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Get AIM!

April 2000


by Gabby

Get Nailed!
Spring is here and it's time to take the gloves off!

You don't have to make weekly trips to a manicurist to have great looking nails. You can get started on the road to healthy, beautiful nails right at home.

A large part of taking care of your nails properly is having the right products and tools at your fingertips, literally. Here are some of the basic products you should keep your nail kit:

Cotton balls
Nail polish remover
A nail file (not too coarse)
An orange stick
A nail brush
Cuticle cream
Hand cream
A base coat
Nail polish
A top coat

Now that you have all your arsenal of nail products handy, treat your nails to a mini spa. It's easier than it sounds.

1.Clean - First step is to clean your nails thoroughly. Remove all traces of nail polish on your nails and soak hands in a bowl of lukewarm water to soften the cuticle. Use a softly bristled nailbrush to clean any dirt from underneath the nails. Next, push back your cuticles. Wrap the tip of an orange stick with cotton. Moisten the tip slightly so the cotton adheres better, but don't use nail polish remover because it'll dry out your cuticles, and gently push cuticles back toward the nail bed. Unless you have a hangnail, don't attempt to cut your cuticles. If you do, make sure your hands are damp since cutting dry skin can lead to infections.

2. File - Now it's time to shape your nails. File in one direction only (a back and forth action can lead to tears). Don't file deep into corners of the nail bed since this weakens the nail.

3. Moisturize - At this point, be generous with cuticle and hand cream. Good choices are products with alpha hydroxy acids which help keep cuticles in check and diminish fine lines and wrinkles. If your hands, nails and cuticles are seriously dried and ragged looking, consider giving yourself an overnight deep conditioning treatment by slathering on a rich hand cream and covering your hands with white cotton gloves (available at beauty supply stores). In the morning when you take them off, you'll think you have new hands!

4. Polish - Once you've cleaned, shaped and moisturized your hands, remove any residue in the nail area with a bit of polish remover. Now is when you need a little drying action because any residual oils will prevent nail polish from adhering properly. Apply a base coat to the nails to protect and prevent them from turning yellow. On top of the base coat, apply two coats of polish. Clean any goofs with the tip of an orange stick (no cotton on the end) dipped in polish remover. Finish with a top coat to protect the color from chipping and add shine.

If you're too busy to treat your nails, consider giving your nails their mini spa while you're in the shower. Keep your nail brush and diamond stick (the orange sticks will rot) in the stall. Clean your nails with your nail brush. Then, after you shampoo, take advantage of your soft cuticles to push them back. Apply cuticle cream when you've toweled off. Voilą!

A few more nail tips:

Change your polish every week. If you leave it on and it begins to peel and crack it will affect the health of your nails.

When using nail polish remover, place a saturated cotton ball on top of the nail, count to three, then gently wipe from nail bed to the tip. Do'nt rub back and forth; it damages the nail bed.

Touch up your polish every three to four days: One good coat of color and a top coat does the trick.

Don't scrape, pick, pull or open anything with your nails. If you plan on gardening, cleaning or doing the dishes, wear gloves.

A healthy diet is essential when it comes to having healthy nails. Be sure you are consuming the recommended daily allowance of vitamins and minerals, including calcium and vitamins A and D. And remember, it takes three to six months to grow them from base to tip, so don't expect miracles overnight.