How To Maintain Healthy-Looking Nails & Cuticles

We all know a smooth, groomed nail is the basis for a longer-lasting manicure. So, if you’re on a quest to create a flawless shape and healthy-looking cuticles, it’s important to know which products, scrubs and oils will make a difference. Here, manicurist and brand educator for Navy Pro Tools, Harriet Westmoreland, shares her top rules and favourite products…
@HARRIETWESTMORELAND
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Rule #1: Always Take Time To Shape

No matter what look you’re creating, take the time to shape your nails every time you cut them. Even if just one fingertip has wonky edges, it will stand out and look scruffy. So, make sure you’re filing and clipping them to perfection – file flat across the free edge of your nail, then bring the file down the sides, sweeping gently to create a soft, rounded corner. You can use the light side of a buffing tool over the top of your nail to further smooth the surface. Having the right shape will make everything look fresher and neat. Keep nails short and softly-squared – it’s very flattering and suits-all.

Rule #2: Tend To Cuticles Monthly 

The cuticle is the clear layer of skin that sits across the bottom edge of your nail. Keeping these smooth and even is paramount. As a general rule, you only need to look after them monthly – maximum twice a month. Do this by gently pushing them back with Navy’s Doris Manicure Multi-Tool. It has a curved blade ideal for removing dead skin and in turn, maintaining a perfectly rounded edge at the base. This simple process will help any polish you apply last longer, too, while application will be much easier. Finally, you can trim your cuticles, but only do this minimally and if you’re confident – mostly, it should be left to the professionals. Doing it in excess will result in damage and potential bleeding – the skin here is alive, so be gentle. 

Rule #3: Create A Daily Routine

Everyone should follow a simple regime for their hands and nails, daily. It only takes five minutes, and you’ll notice a difference if you stick to it. Start by scrubbing fingertips with a nail brush. This will stimulate the skin around the nail, while also getting rid of dead cells. Follow up with a rich hand cream, and if you’re particularly dry, add a couple of drops of oil – I love to use La Mer’s Renewal Oil – massaging everything in right around the nailbeds. In terms of effective hand creams that cater to skin and nails, Weleda’s Skin Food and Elizabeth Arden’s 8-Hour Cream are both hero products. Apply one or the other every night with a firm pressure. As for the daytime, slather on The Necessaire’s Hand Cream. It intensely hydrates without any stickiness, keeping nails and skin in great condition. 

Rule #4: Invest In Heavy-Duty Scrubs

This is often an overlooked step, but scrubs are a great way to bring nails to life and smooth them out. Use sugar scrubs which contain oil so that they aren’t scratchy or harsh on the skin. Using these types of product daily will allow you to get really into the exfoliation process, massaging it in circular motions for optimum results, all without irritation. Not only are your hands and nails left soft and hydrated, they look visibly healthier straightaway. This is because the exfoliating process brings fresher nutrients and blood to the surface for a pink-y glow. Try Byredo’s Vetyver Hand Scrub or Ouai’s Scalp & Body Scrub

Rule #5: Keep Nails Covered At Night

This is especially relevant if you have dry hands and cuticles. It’s the best time to replenish parched skin and restore some essential moisture. Every night, apply Dior’s Abricot Crème to your nails and cuticles. Again, take a small amount and rub it in circular motions into anywhere that needs it. You can apply gloves on top to lock in the moisture, or just leave the formula on overnight. Either way, you’ll wake up and see how much better your nails look – think of it like a conditioner, but for your fingertips. It’s a staple in my kit. 

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