Our hands are often one of the first signs of ageing and get put through all sorts of tasks on a daily basis which can cause them to become dry and damaged. We have put together a 10 step guide for you to achieve fabulous, healthy hands and nails from the comfort of your own home. This guide covers all aspects of nail care from start to finish and will enable you to achieve salon quality nails, without the trip or added expense.
Step 1 – Remove nail polish using a polish remover
Acetone VS Non-Acetone
Acetone is a solvent which removes polish more easily, however it is drying for the skin and nails and can remove your skin’s natural oils. Non-Acetone removers can be better for the skin, but will often use a replacement solvent or solvent type substance, which can still possibly dry the skin. It is also harder to get the polish off, especially for dark colours. One polish which you could try which claims to be “all natural” is the soy based Priti NYC Nail Polish Remover, which can be purchased online (please see the link below the article).
Step 2 – Soak fingers in warm water with some Gentle Cleanser
Use a small bowl, deep enough to rest your fingers in, and half fill with warm water and 2 pumps of Stratum C Gentle Cleanser, which contains Seaweed Extract and Rose Hip Seed Oil, packed with anti-oxidants and vitamins to be kind to skin. This will clean any excess polish remover and will soften the cuticles, whilst also being nice and relaxing.
Step 3 – Use wet face cloth to push back cuticles
We all know how important it is to look after the skin around our nails, especially during winter. A great tip for “pushing back the cuticles” is to use a flannel face cloth to gently push them back using your finger, which prevents the skin from being damaged or split in the process. Do not cut your cuticles! This can cause infection, nail ridges and can harden the skin, therefore it is best to try and remember to regularly push the skin down gently instead and regularly moisturise them.
Step 4 – Apply oil to cuticles
There are many specific cuticle oils you can buy that help to condition this area and lock in moisture to this sensitive part of the skin. A good tip is to buy a bottle of “carrier oil” from your beauty store or health food shop which contains Vitamin E, such as Jojoba, Rose Hip Seed or Almond Oil. These oils can be used to condition the hair, skin and cuticles and so if you buy one bottle of carrier oil, you can use it generally for other things such as a few drops in the bath for moisturising skin, or as a one off hair conditioning treatment. You will only need a small drop per nail to condition the cuticles and leave to soak in.
Step 5 – File nails into rounded or square tip
The best file to use for this is a glass or crystal nail file. The reason for this is that it helps to seal the keratin layers together at the tip of the nail, which in turn prevents breakages and damage to the nails. A crystal file can also be sterilized and will last over if year if taken care of, so worth the investment. Cheaper emery boards can damage the nails. When filing, the best way to do this is to file the sides first, and always file in one direction (upwards) to gain the shape you want, and then file in one direction across the tip. Keeping a straight edge at the tip can reduce the level of damage to the nail as the more you file, rounded shapes for example, the more likely it is that you will develop issues with the nail such as breakages and ridges. If you do like to paint your nails, use a polish with a wider, flat shaped brush for better application and smoother coverage.
Step 6 – Wash hands to get rid of excess skin
Wash your hands to get rid of excess nail material and any residual dry skin on the hands.
Use Stratum C Complete 4 Total Hand and Nail Care Cream and massage into the hands and nails. This cream contains peptides for boosting collagen production naturally, an enzyme inhibitor which helps to reduce and prevent age spots, a sun protection factor to protect the skin from further sun damage and Keratin Amino Acids to strengthen nails and the epidermis (top layer of skin). Massaging for a few minutes will improve circulation and help draw the natural oils to the surface as well as ensure that the cream gets to all the areas necessary. Stratum C Complete 4 avoids the use of Oxybenzone and parabens and uses gentle ingredients for sun protection, and a nourishing Shea butter base which leaves a sheen on the surface and is naturally scented.
Step 8 – Buff your nails
Using a smooth nail buffer helps to improve circulation to the nails and makes them naturally shiny by drawing natural oils to the surface. This is much healthier than applying nail polish, which if worn regularly can suffocate the nails and cause them to weaken. If you do choose to wear nail polish, a good tip is to apply a thin layer of clear nail varnish first to prevent colours from staining the nails. You should also watch out for some ingredients such as Formaldehyde, Resin, Dibutyl Phthalate and Toluene which are known to be toxins and can be harmful to the body. When you want to dress them up for a special occaision, there are lots of nail polishes out there that are free from harmful ingredients.
Eat right for healthy nails
There are certain foods which can increase the strength and good condition of your nails, and we have listed a few below:
- Omega rich foods such as oily fish (mackerel, salmon, trout & sardines)
- Protein and Iron rich foods such as lean meats and low fat dairy products like cottage cheese, eggs, lentils and beans
- Vitamins C and E – Vitamin C improves the absorption of Iron, and Vitamin E naturally helps to improve skin, hair and nail condition and health.
- Avocado – filled will healthy fats and nutrients that will improve nail strength and condition. They are also a good source of biotin (a form of Vitamin B) which contributes to skin and nail health.
- Zinc – its is often thought that white spots are caused by poor calcium levels when they can actually arise from poor intake of Zinc. Zinc can be found in poultry, seafood, eggs, cheese, nuts and seeds.
- Stay well hydrated by drinking an average of 2 litres of water per day, or 6 to 8 glasses. This will improve your body’s general functions such as digestion, and will greatly improve the appearance of your skin and nails against dryness.
Voila! Beautiful hands. Now that you know what is best for your hands and nails, you can relax at home and create healthy nails your way, saving money and choosing the best hand and nail care for you. Stratum C Complete 4 Total Hand Care is available from www.stratumc.com at £22 and you can find more information on how to care for the skin during menopause.