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07-07-10 | Posted by

Growing Strong, Healthy Nails and Getting the Manicure You Want

Photo Credit: essie.com

Whether you rock a signature red or keep your nails short, natural and buffed, your hands say so much about you.  When you’re shaking a client’s hand, caring for your child or clutching your morning latte, hands make an impression.  Neglected hands and nails can ruin the look of an otherwise put-together woman, so take care of those hands, in the salon and at home.

Cuticle Care – Whether you entrust your nails to a manicurist or DIY, never let anyone near your mitts with a cuticle clipper.  A good cuticle remover used in conjunction with an orange stick will do away with dead, flaky skin.  Keep your cuticles well moisturized. Hand cream won’t cut it, you need something much more emollient. Here at BITB we are big fans of Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream and Rosebud Salve for great, portable cuticle care.  ORLY has a spectacular line of cuticle care products including Cutique cuticle and stain remover, Cuticle Therapy Cream, and Cuticle Oil.

Hydrated Hands – Dry hands are no fun to hold, can be painful, and they look old.  There’s nothing uncannier than a woman with a flawless, unlined, dewy face whose hands look decades older.  Prevent sun damage with daily use of a hand cream with SPF.  There are good options at every price point from Boots, Neutrogena, Clarins, and Ahava.  At home a heavier hand cream like Aveda’s Hand Relief is your best defense against dry digits.  Slip on a pair of cotton gloves for maximum benefits.

Tough Nails – Take a multi-faceted approach to nail health.  You will reap the benefits of a balanced diet throughout your body, literally down to your fingertips.  Calcium is essential to nail growth and sufficient zinc intake will prevent white marks on nails.  Don’t forget a good multivitamin with vitamins A, B, C, D, and E.  When it comes to nail care, steer clear of products containing DBP, formaldehyde, and formaldehyde resin, and choose acetone-free polish remover.  Treat your top ten to nail strengtheners like ORLY Tough Cookie or OPI Nail Envy.

Perfect Polish – A good salon manicure follows a tried and true approach, and if you have the dexterity to do it yourself then you can save a small fortune; try your hand at a clear base coat, two coats of color with one stroke down the middle followed by the left and right, and a clear topcoat as needed.  Whether you do your own nails or visit the salon, get into the habit of applying a topcoat to max out your manicure.  Check out Poshe’ Topcoat and ORLY Sunscreen for Nails UV-blocking topcoat.

The Right Color – Universally flattering nail color may be a myth, unless that color is clear.  Take heart, there is a perfect shade for almost everyone, but it needs to make sense for your skin tone.  In the store or at the salon, don’t be shy about stroking a different color onto every finger until you find the one most becoming to your complexion.  Even so-called neutrals come in dozens of variations, which is why Essie has built an empire on sheers.  Lots of ladies find the perfect color by layering those pale shades.  Essie Marshmallow on top of Essie Sugar Daddy is a great combination somewhere between pink and white that looks fabulous on olive skin.  Searching for the holy grail of red polish?  True reds flatter dark skin, while orange reds are best for warm undertones and blue reds are gorgeous on cooler skin tones.  Tap into the current greige craze (that’s the mushroomy grey/beige blend that’s everywhere) with the shade that’s right for you by choosing one that’s more purple, taupe or putty colored.  The other huge color news this year comes in candy flavors; check out ORLY’s Spring 2010 Sweet Collection with colors like Gumdrop and Cotton Candy.  No time or patience to try polish in person?  Have fun with the “try it on” interface at nicolebyopi.com where you can adjust the skin tone and nail length to create your own virtual hand model.

Whatever color you choose, good grooming and regular maintenance are key.  When you take care of your skin and nails, the hands have it.

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