Shape Up (Your Nails) for Summer

Square, rounded, short or long, getting your nails to your ideal shape and length can seem like something better left to your manicurist. However, with the right tools and knowledge, you can shape your own nails to keep them looking in tip-top shape when you don’t have time to get to the salon. If you’re preparing for warmer weather by giving yourself a fresh new manicure, here are the steps that you will need to take to shape up your nails, no workout required!

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Prepare the Nail

Before even beginning the shaping process, remove your nail polish thoroughly. Don’t be afraid to use q-tips or an implement with nail polish remover to get rid of every last trace of a previous manicure. Once the polish is fully removed, take one last swipe over the nails with a cotton pad and a non-acetone nail polish remover. Now, you’re ready to begin the shaping process.

Use a Nail Clipper

If you want to take down the length of your nail, opt for a nail clipper over a nail file to start. Using a nail clipper will reduce stress to the nail and save time. Regardless of the nail shape you’re striving for, the method remains the same: clip nails starting from the sides. Clip the left side, right side, and lastly, the center.

File the Nail

To clean up the clipped nail and further smooth the nail properly, use a nail file with a fine grit for a natural finish. My philosophy on the nail file is to file in one direction, starting from the side and moving to the center. Avoid using a “back and forth” motion as this can make your nails prone to splitting.

Break Out the Buffing Block

Once the nails are all filed, glaze over your work with a light grade buffing block. The use of a buffing block with a very fine grit is critical to avoid roughing up the nail rather than smoothing it. Gently go over the nails with the block until they appear to have a buffed look. Be careful not to over-do this step. Finally, I like to take the buffing block over the edge of each nail with a very light touch. This step is to finalize the smoothing process. Using a buffing block periodically over nails when shaping is great to freshen up the surface of the nail to create a clean and smooth base.

Soak and Freshen

Once nails are shaped up, follow up with a moisturizing or freshening spray as a final touch and use a nail brush to complete the step. A favorite option is the rosewater facial spray by Mario Badescu. This will remove any remaining debris from filing and buffing. Run your fingers over your nails to double check there are no rough edges. If so, lightly clean up with a nail file or light grade buffing block. There should be no more need for clipping.

By following these steps, you can get your nails in perfect shape to show them off with a natural buffed look or polish with your color of choice. Always good to keep in shape!

5 Best Nail Care Tips For Healthy, Beautiful Nails

Nail care is often overlooked as part of the everyday beauty routine, but proper nail care is essential. Hangnails, dirty nails, or chipping manicures can distract from even the most put-together look. Keeping your nails clean and maintained not only has your hands look great, but also promotes strong and healthy nails. Here are my top 5 practices to always keep your nails looking like you just walked out of the salon. 

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1. Keep Hands and Nails Clean and Tidy

Clean hands are essential to maintaining a healthy aesthetic. To keep hands looking fresh and tidy, use a nail brush to clean under the nails and use a mild soap that won’t irritate the skin. Always use an emollient hand moisturizer and/or a favorite oil, balm or serum to sooth and rejuvenate the skin and keep it looking youthful and fresh. Keep nails at a nice length (of choice) and well clipped, shaped and manicured. Should your polish begin to chip, it is time for another manicure! 

2. Take Care of Your Tools

Keeping your tools clean is equally as important as keeping your hands clean because cleaning your hands with the wrong tools or unsanitary tools can be dangerous. Keep implements sharpened and clean by using a stainless-steel cleaner or implement sanitizer. One of my favorites is Let’s Touch; I lightly soak implements in the solution to keep them sanitary and fresh. Glazing over implements with 99% alcohol is a good idea as well. When you’re not using them, keep implements in their own sanitized (clean) case. As an extra precaution, it is a smart idea to bring your implements with you when you go to a salon for a manicure/pedicure to ensure sanitation.

3. Use a Base Coat and Top Coat

It’s always great to use a basecoat to protect your nails before lacquer application. Base coats and top coats can serve multi purposes. Find ones that suite your needs, whether it be to strengthen, nourish and protect or one that contains UV, non-yellowing, quick dry elements to ensure you are getting what you need from your products of choice. Top coat is absolutely necessary to seal in your manicure and to protect nails for a longer lasting, clean look! 

4. Avoid Cutting Your Cuticles 

With the use of a sharpened cuticle pusher, one can carefully and gently push back cuticles, making it unnecessary to ever "have to" cut your cuticles. When pushing back your cuticles, use clean implements that are well kept. Clipping your cuticles can cause inflammation, infection, and bleeding. Taking a ‘skilled’ approach to cuticles will pay off in the long run and your nails and cuticles with thank you!

5. Give Your Nails a Breather

I like to let my nails go bare in the summer months to let my nails and skin absorb that vitamin D! Let the nails breath by using no base, top coat or lacquer for a few weeks to let them breathe freely. Opt for a natural look perfect for the beach – ask for your nails to be buffed rather than painted when you go for your manicure or pedicure. The winter season could also be a time to let your nails breathe if you prefer keeping your nails “under wraps” while taking a break!