5 Nail Myths Busted! Sarah Kane

Well y’all, I finished nail school! I’ve spent the entire month of September preparing for my exams to FINALLY get my manicurist license. It’s been a long, winding road, but it’s safe to say that I know my nails textbook backward and forward. I’m ready to put all that knowledge to use and start doing nails for real!

Last weekend, I was at my local salon getting a pedicure, thumbing through the stacks of beat up fashion magazines, and noticed some misinformation regarding nail care. After doing more research (aka lots of Pinterest stalking), it’s hard to tell which tips and tricks are fact or fiction. Don’t worry, Gigglers – I’m here to help with all of your nail-related needs.

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1. Do Nails Need to “Breathe?”

FALSE! I don’t know about y’all, but I can’t stand to have bare nails. They feel naked! My mom used to always chime in during my at-home manicure sessions, saying my nails needed a break from the polish to breathe. It turns out that this is an old wives’ tale. Nails are dead and lack the ability to absorb oxygen into the nail plate. Instead, all oxygen needed by the nail matrix (where the nail grows) is absorbed through the bloodstream instead of from the outside world.

2. Does Ice Water Help My Mani Dry Faster?

False! Nail polish dries when the solvent within the formula evaporate. Plunging them into a bowl of ice water halts the process! Finish your manicure with some cuticle oil or drying drops, and wait at least five minutes before you touch anything.

3. Do White Spots On My Nails Mean a Calcium Deficiency?

Not necessarily. My grandmother used to tell me that the white spots on my nails were from telling lies! That’s definitely a myth. Those white spots are a nail disorder called Leukonychia. They are common but are usually caused by a mild or moderate injury to the nail matrix. The white spot is usually an indiction of a small separation between the nail plate and the nail bed, and they almost always grow out with time.

4. Will My Polish Last Longer in the Fridge?

FALSE! This is totally not necessary. In fact, this may cause the polish to become thicker, making it harder to achieve a smooth coat, so you’ll have to toss it anyways! Your polishes should be stored upright, at room temperature. The best way to increase their shelf life is by properly resealing the bottle after use. If you’ve developed a polish hoarding problem, invest in some vintage suitcases or a few sweet wall racks! Save the space in your fridge for food.

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5. Will Gels or Acrylics Ruin My Nails Forever?

FALSE! Nail enhancements don’t ruin the nail forever. Any nail damage is typically the result of improper application or removal, overly aggressive filing as well as the client’s abuse (i.e. picking, biting or prying off nail coating). When gels and acrylics are applied carefully, maintained and removed properly by a trained nail professional, you have nothing to worry about. If you notice some damage after removal, give your fingers a lil’ TLC with some a nail strengthener and some cuticle oil, and your nails will be back to normal in no time!

Main image via, natural nails via, acrylic nails via

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  1. Um, these tips were published in NailIt! Back in the September./October issue. Check it. Written by Chrissy Calahan. Starts on page 87 and covers if nails need to breathe,, whether gels ruin nails, if cold water makes polish dry faster, if there’s any point to putting polish in the fridge, and if there are indicators of poor health in the ways that nails grow. The article is longer, but this is seriously a rehash of it.

  2. Great post! I’ve been a nail tech for over 13 yrs. & you covered all the most asked questions. To answer the yellow nails: base coat helps, but reds will yellow nails. Also with toes, especially the big toe, is an older nail & will stain easier. A little oil and light buffing will lighten it right up.

  3. Guys, this was the best article on this site all day, sorry to any friends who had one posted. Thank you for busting these myths!!

  4. Nails may not need to breath, however they yellow when they are covered with nail polish (ever notice that after having your nails painted for a while and finally taking the polish off? I only ever notice it on my toes because my nails chip too quickly on my hands).

    • Ok I’m glad I’m not the only one who had the thought of yellow nails too?

      • Heather said it in a later comment, but all it takes to get rid of the yellow is to lightly buff them. Because nails are made from a layered material (If you know how baleine whales ‘teeth’ it’s a similar material!) the top layer can get stained from the pigment in the polish, so you just have to gently remove that top layer.

  5. Thanks for posting this! I was debating if I needed to give my nails a break from my beloved gel manicures, but I don’t think so!! (They are amazing if you’re in the kitchen a lot) >> slowcarbsnacktime.com

  6. Thanks for clearing up those falsehoods! I’ve been getting my nails done since I was a girl. Thanks for the article.