass nail file, I can guarantee they’re worth it. Filing strengthens nails even more so than clippers, and glass files are particularly brilliant because they never wear out like the traditional emery boards and they don’t crack or tear your nails like steel files can do. To shape, only ever pull the file in one direction, otherwise you’ll promote nail breakage later on. You want the middle to be rather flat-ish, maybe a little curvy but not a major arch. The corners need to be rounded, and it’s important that the sides don’t jut off at a straight down right angle because otherwise the whole top will just split right off as they grow. Try and round the edges down as much as you can; it’s a delicate manoeuvre and does take practice, but it’s worth it in the end. Spend five minutes on this task once a week, though if you happen to catch a nail and have a file handy, try to get rid of any interim jaggedy edges.  
  •  Nail Front Care; it’s time for Recommended Investment Number Two; a nail buffer/shiner combo. These are not hard to come by. Seriously. Most of them have handy instruction booklets included with tiny writing explaining the thing in seven different languages, but you don’t need that. All you need to know is that the buffer side buffs the nail so that it’s smooth and healthy, and then the shiner side makes it shiny. Use both by pressing on top of the nail, no need for extreme pressure mind, and rubbing in circles. Don’t bother continuing for too long, in fact, excessive use will actually be bad for the nail. Repeat once weekly. 

Voila, pretty, naturally healthy nails! Consider your course in Nail Care complete.  

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