Since becoming a qualified Beauty Therapist and now a training Nail Technician, I have learnt a lot about the nails and how to care for them.
So today I thought I would a post on how to care for your nails and a few tips! I will be including information about the nail and the nail structure, nail shapes and which is best, cuticle care and more!
The Structure of the Nail
The free edge - This is the part of the nail that's extends beyond the fingertip. It appears white as there is no nails bed underneath. The function of this is to protect the tip of the fingers and the hyponychium.
The Nail Plate - This makes up the main body of the nail. The layers of cells are packed very closely together with fat. The function of this is to protect the living nail bed of the fingers and toes.
The Matrix - This is the growing area of the nail. It lies under the eponychium at the base of the nail. The process of keratinization takes place here. The function of this is to produce new nail cells.
The Nail Bed - This is the portion of skin upon which the nail plate rests. It has patterns of grooves corresponding to those found on the underside of the nail plate. These interlock keeping the nail plate in place. The function of this is to supply nourishment and protection.
The Nail Mantle - This is the layer of epidermis (skin) at the base of the nail above the matrix, before the cuticle. The function of this is protect the matrix from physical damage.
The Lunula - This is the crescent/half moon shape and is located at the base of the nail.
The Hyponychium - This is part of the epidermis under the free edge of the nail. The function of this is to protect the nail bed from infection by preventing dirt and bacteria gathering underneath the nail plate by forming a waterproof barrier.
The Nail Grooves - These run alongside the edge of the nail plate. The function of this is to guide the body of the nail plate as it grows forward over the nail bed.
The Perionychium - This is the collective name given to the cuticle at the sides of the nail. The function of this is to protect the nail bed from infection by preventing dirt and bacteria gathering underneath the nail plate.
The Nail Walls - These are folds of skin overlapping the sides of the nails. The function of these are to cushion and protect the nail plate and grooves from damage.
The Eponychium - This is the extension of the cuticle at the base of the nail plate, under which the nail plate emerges from the matrix. The function of this is to protect the matrix from infection.
The Cuticle - This is the overlapping epidermis around and extending onto the base of the nail. The function of this is to protect the matrix from infection.
Now onto nail shapes!
I have used photos and information from Sally Hansen.
This shape is ideally suited to nails that are thick or wide as it gives them a more delicate apperance. This shape does weaken the nails to some extent. To achieve this look file the tip of the nail into an egg shape and file away some of the side of the nails.
This shape is also known as sqoval and I tend to shape my nails into this. To achieve this shape do the same as how you would shape an oval nail but followed by squaring off the tip. This also gives the nail tip strength over the oval shape.
This shape is ideal for shorter nails! This is a strong shape which is great if you are wanting to keep your nails short. To achieve this shape file the tip into a rounded shape.
This is a quite strong nail shape but I particularly don't like this shape as I feel that it makes me look like I have boy hands and it isn't very flattering, I like to have pretty looking nails! Although this is best for drawing attention to long nails. To achieve this shop allow the nail to grow out straight and then filing the tip straight across.
Square with Rounded Corners
This shape is very flattering on long nails and is another shape that I file my nails into. This shape is also less likely to catch on clothing etc. To achieve this shape file them as square but followed by rounding off the corners of the nails.
Looking After Your Nails
- When filing your nails do not use a metal file! These tend to come in little manicure kits. The metal files are coarse and they can damage your natural nails and this is not what we want now, is it?
- "Your nails are like jewels, not tools!" This quote is true. Don't use your nails to pick or pry things open, this can really damage and hurt your nails.
- Don't bite your fingernails! This can damage your nail bed plus you have to admit, it doesn't look very attractive does it?
- Don't pull off hangnails as this may rip living tissue and you may be prone to getting an infection. If you have a hangnail carefully clip it off with cuticle nippers.
- When filing the nails do not use the sawing back and forth action. This can cause splitting, peeling and breaking of the nail. Always file the nail in one direction.
- Always dry your hands/feet properly after contact with water. This prevents bacteria and other organisms from growing under your nails.
- Wear gloves when washing up, cleaning, using harsh chemicals and even gardening! This will protect your nails from becoming dry or getting damaged.
- Wear gloves in winter, this will prevent your hands and nails becoming dry.
- If you have weak/brittle nails, use a nail strengthener!
- Moisturise! You can do this as much as you like but especially after contact with water. You can also use a hand and nail cream, then massage it into your cuticle area, this prevents hangnails/peeling etc. It also stimulates blood circulation which helps nail growth!
- Keep your nails to a workable length. This prevents the nail from snapping or any breakages.
- Use cuticle oil daily, this helps to nourish your cuticles and protect the nail from drying out or splitting. Cuticle oil promotes healthy looking nails!
- Drink plenty of water. Yes this does help girls!
- Have regular manicures and pedicures at your local salon or do your own version at home!
And that's it for my advice on looking after your nails!
Hope you have enjoyed reading this and hope some of these tips have helped you :)