Feb 12, 2012

Tips on Maintaining healthy nails and Self manicures

I have gotten a few questions about my manicures and how I maintain healthy and strong nails.
This inspired me do a post on a couple of tips I know.
They are quite simple and I am sure many of you know about them already, but please keep on reading if you are interested.  ;)

Ok, I am not going to lie.
I was lucky to be born with strong and nice shaped nails. :)
As far as I know, my mom and my grandmother all have similar shaped strong nails, so I guess genes play a big part in this.
(And it is very possible I might suffer from arthritis for the same reason. ;-/ )

This does not mean that I can do whatever I want with my nails and abuse them.
I have done some visible damages on my nails in the past due to daily change of polish colors and other mishaps, which eventually lead me to learn a few lessons. ;p

1. Taking supplements helps
Maybe a good diet is all you need, but personally I believe in taking supplements for additional help.
Nothing drastic like taking more than 2500 micrograms of Biotin daily, though it has been proven to be effective for hair and nail growth, I still would suggest adding some sort of supplements that generally covers hair, nail and skin health.
You can find this from any health store at affordable price.
Mine contains vitamin C, Biotin, Hydrolyzed Collagen and Grape Seeds extracts, for instance.
Taking Omega-3 is a good idea as well. (If you are allergic or vegetarian, there is flax seeds version, too.)

2. Avoid nail clipper and emery board if you have brittle nails
I admit that my nails are strong enough to open a soda can with, but I still prefer using glass (crystal) files when I shape and trim my nails.
This is more hygienic than conventional emery board since it is washable.
Good thing about crystal files is they do not add unnecessary stress on you nails and provide smoother finish so you nails are less likely to break.
(It will last virtually forever but it is not invincible, so don't drop it or step on it.)

3. Try not to touch your cuticles too much
Too much of thick cuticles can cause pain and they need to be taken care of, but generally speaking, it is just better not to touch them.
Even when you go to a salon for a professional manicure, just politely ask not to cut cuticles too much. Cutting a little bit on the sides should be okay, but most of times, a little bit of push-back is all you need.
Remember, once you start cutting your cuticles, it is hard to stop since they keep growing harder and irregular.

4. Wash your hands
I always wash my hands after I use acetone based remover on my nails. 
(If your nails are too weak to handle acetone, go with other alternatives. I personally like acetone based one since it gets the job done quickly and I wash it off right away anyway.)
Nail technicians usually wipe your nails off with remover right before painting to get rid of any oily residue and ensure the color would last longer, but this does not mean it is a good thing for your nails.
I also use a tooth brush for my nails.  (No, I don't use the same one.)
Brushing your nails with whitening toothpaste works pretty well on those stained nails. :)

5. Practice
As for painting neatly on nails, I don't have much to say except "practice makes everything better".
There are clearly better polishes with better formula and brushes, but even polishes from the same brand differ depending on the finish (jelly? shimmer? creme..?) 
Plus everybody is different with unique nail shapes and preference.
For example, OPI prowide brush doesn't work very well for me since my nail beds are kinda long and curved to sides. 
As you keep practicing on your own nails, you will learn what kind of brush works better for you and how much polish you need to dip to cover each nail, etc. :)

6. Invest in nice base coat & top coat

Good top coat and base coat can definitely solve a few problems.
I don't really believe any base coat would make your nails grow faster or stronger, but right kind of base coat can provide nice even surface so nail polish can adhere better.
Fast drying top coat like Seche Vite literally dries polish in minutes. 
(Trust me, I can go boil instant ramen noodles 10 minutes after I paint my nails thanks to this. With caution, of course. ;p) 
Top coat gives wonderful shiny finish and helps the nail polish to last longer. It also straightens out minor mistakes and flaws.
Most fast drying top coat thickens rather quickly over time, add good thinner in your manicure arsenal.

7. Pee before you paint your nails
This is not my word of wisdom, but I find this one of the wisest of all beauty advice there is.
Ladies, pee before you start painting your nails. :)

Well, I hope you enjoyed my little posting about nail care and self manicure.
Please feel free to share your own tips with me as well. :)

Join the conversation!

  1. Anna Theresa WinklerFebruary 12, 2012

    thank you very much for following on twitter! will follow back :)
    xxx love


  2. The last tip is the best! hahaha ;D Very, very nice!!

  3. Eva_Chic_ProfessionalFebruary 12, 2012

    Thanks for the tips! I unfortunately was born with brittle nails. My mom and I take supplements, lol. Love that last tip by the way. I swear by it.

  4. Haha, totally agree with peeing before painting! Too funny!!

    xo, alison*elle

  5. Hahaha! I love your last tip! I definitely don't play with my cuticles at all!

  6. you're so right about the cuticles!! until i started cutting mine a year ago, they were newver this thick, i kinda wish i didnt start cutting them. one thing i do for my nails is i moisturize them with rose oil before i paint, yeah it might affect the drying but it moisturizes my nails and keeps them healthy

  7. ughhh i need the seche vite! Been wanting to get one!
    and i have been using emery board on my nail!:(
    hehe yes the hair looks like ombre and the problem will start when my roots grow!

  8. The french manicure looks gorgeous.

  9. LOL that last tip might be the most crucial of them all!! i have quite small nail beds which has always annoyed me. but my fingertips are really flat & fat looking bc i played piano for over 10yrs so my fingers look weird. not slender & ladylike like other ppls D: but i've noticed that wearing nail polish regularly has made them stronger despite the general consensus that nail polish is harmful for us.

  10. Hey Lena, thanks for sharing! I do all these already, but only supplement makes a real difference (and once I go off my nails go back to their natural sorry state lol)! I especially LOVE your last tip! I always paint my nails when EVERYTHING else is done, just so that I don't have to risk ruining the manicure :)

  11. this was super useful! i had no idea glass files are better for your nails.i am keeping note of all these points

  12. ShoppingObsessionFebruary 13, 2012

    Great tips especially go pee before you paint nails. That's so true. I don't know why but as soon as I paint the nails, need to go pee or need to do something which would mess up the nails.

  13. Thanks for your tips! I Love it. And I love ur blog so much, it's beautiful :) And I'm following you now, mind following me back?

  14. Great tips! That last one had me lol'ing but it's total common sense. I need to invest in a crystal file and I didn't know that bout brushing with whitening toothpaste. Thanks Lena!

  15. i saw that advice on MUA nail board. i was floored to encounter such wisdom! :p
    crystal files are inexpensive and fairly easy to find. totally worth investing in. :)
    some prefer using lemon juice for whitening, but i prefer toothpaste. simpler.
    hope this works for you, too! :)

  16. hey thanks for dropping by and adding me to your list, Beata! :)

  17. same here! LMAO!
    i usually get hungry right after painting my nails. so i developed the skill of boiling ramen noodles withouth messing my nails. ;p

  18. thank you, Debi!
    i am glad you find this helpful. :D
    for thin brittle nails, glass files are the best. it takes longer to file for me since my nails are thick but i still try to be patient and stick with it. :)

  19. i guess internal replenishment is the best way. i will continue to take supplement since they seem to help with my skin and hair. :)

  20. it it indeed! lol
    i know what you're saying. i play the piano as well. the tips of my nails go in so short as you keep clipping them short, right?
    if you let them grow, the skin underneath will grow and attach to nails and your nail bed will be longer eventually. it takes time, though. but that all depends how much you play the piano. right now i am keeping them pretty short so they won't get in the way of teaching and accompanying but you wouldn't have a choice if you are a prefessional piano player. :)

    and you are absolutely right! painting nails is generally recommended for nail biters. you tend to take care of them more, i think. :)

  21. i'd also recommend Poshe fast drying top coat, my other favorite.
    the initial shine is not as much as Seche but the shine lasts longer. :)

    using emery board is not so bad if it has been working for you. it is just that there are so many different grits, it is not easy to choose right one.

  22. aww it takes time but you can definitely turn it back to the way before.
    resist cutting everything, just cut what is necessary and moisturize moisturize moisturize.
    i actually fixed my aligator heels this way, too. :)

  23. i love the tip as well!
    and good for you! you doing the right thing. ;)

  24. i know, it is so funny but so true, right? ;p

  25. heh heh thank you.
    not my original idea, but i will take the credit. ;p

  26. LMAO, your last tips was funny XD but so TRUE! Thanks for sharring XD, I'm lazy to do my nail because I'm cooking every day >.<

  27. I live by my base coat and top coat - makes such a big difference! I will look into buying a crystal file..I've never come across one before, to be honest. And I definitely agree about the supplements. But I guess I need them, because I do have quite a limited diet.

    Great post!

    GM x

  28. JoanneCuaycongFebruary 13, 2012

    Great tips Lena! :)) Oh and before I forget, you have requested a review for the Remington Curling wand at my blog and I'm happy to inform you that the review and tutorial for it is finally up. :)
    Thanks for showing interest and support! :)


  29. Haha pee before you start painting your nails... Word of wisdom...!

    Do you have any recommendations for a good base coat?

  30. haha I have this WEIRD thing where no one can touch my cuticles but me... when I get manicures I ask ahead of time what they will do or if they will touch my cuticles at all before agreeing to do it!

  31. LMFAO at the last one! That is so true Lena! Great advice girl and supplements really help me.

  32. or make sure you're not doing anything for the next few hours - washing dishes or showering etc. but I still think going to potty beforehand is the best tip I've heard!

  33. Amazing tips!!! love your blog:) Following you on GFC and Bloglovin!!!


  34. LOL - great tips. I don't have time to paint my nails EVER, and even when I do they chip the next day due to washing dishes or cleaning the house!

  35. i like washing dishes with my own hands as well. i try to use gloves but that doesn't help much with chipping. i guess i know what you mean. ;)

  36. hi there! :)
    thanks for stopping by and adding me to your list.
    you are on my list now as well. :)

  37. you are right :)
    i try to paint before i go to bed. of course, i need to watch out for dreaded "sheet marks" but i think it lasts when i let it set overnight. ;p

  38. heh heh i think the last one should be in the beauty bible. ;D

  39. i think it is perfectly alright. i like technician who asks me first, too. cuticles are important since you could get infections if not dealt with carefully. ;)

  40. i am using Duri base coat (mild pink color) and i like it a lot.
    Poshe fast drying base coat is very nice, too. this one is clear. :)

  41. thanks Joanne :)
    i am off to your blog to read your post.
    thanks for reflecting my 2 cents. ;)

  42. as i am getting old, i see visible difference in my skin and hair if my diet is not right. kinda sad, but i am glad there is something i can do about it. :)
    thanks for visiting and commenting!

  43. i didn't know you cook!
    i cook myself but not on daily basis and my cooking is fairly simple. :)

  44. Heel in MintFebruary 13, 2012

    Great tips!! Never really tried toothpaste on my nails but I can see why it works. :) Following your blog. Would love it if you check out my blog and leave your views :)

    Heel in Mint

  45. i just remembered toothpaste also works on tarnished silver jewlery. ;)
    thanks for adding me to your list!

  46. PinkOrchidsStephFebruary 14, 2012

    Thanks for the tips!! These are so helpful! I would add "wear your jeans before painting" fastening the button with newly painted nails is the worse!

  47. love the tips. I followed every myself when I had my nails long and they were very strong (now I keep as short as possible due to my job).
    your blog is very helpful and informational! I absolutely adore it and following from now. Check out mine if you have some extra time

    Inside and Outside Blog

  48. hahahaha you made me laugh seriously with the last part.. but i love love your practical .. indeed very true advices!!
    Happy valentine's Day hun! mmuaaahhh

  49. lol. thank you, Diane!
    happy valnetine's day to you as well. :)

  50. hi Lyosha :)
    thanks for visiting and adding me to your list. i am glad you find this helpful. ;)

  51. ah i know what you mean!
    you can easily ruin your nails even after hours if it is the jean botton!
    i'd go for leggings. ;p

  52. K makeitandfakeitFebruary 15, 2012

    OMG; i needed this so bad right now!!!!! my nails are pealing of like no tomorrow!!!

    love K

  53. Kool :) I'll give it a try :D thanks for the tip

  54. fantastic tips. i lack in the "practice" dept. lol!

  55. hmm I think I will have to start using my Seche vite top coat! it's been sitting in my cupboard but I've been too lazy to use it. thanks for sharing all the tips hon :)
    HAHA I love the last one, especially how you had to also add a picture of such an amazing looking pink/purple toilet. (seriously, where can I get one of those for myself?)

  56. LOL at the last point. Even though I know this, I do it way too often. Thanks for these tips! I've been looking into taking supplements for my hair and nails, but there's just SOOO many out there! And they all claim to do everything...

  57. Hehehe, niceee. I love nail stuffs! And I tried Seche Vite top coat. It is wayyyy too good! It really dries fast!

  58. Thanks for the tips!! haha at the last one :)

  59. lol :)
    i am so happy everyone like the last one!

  60. i know, right?
    thanks to this, i used to change my colors everyday.
    to me, waiting is harder than painting. ;p

  61. me, too!
    i know i need to take care of things before, but it is so easy to forget.
    why is it that i always want to go right after i finish painting nails? lol

    as for supplements, i think you just need to look at the ingredients and find something generally known to help but but not too potent.
    hope you find something good that works for you soon. :)

  62. yes, Izzy! put it too work! :D

    the toilet picture was a random one from the web. i was looking for a pretty one (didn't feel right just to put on regular toilet pic on this posting. lolz)
    i believe that one is custom made. heh heh

  63. practice is important although i am not particularly proud of myself for practicing this way too much! lol

  64. hi K :)
    i hope you will find good solutions for your nails soon!

  65. Diana Jones ThomoryFebruary 21, 2012

    Love the last part lol Thanks for the tip :)

  66. supplements definitely help!
    i once got a broken nail after repeated color changing without washing off acetone residue. the color of nails was terrible and overall they were so dry. i think i started to take something from that point. saw a dramatic improvement. :)


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