Here are some answers to basic nail care questions:
Base coats promote healthy nails, and ensure an easy application.
What is a base coat?
- Base coat is a clear coat of polish. Some base coats have protein, aloe vera, vitamin E, and/or calcium. These ingredients add strength to the nail.
How should you use a base coat?
- Base coat is applied before any nail polish. It is recommended that any oily residue is removed from the nail bed. Always make sure to let it dry before applying any other coats of polish, otherwise polish will chip easily.
Why should you use a base coat?
- Base coats including protein, aloe vera, vitamin e, and/or calcium can replenish nails that are brittle and dry. This prevents breakage and other damage, including splitting and peeling.
- Dark colors of nail polish can stain the nail. Applying a base coat can prevent this. The base coat is a shield of protection.
- Base coat ensures that the polish will last longer. It provides a smoother, more receptive surface for the colored polish to adhere to, while filling in the lines and creases in the nail. You will truly notice a difference in the ease of the application.
- Base coats provide a hint of shine, and the shine lasts much longer.
What are cuticles?
Cuticles are the thin pieces of dead skin that connect the skin of your finger to your nail. Although the skin is technically dead, it still serves a purpose: to protect your fingers from bacteria and germs.
Why do you need to push cuticles back?
I like to think of the cuticle as a sealant.
If you put a sealant on a window but don’t maintain it, during the winter to cold air will come through the small cracks.
Little cells behind the cuticle are working hard maintaining nail growth. If there is no sealant, the little cells can seep out of the cracks in the cuticle.
By pushing back the cuticle, you are keeping the cells in and bacteria out.
How do you push back cuticle?
- The best time to push back your cuticles is right after you have a shower. This insures the cuticles will be clean as well as softer and easier to work with.
- I use my nails but you can also use a cuticle pusher and gently push the thin layer of skin back, remembering to get the sides of the nails as well. The cuticle should not be completely removed.
- Manicure kits sometimes come with a cuticle cutter. I recommend leaving that to the professionals. I wouldn’t want to damage the cuticle any further.
- Wipe away the dead, damaged skin and repeat on the rest of your nails. This can be performed on your toes as well.
- Be sure not damage your nails bed. You want to be very gentle.
- Seal the cuticles with moisturizer. There are special cuticle moisturizers, I use a hand lotion and that works fine. Put a small dab of lotion on each finger and massage the moisturizer onto your fingers.
What is a top coat?
Top Coats are the last step to applying nail polish.
Top coats act as a protective barrier. They prevent nail polish from fading and chipping and give you a long lasting shine.
Top coat polishes are usually completely clear, and dry to a hard, glossy finish.
How to apply top coat?
- Many brands have fast drying top coat. It is cuts drying time quite a bit. Nothing is more frustrating then spending your entire night blowing on your hands, only to have smudged nails…
- Normally less is better – not with top coat.
- When swiping the brush across the nail, it should glide across the nail. The top coat is doing all of the work. The more top coat the better – providing it is on the nail and not on everything else.
- Top coats help to seal in the nail design and protects polish from chipping.
What is the difference between base coat and top coat?
I like to think of it like this: Base coats protect the nail and Top coats protect the polish.
- Base coats can often be slightly sticky; some brands do offer a dual-purpose product – base coat and top coat.
- A top coat serves several different purposes in nail grooming. It protects nail polish against chipping, but it can also help strengthen the fingernail.
- -Some people will simply apply a top coat to their nails if they want a natural look with just a bit of shine.
- If you are going out to an event, carry a bottle of top coat with you when wearing nylon stockings, as the top coat can be used to stop runs from growing.
Now that you know the details of nail care, you are on your way to healthier, more beautiful nails.