Like your shoes, your nails can tell a great deal about you. It can reveal much about your priorities in life, the job you do, the state of your health, your mental state. For example, nails that are chipped and dry can be a reflection of time spent working with hands as would be the case with a busy mom or a maid. Chipped nail paint may mean that while you are generally a meticulous person, you have perhaps been too busy lately to take care of your nails. Nails that have obviously been bitten tell you that the person may be anxious or nervous in nature.
So what do your nails say about you? If you look at your hands and do not like what you see, then it’s time you get yourself a nail care routine that reflects a confident, competent personality.
Why Bother with a Nail Care Routine?
Yes, all gals (and indeed even many guys today) love to show off well-maintained hands. But if you are one of those folks who can’t be bothered with a nail care routine, you are not alone. Plenty of people will take the least possible care of their nails, only paying attention to them when they need cutting. That’s OK. But you may be missing out on a lot simply because you do not follow a nail care routine to keep your nails in good shape. So let’s take a look at some of the advantages of a good nail care routine.
Make an Impact With Great-Looking Nails
A nail care routine will get you posh-looking nails which will immediately up your glam quotient and make you seem more style-savvy even if you actually aren’t. You may think that no one notices your nails because they are too small for anyone to realize what state they are in. The truth is that the success of any outfit or even the general outward impression that you make relies heavily on exactly such tiny details as how neat and well-maintained your nails are.
Plus, people are more observant than you think. Especially on the professional front. Walk into a business meeting and you can bet that you will be facing trained management professionals who are checking you out from head to toe to see what your appearance can tell them about you. Look at your nails right now and be honest – would they be inspired by what they see? It’s the same with people you meet every day. The world runs on appearances, and you have to make sure you are up to the mark if you want to stay in the game.
A nail care routine will get your nails looking better than ever, which means that you can expect better things from your life overall. It’s no coincidence that the successful people of the world are always meticulously groomed. They know the power of outward appearances. Didn’t think nail care could do that, did you? Think again.
Get Better Health
As we mentioned earlier, your nails convey a lot about the kind of person you are. But here’s another thing your nails can reveal – the state of your health. If you have unhealthy nails it is a direct reflection of the health of your body. This is not always true, but you can be sure that someone who is in bad health will not have the best nails. We’ll discuss later how a nail care routine must include changes to your diet and lifestyle as well. So in effect, your nail care routine will actually be contributing to a healthier you!
Feel Better About Yourself
Every woman knows this, all the multinational shopping giants make their bread and butter from this fact and management consultants learn about this in the first semester of their courses – treating yourself even in small ways can greatly boost your self-esteem, even if it is only temporary. A simple purchase like a new lipstick can keep you in high spirits for days. When you take the time to take care of yourself – even if it is something as small as your nails – you get a boost of confidence and feel better about yourself which means that you are will be happier, more productive and make better decisions.
And here is another way in which it can help you. When you make a small change in your appearance, it is very likely that you will want to improve other aspects of your outward persona as well and eventually this can lead to you wanting to make changes in much bigger parts of your life. For example, your may love your nails after your nail care routine and decide you feel like getting a new haircut. Then you feel great about the awesome new hairstyle and want to jazz up your wardrobe to complement it. Dressing better makes you feel better about yourself. Other people will sense your confidence and you may find that your interactions on a personal and professional level become more positive. Think this is too much for a humble nail care routine to achieve? Why not give it a try yourself and see how little things can make a difference.
So without any further ado, let’s get right down to what a nail care routine should include. This is just a general outline of a nail care routine. You may find that you prefer to eliminate some steps or to add some which we may not have been privy to.
If you have never taken the trouble to take care of your nails, then a nail care routine can seem like a mammoth task. You might wonder where you will even find the time to incorporate all the steps listed in this nail care routine guide.
Relax and take a deep breath. It may seem very long, but this is a very simple nail care routine to implement. The first time you start on this nail care routine, make sure you have some time on your hands to teach yourself the correct manner in which to do each step. This way, the next time will be easier and the time after that easier still. At some point down the line, you will not even refer to it as your nail care routine as it will become such an integral part of your grooming routine that you won’t even notice you’re doing it.
There are three parts to a good nail care routine. The first is the actual taking care of your nails, the second involves eating for healthier nails, and the third is exercising to maintain your health so that your nails look great.
What You Will Need
Let’s get our nail care routine tools together first. Here’s what you’ll need.
- Nail clippers
- Nail Brush
- Nail polish (optional)
- Nail polish remover (optional)
You can buy these items individually or you can buy a home manicure kit which has all these tools together in a convenient little bag. The quality will determine which option turns out cheaper. When it comes to beauty products though, it is always better to invest well and use the good quality stuff.
Begin by removing nail polish with an acetone-free nail polish remover. Acetone will dry out your nails and make them brittle, thus making them more prone to breakage. Soak a cotton ball in nail polish remover. Press down against nail for a few seconds. This allows the active ingredients in the nail polish remover to loosen the nail polish and makes it easier to remove the coats. Rub from base to tip until all nail polish is removed.
Shape Your Nails
The next step is to shape your nails. If your nails are too long and need a little cutting, reduce their size with the help of a nail clipper. You can also use the nail clipper to trim edges that have grown out of shape.
Now it’s time to refine the shape of your nails with a file. Shape the outer edges first and then move into the middle. The nail shapes that are trendy change with every season. But you may want to find a nail shape that suits you and which will thus look great no matter how much nail shape fashions change.
Remember that your hands and nails should be completely dry when you are putting them through this step. Avoid filing nails immediately after your bath or you risk damaging your nails.
The next step in your nail care routine is to clean your nails. This is not always easy as dirt tends to get stuck under your nails and it refuses to get out.
Soak your hands in warm soapy water for three to five minutes. This will aid in dislodging the dirt. Now use the nail brush to gently rub under and over the nails to remove all dirt. Wash hands in clean water. Pat hands dry.
Take Care of your Cuticles
If your cuticles are long and unsightly, you can push them back with a wooden stick – never use a metal tool.
Do NOT cut your cuticles. This is the worst thing you can do. Many nail care guides will tell you to do just that, but cutting your cuticles will ruin the nail bed thus making it harder for your nails to grown long and strong. So keep those clippers away from your precious cuticles.
You need to take good care of your cuticles. The cuticles are to the nails what the follicles are to your hair. If follicles are weak, your hair doesn’t grow properly. In the same way, if the cuticles are not sufficiently hydrated and maintained, your nails will soon tell the tale. Use a cuticle butter a couple of times a day or leave it on when you go to bed at night. Or you can just massage your nails and fingertips with some warm oil – preferably almond or vitamin E oil. Wipe dry to remove all traces of greasiness.
Apply a coat of nail polish to brighten up your hands. After the first coat dries, apply another one. Many brands of nail polish today come with inbuilt hydrating treatments which protect your nails from damage. These are a little on the steeper side but worth every penny.
If you do not want a color on your nails, apply a base coat. This is a transparent coat of nourishing nail paint with a glossy finish which will keep your nails looking gorgeous.
Take Care of Your Hands
This may seem pretty obvious, but we’ll briefly look at it anyway. The condition of your hands will contribute greatly to the results of your nail care routine. There’s no point having picture perfect nails if the back of your hands are dried, dull and callused. It is thus just as important that you look after your hands as it is that you look after your nails. Here are some simple ways in which you can take care of your hands on a day to day basis.
- Do not wash your hands in very hot water. This will strip your skin of all-important moisture and cause the skin on your hands to get dry, scaly and hard.
- If your hands are going to be exposed to water for prolonged periods of time, ensure that you wear gloves. For example, when you are doing the dishes or cleaning the bathroom or floor. Also wear gloves when gardening.
- Cleaning products contain many harmful chemicals that greatly damage skin. This makes it doubly important not just to wear gloves when coming in contact with cleaning products but also to look for safer alternatives.
- Several personal hygiene products like shampoo, face wash, soap etc contain sodium lauryl sulfate – a harsh cleaning agent which should be avoided at all costs because of the irreversible negative effects it has on your skin. Read labels carefully before buying.
- Apply a repairing hand lotion before you go to bed. Wear gloves to lock the moisture in. You will notice that your hands are softer when you do this. And your nails will look glorious against softer skin.
Foods For Healthy Nails
You may have noticed for yourself how eating a lot of junk food can make you break out or can rob your skin of a healthy glow. Post-new year’s eve skin blues, anyone? Your diet is one of the most important factors that affects your health and thus the appearance of your skin, hair and nails. So if you are serious about getting into an effective nail care routine, you cannot ignore your diet and exercise. Here are some nail-healthy foods that should make a part of your diet on a regular basis, not just when you want to detox after a guilty binge.
- Fruits and vegetables top the list of foods that are essential to any nail care routine.
- Nuts and seeds contain essential fats that your skin, hair and nails desperately need to remain healthy. If you shun fats because you think they are going to make you put on weight, you are doing your body a great disservice. All your organs need good fats to thrive. Think of a time when you went on a crash diet. You may have noticed that your skin lost its glow or that your hair wasn’t as soft to the touch. It is important that your nail care routine include healthy fats otherwise all your nail care routine efforts will be for nothing.
- Fish, soy and whole grains contain naturally high levels of sulphur and silicon, both of which help your nails to grow stronger and healthier.
- It is very important to sufficiently hydrate your body as part of your nail care routine. So make sure that you have plenty of fluids, mainly water.
- Carrot juice in particular is considered awesome for healthier skin and nails because it is high in phosphorous as well as calcium, both very essential nutrients for your hair.
It doesn’t matter what you do to exercise as long as you are physically active. Exercise will ensure that you are in better health overall. It improves blood circulation, aids digestion, boosts your immune system as well as your metabolism, helps you sleep better – and these are just a few of the benefits of exercise. These very same benefits though will make you a healthier person and your nails will reflect that vibrancy. They will be shinier and stronger. So don’t underestimate the power of exercise in your nail care routine. In fact, without a healthy body, all you are doing with a nail care routine or any beauty regime is masking the ravages of ill health.
A nail care routine is relaxing. It is time you get to spend alone or maybe with your girlfriends if you want to have some fun. So get into a good nail care routine today to reap the numerous benefits of looking great and feeling better.