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How To Care For Your Nails And Keep Them Looking Well-Manicured

Your fingernails are an important part of your body as they protect your fingers from injury. It is important to take care of your nails and their cuticles, which you can do yourself on a regular basis or between visits to your esthetician. Here are some nail care tips for healthy nails and cuticles and how to create a professional-looking manicure.

Moisturize Your Cuticles and Nails

Taking care of your nails is a daily habit that, once you get into it, can keep your nails healthy looking all the time. It is important to keep your hands and nails moisturized, especially your cuticles. Whenever you apply lotion or moisturizer on your hands or facial moisture to your face, take a minute to rub some of the excess into the cuticles of your nails. Also, get into the habit of applying cuticle oil to your cuticles each morning during your morning routine.

As your hands undergo stress and become dried out from daily activities and washing your hands, the oils in your cuticles can dry out. When you cuticles are allowed to dry out, they can crack, bleed, and allow bacteria to enter into your cuticles and potentially cause an infection. Replenishing them with moisturizer is a good way to improve their health. 

Trim Them Regularly

Tearing cuticles from your nail can cause bleeding, swelling, and infection around your finger. To prevent this, keep a pair of cuticle clippers handy at home and at work or in a bag you carry with you each day, so you can take care of any potential dry cuticles that you may be tempted to tear off. A pair of cuticle clippers look similar to nail clippers except the tip of the clippers taper into a pointed end to snip at the base of a hangnail.

Everyone's nails can grow at differing rates of speed, but on average fingernails grow about 0.004 inches each day. Get into the habit of trimming your nails once a week, if you prefer to keep them short. Trim your nails straight across without clipping them too short, then trim the corners of the nail into a rounded tip. If you allow your nails to grow long, take some time once a week to file their ends smooth and remove any jagged edges that can cause them to tear off accidentally.  Also remove any dirt from under your nails to give them a clean look.

Give Yourself a Manicure

To improve the look of your nails and to help you take care of them, you can give yourself a manicure. Even if you don't have time to get a professional manicure, by following these steps and using the right tools, you can make your nails look professionally-done.

First, fill a bowl with warm water and soak your fingers in the water for a few minutes. This softens the cuticles and your nails, making them softer, less brittle, and easier to trim. Dry your fingers off and use the end of an orange wood stick or wood cuticle pusher and gently push back any cuticles that have grown over your nail. It is not recommended by professionals to cut and remove your cuticles, as this can cause bleeding and lead to infection. The only cuticle you should cut from your finger is one that has become a hangnail.

Use a buffing board to smooth any bumps and ridges from your fingernails. This also creates a more smooth nail surface and allows the nail polish to dry smoothly. Soak a cotton ball in some rubbing alcohol and use this to wipe down the surface of your nails. This step is important as it removes any oils, dirt, and debris that can prevent the polish from adhering on your nails.

Begin by coating your nails in a clear base coat, which helps your manicure last longer and protects your nails from becoming discolored from the polish. Apply two coats of your choice of polish, painting first down the middle of the nail, then on either side of the middle strip to create a smooth look. Last, apply a fast-drying clear top coat to give added shine and help the manicure last longer. 

Use these tips to help keep your nails healthy and looking nice. If you have a knack for nail care, consider entering an esthetician program to become certified.

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