Nails

Keeps Your hands very clean.

Before you do anything, it's important to make sure your nails and the skin around them are thoroughly dirt-free. Then remove all traces of your last color with an acetone-free remover (anything else unnecessarily dries out your nail). Dr. Ava Shamban, author of Heal Your Skin, recommends applying soap to a toothbrush, then gently scrubbing your nails and skin. This will remove dirt and exfoliate any dead skin without the need for harsh, drying chemicals or expensive scrubs.

Always Gentle

Your nails are delicate, and scrubbing them too roughly can actually expose you to infection. Another no-no: Using metal nail tools under the nail, as too much digging under the nail plate will cause it to separate from the skin, leading to an irregular white arching nail tip explains N.Y.C. dermatologist Dr. Janet Prystowsky.

Trim regularly

Regular trims are as important to your nails as they are to your hair, says Dr. Prystowsky. So set aside time to clip them every two weeks, adjusting to more or less often once you see how your nails respond.

Values health over length

Long nails are beautiful, but if you're someone who has struggled with snags or breakage, Dr. Shamban recommends that you keep your nails short — at least to start out with. A shorter style with a rounded edge tends to be easier to manage and looks neater, so you can focus on building strength without worrying about anything else. As long as each nail is uniform in shape and matches its nine neighbors, you won't miss the added length.

LEARN PROPER CUTICLE CARE

“If cuticles are dry and torn, any manicure will look old,” says L'Oreal Paris global nail artist Tom Bachik. However, “cutting cuticles can open you up to infection and make them look worse,” warns Illamasqua manicurist Fleury Rose. Exfoliate hands with a body scrub, then nip only hangnails that you can wiggle.

MOISTURIZE POST-SANITIZER

It's a step most of us wouldn't think to do, but it's important: “High amounts of alcohol can dehydrate skin and nails, making polish chip faster,” says Sally Hansen manicurist Tracylee. Just wait until the sanitizer has dried.

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