The Internet, and world, for that matter, is full of unlicensed nail care fans passing around their go-to nail care tips (myself included). Sometimes this advice is spot on. Sometimes it leads you to create a routine filled with manicure mistakes you didn't know you were making. We learn as we go, we are always learning new things, and the nail care industry is constantly creating new innovations that evolve mancures as a whole. Still, whether we learned it from our moms, our besties, or our favorite brands, bad nail advice is simply that: bad.
Just like all things in life, except for say, breathing, not all people will need the same kinds of nail care. Some of the nail care mistakes listed here may have been working for you for years, and you may be perfectly happy with your nails. That's cool. But as a general rule for nail newbies, these seven common nails sins should never become part of a burgeoning nail care routine. If you're in favor of nail whitening, cuticle cutting, or soaks, and they work for you, then party on. The rest of us probably need all the help we can get to keep our nails long, strong, flexible, and healthy. That's where these tips come in.
1. Clipping Your Nails
No matter how new and sharp your nail clippers, they're still like ittle machettis for your nail fibers. They create cracking, fissures and tears in your nails that are practically invisible, but can lead to peeling, cracking, and breaking. You should never use nail clippers as part of your everyday nail routine. Instead, you should only file them. Filing leaves behind a smooth edge that helps keep your nails in tact. If you must clip, cut them longer than you want them, then file away the last bit of length.
2. Using A Nail Strengthening Polish
Nail hardeners and nail strengtheners make your nails thicker and harder. This sounds like the perfect way to help you grow out your nails and keep your length. The opposite is actually true. When your hails are hard, and you hit them on a hard surface, they will crack and break. Hard nails can easily become brittle nails. What you want instead it for nails that are strong and flexible. When they're flexible, they will bend and not break. The way you do that is by using a cuticle oil daily and keeping your hands and nails moist with hand cream.
3. Buffing Your Nails
Ridges happen as your nails grow. It's totally normal and natural. A lot of people like to buff their nails down to a smooth, shiny surface. This takes away layers of your nails, which can make them thinner, weaker, and more prone to damage. Instead, you can use a ridge-filling base coat, which settles into all the ridges, and creates a completely smooth surface. Your nail polish won't show any ridges or lines. If you want a more natural look, you can top a ridge filler with a top coat and you'll have shiny nails without the damage.
4. Whitening Your Nails
If you paint your nails on the regular, they're probably going to yellow. Even if you use a high-quality base coat religiously, staining just happens. There are so many hacks that use things like bleach, baking soda, and whitening tooth paste to get the yellow out. There are also specialty whitening products and whitening buffers. All your doing when you use these products is damaging your nails to fix a problem that's not really a problem. It's better to have strong nails than whitened nails, because you can cover the yellowing with a coat of polish, but you can't polish away damage.
5. Skipping Topcoat or Base Coat
We know base coat protects the nail from polish, but it's also designed to adhere to polish so that it covers better and stays on longer. You also need to use topcoat on top of your polish (not clear polish, but top coat, which are two different products) because it fuses the layers of your manicure together so it lasts longer. If you don't use topcoat, your mani can chip, which can take layers of your natural nail with it, and leave parts of your nail exposed to damage from water.
6. Soaking Your Nails
Part of a pampering, luxurious-feeling manicure is soaking your nails, but if there's water involved, that's a definite no-no. When your nails are exposed to water for a significant amount of time, the nails absorb it. That water bloats the nail, separating the layers, and forcing out the natural oils. Plus, wet nails are softer and weaker. There's no need to soak your nails in water, even if you're doing a mani soak. Instead, just keep your nails and hands hydrated.
7. Cutting Your Cuticles
Cuticles serve an important purpose. They keep bacteria and other nonsense out of our bodies. A lot of people cut their cuticles to keep their nails looking a certain way. You should really only cut your cuticles when you have a hangnail, and even then you're only cutting away the skin flap so you don't snag it on things and tear it more. Otherwise, you should just use a cuticle remover and a pusher to gently push back your cuticles and scrape away the dead skin.
Follow all these steps, and you'll have nails so stunning that your friends are begging you for your secrets. And if you get your nails done, your tech will thank you for making their job that much easier.