The only nail care regimen you need
04 April 2023 – 8 min read
If you’re living on planet earth right now, it’s likely that you’ve been sensibly sanitising your hands all year round. This might also mean that your nails are looking a little flippy, a little flakey, and less-than-fabulous. So we've compiled our top tips on how to care for your nails, and restore them to pre-pandemic glory. Plus a certified nail care schedule to have your revival rituals locked down.
Nail care is the future (of your perfect mani). It’s the basis of an amazing manicure and ensures your nail polish looks its best. But our understanding of even basic nail care is often stuck in the past. It’s time to drop the old wives tales (sorry, mum), update and get clear. Healthy nails are easy to achieve, and even easier to flaunt.
Nail care 101
Here are 10 nail care tips that won’t crack, peel, or break on you.
1. Don’t bite your nails
Did we really need to say that? It weakens and cracks your fresh manicure and wastes all that time and effort. Not to mention, it’s not so great for your teeth as a direct source of bacteria. And while we get it, nail biting stems from a handful of issues (sorry, couldn’t resist) there are a whole bunch of ways you can keep the nibbling at bay. Start by wearing them short, even when they grow, and get yourself a strengthening formula to stave off temptation. (Nails don’t taste that great anyway.)
Our Miracle Treatment Base Coat has won a string of awards for its proven results restoring ‘ERIN M’s’ post-shellac nails back to their former glory. ‘This truly has been a miracle in improving the strength and quality of my nails, while continuing to colour them up with Kester Black polishes. Never going back to shellac!’
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Hand washing. Sanitising. Dish washing. Showers. You know, daily activities. They’re basically nail enemies. They strip out the natural oils and leave your nails prone to breakage, splitting, peeling, and cracking. So fun. Using a quality cuticle oil, will easily replace the natural oils and moisture you lose on the daily. We find it easiest to apply before bed for it to really take effect. And if you’re seeking some serious hydration, consider our Self Love Oil - it loves every bit of you and fans are calling it ‘unexpectedly wonderful’ (cheers, Caitlin from Australia). Seriously, from your chapped lips to your dry elbows, even your sense of humour. We’ve found that it also adds a healthy glow when applied to foundation.
But, if your nails really need some TLC (we’re talking a non-stop playthrough of the girl-group’s 1999 album, ‘Fanmail’) then our award-winning Rest & Repair Wonder Mask really ramps things up. It's packed with a dreamy concoction of botanicals and bioactives, that smell good enough to eat (but please don't). Not only that, it helps repair, regenerate and hydrate your nails while you snooze! Fans like Laura R. reckon it’s the best (her words, not ours). ‘Oh my LORD - the best!... My nails improved virtually overnight, which sounds crazy, but is magical.’ You’re not crazy, Laura. We’ve witnessed this sorcery first-hand.
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3. Reconsider the length
If you find your nails are still cracking along the edges, it may be time to reconsider the length. Long nails are divas. They don’t ‘do’ dishes, darling. An active daily routine is going to stress them out and you’ll get cracks. If you like doing things, it’s best to trim and shape your nails weekly to keep them looking flawless. And if you’re still stuck for styles, check out our blog on finding the most flattering nail shape for your hands.
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4. Use top coat
A good top coat seals in your colour and prevents chipping and breakage. Make sure to completely cover the tips of your nails. That way your mani is completely sealed and your colour protected. We’ve had folks like Julianne D asking herself, ‘Why didn't I buy this earlier?!’ We don’t know Julianne, but we’re glad as heck that your colours are safely sealed now. ‘It's great for smoothing over the surface of glitter polishes... Nail polish seems to last longer before chipping too.'
Tip: Double-check the label before applying top coat as a clear nail polish. Some top coat formulations (like our Supersonic Top Coat) are designed to stick to polish - not fingernails.
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5. Use base coat
The other secret weapon in your nail care arsenal is base coat. It’s essentially double-sided sticky tape for your nails. It adheres to your natural nail bed far better than polish does. It also binds better with your nail polish colours. The end result is a longer lasting manicure.
And just in case improving your manicure wasn't enough, we decided to make a base coat that would improve your nail health too. Enter our award-winning, Miracle Treatment Base Coat. Containing moisturising oils and brightening pearls for an oh-so-natural shine, along with organic cherry blossom, botanicals and vitamins, even Mother Nature can get her nails done.
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6. Avoid really rough emery boards
And never, ever use metal files or clippers. Emery boards that are too rough can cause small cracks in your nails that lead to splits and breakage. To maintain healthy nails, use 180 to 240 grit, or preferably glass emery boards. They will take off the length and allow shaping without destroying your nails. When filing your nails, go slowly and evenly and file in one direction rather than sawing at them.
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7. Don’t remove your cuticles
Your cuticles are critical for nail health. Keep them intact. They are nature’s way of protecting your nails from infection. If you break this amazing barrier your cuticles can easily become inflamed and ragged. At the very least this is going to bring down the tone of your manicure. At worst, you could end up with the kind of infection that permanently damages your nails. To tame them, we recommend tackling them after a shower or after applying a cuticle oil (our Self Love Oil makes for a gentle companion in this department). Start by only trimming the loose skin around the sides of your nail, and gently pushing your cuticles back using a rubber cuticle pusher or orange stick.
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8. Wear gloves
Harsh detergents strip your nails. Daily activities, like cleaning and gardening, put them in serious risk of breakage. Before you give up cleaning your house, try wearing gloves. It should do the trick just fine.
9. Read the labels
Your standard nail polish contains some seriously toxic chemicals. But you don’t have to put your health second to beauty. Look for the 10-free label on your nail polishes. This means they are free of the 10 most toxic chemicals found in normal nail polish. Did we mention that all Kester Black polishes are 10-free?
10. Eat well
Your body builds, nourishes and maintains your nails via blood flow to the nail bed. So the only way for your nails to receive strengthening nutrients is from nutrient-rich blood. A healthy diet leads to healthy, supple nails. Eat a well-balanced plant-based diet full of colourful vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts. You’ll start to see the difference in one to two months, as your nails grow out.
Your weekly nail routine
Whoever invented #SelfCareSundays wasn’t thinking big enough. Consider this your guide to restoring dry or damaged nails - every single day. (And just like Craig David’s ‘7 Days’, we chill on Sunday.)
Start afresh by applying our Self Love Oil to bare nails. This cuticle (read: cure-all) oil contains jojoba, sweet almond and avocado oil to help restore moisture and rehydrate parched nails. Apply a drop to cuticles and massage in circles towards your hand.
Turns out, you can do this healing thing in your sleep with our Rest & Repair Wonder Mask. Paint over your fingernails and let ingredients like organic white tea, fermented rice, kefir and sweet almond oil nourish them while you’re in the land of nod. Rinse-off in the morning.
The treats continue tonight, with the same bedtime routine as Monday. Tuck those fingertips in for some much deserved beauty sleep with a drop of Self Love Oil, followed by our Rest & Repair Wonder Mask. Rinse off when you wake.
Today, we’ll be giving your nails a neat little at-home mani. We start on Wednesday so they are still looking fresh for the weekend.
Start by gently wiping each fingernail with a cotton pad soaked in isopropyl alcohol, non-oily remover or our Nail Cleanser. This is an essential step in extending the life of your manicure as it removes any residual oils that may interfere with your polish.
Apply a thin coat of our Miracle Treatment Base Coat to each nail and allow to dry. This multi award-winning treatment is proven to decrease brittleness and breakages in just two weeks; resulting in harder, stronger, more beautiful nails. And while it doubles as a brilliant base coat and treatment, this pearlescent peach makes for a sweet everyday, understated colour.
Protect your nails with our Supersonic Top Coat. This formula dries fast and is filled with hydrating jojoba and avocado oil, and UV filters to prevent fading.
Finish with a few drops of our Self Love Oil massaged gently into your cuticles for the ultimate hydration.
Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Self Love, self love, self love! For the next three nights, we’ll be pampering our cuticles with our Self Love Oil applied just before bed. The overnight treatment allows these oils to perform their rehydrating powers at a much deeper level - ultimately resulting in healthier, happier nails.
Today, we’ll be saying goodbye to our manicure by gently removing it with our Non-Acetone Remover. When it comes to nail polish remover, we'd always recommend a non-acetone one to limit exposure to those nasties. Once all polish has been removed, apply our Rest & Repair Wonder Mask followed by a drop of Self Love Oil to your cuticles. Now, we chill.
Always keep a soft file, cuticle oil, top/base coat, and hand cream either in your office drawer, bathroom cabinet, or makeup bag. An investment in the right tools will go a long, long way. Au revoir, monster claws.
Now that you’ve got the secret to rescuing wayward nails, you can start perfecting your nail art. Flex on your friends with our tutorials.
And if you can’t decide between red nail polish or nude nail polish, then you might find our guides to choosing the right red and the best nude nail polish for your skin tone rather helpful.