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Looking after your nails

Published by cheree
Published on 2 November 2007

Strong nails make for stunning hands. Here are some simple steps to take to ensure your mitts are nothing short of marvellous!

Nail beauty
Check out the essentials for obtaining perfect nails:
- Get rid of all traces of nail varnish by using acetone-free remover.
- Rinse each hand immediately so that the remover doesn’t remain in contact with your nails for too long, as this tends to dry them out.
- Soak your hands in warm, soapy water for a few minutes.
- Remove dead skin from around the nails.
- Once your hands are dry, bathe them in warm olive oil to nourish and strengthen the nails’ keratin.
- Next run a nail buffer over your nails to remove ridges and make your nails shine.
- To file your nails, start from the outside and work towards the centre, always in the same direction to avoid splits. Avoid metal nail files which weaken nails.
- Apply a moisturiser, delicately massaging your hands and nails.
- If you’re applying coloured nail varnish, apply a protective base coat before so that you don’t stain your nails.

Nails of steel
For hands you can show off with pride, daily care is required to strengthen, maintain and protect them...
- Strengthening
If your nails are brittle or flaky, avoid growing them too long. Cut them square and quite short. Massage them every night with a special cream for nails, or with a bit of olive oil to prevent them from splitting.
A deficiency in your diet could be affecting the health of your nails. To counter this, get hold of some brewer’s yeast (available as tablets) and also eat soya, seafood and fish.

- Maintaining
You need to look after your cuticles regularly to keep your nails healthy. These little bits of skin that protect the base of the nail get torn easily. After you’ve massaged your nails with special cream, gently push back your cuticles with a cotton bud, cuticle or 'orange' stick.

- Protecting
In order to protect your nails, use products that are specifically designed to treat them:
> care for brittle nails with fortifying and hardening care products;
> look after nails that have broken with a strengthening care product;
> use nourishing varnish on dry nails.

Choosing a varnish
The final step, applying varnish, is optional. It can be purely aesthetic, but it can also be used to solve little problems such as hardness or splitting, for example! There are varnishes available that harden keratin and prevent nails from breaking.

Advice
- Don’t bite your nails. If you can't stop, use a special varnish with a bitter taste.
- Wash your hands in cold water.
- Avoid cutting your nails - it’s better to file them.
- Don’t use quick-drying varnish too often as it weakens nails.
- Always apply a protective base coat underneath coloured varnish.

And also…
- Wear gloves for washing up or gardening.
- Use hand cream, which also protects your nails.

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