Following from Part 1 of her Guide to Healthy Nails, Shahnaz Khan gives more information and tips on keeping your nails in the best condition.
Onychophagists – that’s the official name for nail biters – cannot do any long-term damage to their nails but half-chewed fingertips can look unpleasant. Beat biting them by trying one of the specially-formulated nail biting solutions which are made to taste horrible to stop you nibbling. Or apply two thin coats of good nail hardener which toughens up soft nails and makes them much harder to bite. Yellowing nails are caused by wearing heavily-pigmented darks colours without a base coat. It depends on how porous your nails are as to how much they absorb. Whiten them up a bit by soaking them in lemon juice for a few minutes. Prime your nails for colour first with a clear or pale pink protective base coat. Smoking will also discolour your nails since they can become coated with nicotine.
Allergic reactions to the formaldehyde which is added to some brands of nail polish is common and can lead to skin irritations. Rashes and redness around the cheeks and mouth can be caused by touching your face with painted nails.
Contraceptives like the pill which depletes the body’s iron supplies can affect the way the nails grow. Check out health shops for supplements specially for nails and hair that help put back missing vitamins and minerals. It’s a myth that chewing gelatine can make your nails grow stronger.
The development of horizontal ridges and grooves can be hereditary or due to a severe illness. Once the ridge has formed there is nothing you can do until the nail has grown out. Buffing will help smooth the surface of the nail, but manicure clippers and take small snips working carefully from one side to the other. Cutting off the tip straight across can severely weaken your nails.
Short nails look best painted in pale colours which can make them longer and slimmer. Choose pastels and leave a thin strip unpainted at the sides of each nail to give the illusion of a slimmer, longer shape.
Regular exercise helps get the circulation going and speeds up nail growth-that is why typists, surprisingly, are often able to grow long, super-strong nails. Try simple hand exercises once a day, hold the tip of each finger with your other hand and work it up and down quickly five times for each finger.
A broken nail before an important date does not have to be a complete disaster, ail glue will bond a split nail in a matter of seconds or if your nail has snapped off entirely replace it with a substitute, plastic press on tip and no one will ever know the difference.
Nail polish lasts longer if you take time to apply it. Start with a base coat then apply two thin coats on top and then apply a top coat to fix your polish. Plunging your nails into icy cold water when they are touch dry will also help harden your polish.
Finally, always finish off your polished look with rubbing hand cream into your nails and hands and hey presto you will have perfect nails each time!
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