At Home Beauty: Nails

This is an article I have been meaning to write for a very long time indeed. It’s all about how to care for your own hands and nails if you don’t want to be visiting a professional, or if you are visiting a pro that they are doing their job properly, as many just are not trained very well. Even the ones that have countless certificates hanging on the wall of their salon may infect be doing you and your nails more harm than good.

If you are a nail addict like me you will need to keep reading. It may shock you and it may give you some useful information. I use to be an educator for some of the top beauty brands in the country so this information is totally 100% correct. I love helping others look good and feel great about themselves with ease. You can be a high maintenance if you like or you can have a little fun by doing home treatments….The right way! Here is the start of my new at home beauty series.

sbs nails 01First off you need to understand what nails are made of. They are totally dead and made up from layers of dead cells called keratin apart from the half moon at the bottom. This is actuality part of the root and is vey delicate indeed so you don’t want to be applying those nasty stick on fake nails for longer than a few days. They can and will affect the growth of the nail and in some cases even create dents that then will need to grow out. If you are fortunate they won’t split open leaving the
nail bed to be exposed to infection and possible permanent loss of the actual nail itself….Scary huh?!

The nails have clever little seals at either end. One is under the free edge called the Hyponychium and its important not to try to dig out any dirt too harshly or use implements to do this either. Using a soft nail brush when washing hands is adequate as it could damage the natural seal.

The other is called the Proximal nail fold and many of you refer to this as the Cuticle…well this is wrong. The Cuticle is actually just a layer of residue cells all over the entire nail bed and can be easily cleaned away. The skin at the bottom called the Proximal nail fold and is there for a reason… To stop infection getting to the root of the nail…So if you own a pair of nippers don’t ever EVER cut away the little bit of skin as this will just make it grow back thicker to protect
itself. If your manicurist is doing this then I highly recommend finding one that does not do this.

sbs nails 02Now you know this you can understand nails a little more too. They need looking after, they need to be kept clean and they actually benefit from wearing nail polish as it protects them. They don’t have lungs and they don’t need to breath its just an old wives tale. The best thing for them is to have a regular manicure… at home or by a professional you choose.

This Quality Ladies Manicure/Pedicure Personal Care Set Red with Solingen Tools – 10 Years Warranty is really the best home kit I have ever come across priced at £32.99 it sounds expensive but compared to 10 years of manicures from a professional its a snip!!

sbs nails 03Here is an explanation about each item.

The Glass nail files are really the best as they are very gentle on the nails. Scissors are for many things but these should be used to shorten the nails or trim the sides.

The nail clippers are the best thing to use shortening fingernails as they clip the layers neatly.

The toe clippers are perfect for shortening tough toe nails. You can clip the sides of the toenails…yes you can but make sure you get all the nail as leaving some behind will cause an ingrown toenail. Now cutting straight across will do the same if you don’t get all the nail in the clipper so its best to cut in 3 sections making sure the side are neatly clipped and then the length.

Pluckers are great to get rid of splinters

Now for the Cuticle pusher, this is your new best friend and can be used after you have a bath when the cuticle tissue is loose or use a cream remover. Then gently slide up and down the bed of the nail and you will see lots of unwanted dead tissue come away. I recommend you do this once a month.

You will notice this kit doesn’t have nippers this is because I think they should only be used by a trained professional and if you have a loose bit of skin or a hang nail just use the small scissors as you are less likely to cause any damage.

sbs nails 04Now to explain what the cuticle is… in fact it covers the entire nail bed. It’s basically the residue from the sticky layer of the proximal nail fold that helps keep infection out and as the nail plate grows it just travels with it. It can be carefully cleaned away by yourself you just need a little know how… So I have done a little routine for you.

The Home Manicure Routine

Wash your hands

Exfoliate hands with All About Hands Avocado Exfoliating Hand & Elbow Scrub 200ml or your regular body scrub will do.

Dry off your hands and rub in a nice hand cream like Chanel Precision Body Excellence Nourishing & Rejuvenating Hand Cream – 75ml/2.5oz its totally the best and won’t leave your hands feeling sticky.

Remove and unwanted nail polish with Cutex Nail Polish Remover Acetone-Free 200ml Acetone free is better for the nails as it won’t dry them out.

Apply Nails Inc Striptease Cuticle Remover 15ml to the surface of 5 nails and massage in. Wait a few minutes for the product to work then gently slide the cuticle pusher up and down the length of the nail. Wipe away any loose cells (cuticle) with damp cotton wool and repeat on the other hand.

Clip the desired length

Gently file the free edge to the desired shape. Using the glass file you can file back and forth no need to file in one direction.

Finish filing by doing a few downward strokes to seal all those layers of dead nail cells together.

Oil the nails with Creative Nail Design Solar Oil Nail and Cuticle Conditioner 7.3 ml and massage in along with some more hand cream if desired. Concentrate on the root of the nail if you are wanting lovely long talons as this will encourage growth.

Cleanse the nail plate using Graham Hands Down Nail Wipes  (as these won’t leave any annoying fluff) and a little of the nail polish remover to just take away excess oil from the nail plate.

Apply a coat of Sally Hansen Insta-Grip Base Coat.

Then apply 2-3 coats of nail polish, I recommend CND VINYLUX TOP COAT & VINYLUX HOLLYWOOD with FREE BIO SCULPTURE NAIL FILE as this is by far the best polish available. Simply wonderful and it drys in 8 minutes, gets stronger as the days go on and lasts up to 10 days

Now you have done your nails and even though they are covered up all these dead cells are very vunerable indeed and absorb water when washing up, cleaning and just general wear and tear, then they dry out and can start to look dishevelled and in most people water damage will appear. Any of you have peeling nails well that’s water damage.  Repeated misuse of detergents and household products will cause them to become very weak and flaky too.

So what can be done I hear you cry, well obviously wear rubber gloves when possible but the 2 other things that you can do to have perfect pinkies is oil them with a really good nail oil morning and night and wearing your nail polish will protect them even more.

Regular manicures or hand massages to encourage new cells to create new nail growth if you wish for longer stunning nails.

This is a perfect recipe for stunning, beautiful and strong nails. For more articles on how to look fantastic visit

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About Sarah Bacchus

From a very early age Sarah Bacchus has had a passion for photography, fashion, style and beauty. Her mother was a model in the 60's and was surrounded by this world from birth and soaked up every element. Sarah has studied fashion design technology, pattern cutting and fashion photography and understands looking good affects the way you feel about yourself and helping others with all her technical abilities is all part of her job. The most incredible part of my job is to see someone blossom with my fashion, beauty and styling advice says Sarah. Sarah has an amazing list of career achievements. Sarah has worked backstage at fashion weeks in London and Paris; worked on TV, film and top magazine photo shoots for L’Oreal, Elle, InStyle, Harpers, Vanity Fair and many more; Sarah has been part of the styling team with Nicky Hambeldon Jones (10 Years Younger); provided personal styling to a variety of my own personal clients; and written fashion, beauty and nail advice for a variety of online publications. Among other skills she is trained to the highest standard in nails a "World Elite Nail Technician" and has worked with countless celebrities. Although no longer a session technician for magazines, TV and Film Sarah writes beauty articles for various businesses, PR companies and salons that require reviews and marketing. Sarah says she's proud to recognised for her knowledge and skills. Helping others make themselves and their businesses benefit from my years of training, visualisation and advice. Alongside running her own boutique and salon Sarah has been a trainer for many of the top nail and beauty companies in the industry. Now a full time personal stylist, photographer and journalist working with various businesses and media companies. Check out for more from Sarah.
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