Nail Care Routine for Strong, Healthy Nails

People often ask how I get and keep my nails looking the way they do, you know, awesome. [I promise, this is a real question I get :) ] I usually respond that most of it is in my genes (shout out to the parents) but then go into my nail routine anyway because I could be wrong. I thought I'd take the time to go through my nail care routine here.  It's a bit long, so be prepared...

Nail Polish Removal and Moisture

I generally do a re-polish at least once per week unless I'm testing the longevity of a nail polish or top coat. Most nail polishes can last 5-7 days, especially with a good top coat. I use an acetone free nail polish remover because it's easier on my nails. I have to spend a few more minutes removing my polish but I think it's worth it. I use a gentle polish remover because anything too harsh will result in the nails and cuticles drying out. This can lead to breakage and chipping. I use a cuticle oil just about every other day and when I moisturize my hands I always massage the lotion or cream into my cuticles. I think well moisturized cuticles play a role in strong, healthy nails.

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Buffing and Cuticle Maintenance

I never trim my cuticles and I absolutely never let anyone else touch them. If my cuticles start looking a little rough, I generally soak my hands in warm water for a few minutes and apply a cuticle softener or lotion then put my hands back in the water for another minute or two. I then gently push back my cuticles with a cuticle stick then brush away any excess.   If there are hangnails or bits of skin I use a cuticle trimmer to remove, taking care not to cut too much. I buff and smooth my nails after trimming because I like the way my nails look after and I think it helps with the overall health of the nails. I have no proof of this but it is something I have always done. If I'm in a hurry and don't have time for all the above steps, I will use Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover and keep it moving.  Be careful when using this product and follow the directions, overuse  and misuse can cause even dryer cuticles. 

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How I File and Shape My Nails

For years I filed my nails from side to side, which is the way I see most people file. Manicurist Tracylee of Luxe by Tracylee, corrected this long time mistake when she informed me I should only be filing my nails in one mouth literally fell open. Tracylee explained that filing in one direction keeps the layers of the nails together making them less prone to chips, which can quickly turn to breakage. I have been filing in one direction religiously since getting this bit of info.  I shape my nails  so they look very similar on both ends. I once had a more square shape but Felicia Walker Benson gently coaxed me into a more oval shape and I haven't looked back since.  

TIP: An oval nail shape will elongate the fingers.

Stain Removal

This is an optional step. Frequent nail polishing can lead to nail discoloration even if a base coat is used. I use a mixture of baking soda, lemon juice and hydrogen peroxide to remove stains. See the recipe here.

Getting Domestic with My Nails

There was a period in college where I bought a "natural" dish liquid, I think it was called Greenworks, it might have been better for the environment but my hands and nails suffered mini deaths every time I did the dishes glove free. Today, I exclusively use Dawn with Olay and my hands are extremely happy. I almost always apply lotion to my hands and nails immediately after doing the dishes

When I clean I use Mr Clean Magic Eraser with Dawn for most kitchen and bathroom jobs then I'll put on gloves and wipe down surface with a bleach or vinegar solution. 

Choosing Nail Polish

Obviously I love nail polish, just check out the above video. However, there are certain nail polish brands that just don't agree with my nails.  My list of offenders run the gamut from drugstore brands to high end brands.  There are 3-Free polishes that make the sides of my nails hurt while there are some polishes that yellow and flake my nail with just one use.  If I have an adverse reaction to a polish I simply stop using it and move on...there are 4156781 nail polish brands out there to choose from, so, I know there is something for everyone.  


While the above steps are important to my nail care routine, I think the most important factor is diet. I try to eat a healthy diet and for the most part I think I do okay. I have a fruit/veggies smoothie almost daily and have at least one veggie serving with just about every meal.   This article has some good points about foods to eat for nail health. You can click here for a few of my recipes.

There you have, all the 'secrets' to my nail health. I hope this helps you to get on the road to happy, healthy hands and nails and even more fabulous manicures.




Posted on March 29, 2014 and filed under Mani Moment.