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Natural Awakenings Lehigh Valley

Secrets to Natural Nails

Aug 08, 2012 05:26PM ● By Lia Louie

It’s no secret that people are cutting expenses, and getting a weekly manicure is often at the top of the budget cut. Two months of weekly manicure and pedicure services can cost anywhere between $200 and $300, depending on the shop and frequency of visits. Artificial nails can be even more costly. 

Cost is not the only factor to consider, but also time. Though many of us endure daily tasks—such as typing and washing dishes—that wreak havoc on our nails, taking the time out of our busy day to travel to a salon to sit for a nail service is just not doable. However, maintaining natural, healthy looking nails on a budget—and a tight schedule—can be done, saving time and money.

Individuals share many of the same problems when it comes to our nails—split nails, breakage or soft, weak nails. Don’t be discouraged. Though personal health issues may be causing some of the problems (individuals should alert their physician with any nail problems), with the right products and care, individuals can make their nails like they just stepped out of the salon.

To get strong, 

healthy nails:

Nourish from the inside. The first rule to looking good on the outside is staying healthy on the inside. Eating right, drinking plenty of water, and exercising regularly are the first steps to healthy, beautiful nails.

Take vitamins. Vitamin E is essential for growing strong, healthy nails (and beautiful skin). Find a quality supplement at a local health food store, or ask a dermatologist for recommendations.

Keep them clean. Washing hands with a good soap after eating is important to keeping fingernails clean, and it decreases the opportunity for germs and infections.

Moisturize. Take time to moisturize hands and nail beds at least once per day—especially after washing. Use a good lotion, or, for an inexpensive, natural way to add moisture, try massaging in some high quality, extra virgin olive oil.

Back off the cuticle. Cutting and pushing cuticles can damage nails. Moisturizing daily may be enough to keep the cuticles soft and manageable. If not, try a natural cuticle softener, or slightly push back with a cuticle pusher once or twice per month.

Avoid back and forth filing. At some nail salons, the manicurist will file the tips of the nails in both directions, causing more friction and increasing the likelihood of splitting nails. To slim the chance of traumatizing the nails, file in one direction—from left to right on the left hand and right to left on the right hand. After every stroke, lift the file up. Gentle buffing for the top of the nails helps smooth the surface, but keep it to a minimum.

Keep it neutral. It is hard to mess up polishing nails with a natural, yet noticeable color. Add an anti-chip, quick-dry top coat to help it go the distance.

With a few simple tips and tricks, we can all have gorgeous nails. 

Lia Louie is a Chinese American model and actress residing in Lehighton. She enjoys sharing products and techniques that do wonders for her own nails and is available to consult with local salons to help them understand a more natural approach to beauty. Reach Lia at [email protected]

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