Nail care is multi-faceted. It not only incorporates the health and care of your nails, but the many cosmetic processes for ensuring they are in tip-top shape. What’s more, many people think of only fingernails when they think ‘nail care,’ but it also refers to your toenails.
These are often neglected because you wear them under socks and shoes, but they are equally as important – if not more so. If you are interested in learning more about nail care, what you can do to benefit your nails and what you can do to get involved in it, read on.
What is Nail Care?
Nail care involves the maintenance and care of your toenails and fingernails. You look after your nails not only for their health but so you can carry out cosmetic processes as well. By looking after your nails and utilizing premium products such as a nail extension kit, electric nail drill, and a double-sided nail file, you can prevent fungus infections and other infections – while keeping them in far better condition and health.
Nail care is also about more than cosmetics. It involves keeping your nails short and trimmed as well as clean. You can promote nail care by changing your socks daily, wearing swimming shoes while at the pool, and wearing jandals in public facilities where infection risks are higher. It’s also helpful not to bite or pick at your nails and cuticles and avoiding tight shoes. Once you abide by these rules for nail care, you can then consider cosmetic practices to have them looking and feeling beautiful.
What Items Do You Need to Take Care of Your Nails at Home?
If you pride yourself on having clean and beautiful nails, then you will no doubt own some of the following products. If not, however, then it might be time to get them. Nail polish, a nail dryer, nail extension kit, nail polish organizer, electric nail drill, double-sided nail file, nail polish remover, and a toe separator are all essential products and tools in the role of nail care. Whether you like to dabble in nail art at home or in a salon environment, you can’t do so without them. Here’s all you need to know about each.
Nail polish is a lacquer you can apply to both your fingernails and toenails. Also known as nail varnish, it comes in many colors and varieties to ensure you can get the look you’re after. Over time, manufacturers have played with the formula. While gloss used to be the only option, you can now get base coats, top coats, clear coats, and even different decorative effects such as matte, gloss, sparkle, shine, cracking and flaking.
Nail polish is not a new piece of technology. Instead, its use dates back to at least 3000 BC in China. The royal house during the Zhou Dynasty used gold and silver nail polish to represent class and royalty. However, in later years, red and black became more popular.
Then, years later during the Ming Dynasty, people would use mixtures of gum Arabic, gelatin, egg whites, and beeswax to create the varnish, with vegetable dyes to give it color. Color, however, didn’t make its real introduction to society until the 1920s with the use of lavender oil, oxide tin, and similar substances.
A nail dryer is a necessary product for any home nail care expert or salon. Instead of flapping your hands around in the air hoping for a perfect finish, you can use a nail dryer to complete the job in half the time. What’s more, a nail dryer is necessary for gel nails to set and harden.
If you don’t use one, and you instead choose to wait and play the long game, many things can happen. Your nails can smudge, chip, and smear, all because they are not hard enough yet to handle the outside elements just yet.
A nail dryer can dry nails in anywhere from 30 seconds to 15 minutes, depending on how many coats of nail varnish you apply and the machine wattage. They use an intake system to draw air into the unit before blowing it out onto your hands and feet. Some also use LED lamps or UV rays to harden, set, and dry your nails as well.
There are also different nail dryers for various applications. For example, you can buy warm-air dryers for acrylic nails, or UV dryers for an exceptional salon finish every time.
Nail Extension Kit
Are you unhappy with the length of your nails but can’t seem to grow them longer? That’s what a nail extension kit is for. Whether you’re doing it for yourself or a customer, you will find such a set is beneficial for the health and beauty of your nails. Nail extensions add an artificial tip to either acrylic or natural nail to add length. You then cover them in acrylic, gel, or a fiberglass finish to look natural.
Nail Polish Organizer
As most nail polish enthusiasts will be aware, it can be quite a messy undertaking! It can spill everywhere, creating a permanent mess you will not be able to fix. You can avoid the mess altogether by purchasing a nail polish organizer. Whether you collect nail polishes for fun or you use them all the time, you will find a nail polish organizer is a welcome addition.
There are many options from which to choose. If you travel a lot and don’t trust a fabric makeup bag to house your varnishes, then a portable plastic or acrylic nail polish organizer could be a good option for you. These are often double-sided with dividers you can adjust to fit your bottles and tools of the trade.
Alternatively, you can buy more permanent options that sit on your bathroom vanity or dresser or even hang on your wall. Vanity organizers tend to feature two or more tiers. Tiers enable you to reach for polishes you want to use without interrupting the others. Most also feature transparent acrylic material so you can see the labeling and color before you go ahead and grab it.
Wall nail polish organizers double as a storage facility and a piece of home décor. They often feature wire and are suitable for tens of bottles of polish or even essential oils. The price tags for these can vary, but they tend to be around the same price as plastic options.
Electric Nail Drill
While you wouldn’t use an electric nail drill when you are just learning how to use nail polish, you would if you were an expert. And, once you start using one, you will wonder how you ever survived without one! An electric nail drill helps you to remove nail imperfections. You can add different heads to sharpen, polish, cut, and scrape – all for that beautiful finish you always wanted. There are also various options on the market to suit different people. You can opt for ones that plug into wall sockets, USB-rechargeable tools, or ones that run on single-use batteries.
An electric nail drill is not the most comfortable tool to master, but there is a knack to its use. You need to apply light pressure and keep your hand steady. Once you feel confident with your grip, you can push down a little harder to file down any ripples, remove polish, and even take care of calluses. The best way to use an electric nail drill is on a low speed which helps to remove cuticles, repair acrylic nails, and creative concave shapes.
One thing you need to be aware of, however, is that an electric nail drill can get mighty hot. Even if you buy the best on the market, the continuous rotation of the head can heat the handle to the point of you not being able to hold it. Always look out for one that comes with an automatic shut-off function to protect the motor, as well as a silicone hand grip to stop it from burning your hands as it works!
Double-Sided Nail File
Whether you work on your nails or someone else’s as a nail technician, you will be all too familiar with the double-sided nail file. If you don’t have a drill or you need to take care of nail snags and minor imperfections, a double-sided nail file can help. They can buff and shape your nails quickly and carefully, all while retaining the integrity and quality of your nail. They also come in many shapes and sizes to suit all manner of people.
Nail Polish Remover
What goes on must come off, but with nail polish, it’s not all that easy. Unless you allow days, weeks, or months, for it to flake off naturally, you need to come up with a way to move it quickly. That’s where nail polish remover comes in. Nail polish remover includes oils, coloring, and scents, and is classed as an organic solvent. It usually comes with cotton buds or felt pads, but you can also buy it on its own at a drug store or grocery store – or even your local salon. There are also several options.
You can buy a regular acetone nail polish remover. This is the most popular, but it can come with a strong odor while being harsh on your nails and skin. However, it’s sufficient for the quick removal of nail polish, acrylic nails, and cured gel nails. What can often take hours to put on can come off in an instant with acetone nail polish remover.
If you don’t like how harsh acetone can be, then you can opt for the less harsh alternative known as ethyl acetate. Ethyl acetate contains isopropyl alcohol and is a solvent that can take care of polish with ease.
Many years ago, some home users and salon technicians would use acetonitrile as a nail polish remover as well. However, there are some concerns regarding its toxicity and potential for it to be carcinogenic. As a result, it was banned for use in the European Economic Area and was discouraged in the salon sector.
A toe separator has many roles in the field of nail care. Firstly, it’s an exceptional item if you have problems with infections and breathability in your shoes. Often, you can buy silicone toe separators to solve this problem. However, they are also useful when you are painting your toenails and don’t want them to touch each other. They assist you in a tidy pedicure while also often being disposable for hygiene reasons.
Nail Care Tips
It’s all well and good to go out and buy nail polish, nail polish remover, and all manner of accessories to begin painting your nails, but what if you don’t lay the groundwork? Your nails won’t look healthy if they aren’t healthy. Therefore, it’s in your best interests to do the following. You can then go out and buy your toe separators, double-sided nail files, nail dryers, drills, and all those necessary nail accessories!
1. Be Aware of Infections
Whenever you use a shower in your hotel or motel room, a public swimming pool, or you walk around barefoot in a densely populated area, think about who has walked there before. Do you think that everyone who has stood where you walked thought about appropriate foot care and nail care? Unlikely. Infection is closer than you think in public areas.
Wear sandals in public washing facilities – including camping grounds, motels, and hotels. What’s more, avoid going barefoot anywhere with water – such as a public swimming pool or changing room. Imagine trying to use nail polish or nail polish remover on a heavily infected foot?
2. Don’t Forget to Moisturize
You are sure to moisturize your skin when it gets dry, but what about your nails? Businesses sell cuticle cream for a reason! If you don’t moisturize your nails, they are far more likely to break than if you didn’t. What’s more, dehydrated nails are rigid and can snap and split. Carry travel moisturizer, cuticle cream, or cuticle oil with you in your handbag. You will be surprised at the difference after using it for some time.
3. Don’t Pick Off Polish
Tired of your nail polish? Don’t have any nail polish remover lying around? Forgot to use a toe separator and don’t have a double-sided nail file or electric nail drill lying around? Then leave your nails alone and let the polish fall off naturally. The worst thing you can do for your nails is pick off your gel polish. Your nail under that layer of polish is far weaker than before you applied it. Therefore, it’s prone to more damage. Take care and remove it by soaking it with a special at-home kit or at a professional salon.
4. Pack in the Nutrients
Before you go and apply new nail polish or cut away cuticles with an electric nail drill or similar, spare a thought for your nail health. Did you know that if your nails don’t look healthy, your body isn’t all that healthy either? Your nails reflect your health. Eat more kale and include more multi-vitamins and Omega-3 fatty acids into your diet.
5. Glove Up
How often do you find yourself doing the dishes without gloves or doing random household chores without hand protection? Think about how often you use your hands; it would surprise you! For any household tasks that can impact your hands, skin, and nails, wear task-appropriate gloves. Doing so can make nail polish application and using nail care tools far more natural and safer for your nails.
Benefits of Using Nail Polish
You might think that nail polish application is more of a hobby and a feel-good factor, but there is more to nail care and nail polish than meets the eye. Here are a few of the many benefits below.
It’s a Fun Pastime
If you don’t have a hobby or you need something to help relax you, then nail polish application is it. You can have so much fun buying and trying new colors, learning new nail art techniques, and even purchasing all the tools to help you create a professional salon finish. Alongside purchasing nail polish, you need nail polish remover, a toe separator, double-sided nail file, nail polish organizer, nail extension kit, and more. The sky’s the limit!
Have you had a stressful day at work? There is nothing more relaxing than sitting down, reaching for a bottle of nail polish out of your nail polish organizer, then settling in for a new coat of varnish. You can spend time perfecting each brush stroke while opting for a different color for each nail. It’s refreshing for body and soul while offering a new sense of self-esteem as you create a new look for yourself.
Improves the Health of Your Nails
It’s amazing how often we use our hands but don’t pay attention to their health. They could look terrible, and you wouldn’t even know! Nail polish and the application of it can improve the health of your nails. Many nail polishes and nail polish removers on the market now feature natural components, vitamins, and minerals. All work wonders for your nail care. What’s more, when you apply nail polish, you are having to focus on shaping, cutting cuticles, and preparing your nails, so they’re in premium condition. If you didn’t do this, your nails would continue to fall into a state if disrepair.
Leaves a Good Impression
If you work in customer service or an important role where handshaking is prevalent, then well-manicured nails can leave a good impression. It leaves the recipient of the shake thinking you take care of yourself, are professional, and like perfection. Of course, “fun” colors are not appropriate for a business environment, but more gentle tones are. However, it’s important to make sure you maintain them well to uphold that professional image.
What Food Can You Eat to Benefit Your Nail Health?
You could have the best electric nail drill, double-sided nail file, nail polish, and nail dryer, but if you don’t have the best nails, you can’t expect the best finish. Food counts for so much. And, as previously mentioned, your nails reflect your overall health. If your nails are brittle, they bleed, they’re thin, separate from the skin, grow slowly or swell up, then your nails are not healthy. Include these nutrients in your diet to improve your nail health so you can start your nail care on the right foot.
If you don’t include enough zinc in your diet, then your nail health can suffer. Even the best quality nail polish is not enough to hide it either. A lack of zinc can cause nail growth to slow down while also causing abnormal discoloration. You can get plenty of zinc by eating pumpkin seeds, spinach, soybeans, and cashew nuts.
2. Vitamin A
Tired of weak nails that break every time you attempt to shape them with an electric nail drill or double-sided nail file? A lack of Vitamin A could be to blame. Vitamin A can help to strengthen your nails (bones, tissue, and teeth, too!) Eat more eggs, citrus fruits, and spinach, and drink more milk.
Biotin, or more commonly known as Vitamin H, helps your nails to grow stronger, longer, and quicker. Your body also uses it to metabolize fat and protect your hair and skin. You can find it in milk, raspberries, cucumber, lettuce, and even your morning oats!
4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are responsible for keeping your body’s keratinocytes healthy. Include chia seeds, eggs, fish, and even Omega-3 supplements in your diet.
A lack of protein can make your nails weak and brittle. Include soy, dairy, eggs, meat, and fish in your diet to make sure you get enough for the health of your nails (and body!).
You might think that applying nail polish can make your nails feel and look great, but are they healthy? As previously mentioned, nail care is multi-faceted. Take care of your nail health and your nail polish will take care of the rest.