Sometimes it’s not what goes on our nails that can cause damage, it’s about how damaging the removal process can be. Taking regular nail lacquer off your nails is a cinch, but anything else can be a bit tricky. For glitter, make sure you are soaking half a cotton ball in acetone, applying it to your finger, wrapping it in foil, and letting it soak for about seven minutes. For gel-polish you will use the same method, making sure to break the seal of the gel-polish first by filing before allowing to soak for 10 minutes. When you unwrap the foil, use an orangewood stick to remove the polish. That being said, I have had some gel-polish on my nails that has taken an hour to remove. The more you try to file and pick away at gel-polish the worse it is for your nails. If you’re tired of looking like Edward Foil Hands and want your gel-polish removed safely on the first try, visit a salon. Gel removal alone only costs about $10-$15, so it is relatively inexpensive and your nails get a fresh new start. If you are wearing acrylics I would recommend having a professional remove those as well. And while some nail wraps can easily be removed with an orangewood stick, some professional brand nail wraps and glue-on nails are just as stuck on as a polish, so it is best you don’t remove them yourself. Bottom line: if you’re not sure how to remove it, don’t do it yourself.
Thanks to scrubs and other accessories, you can give yourself a relaxing at-home pedicure. Just remember that sanitation is equally as important at home as it would be at the salon, so clean your implements after every use. I would argue that the whole point of a pedicure though is to get pampered while drinking an alcoholic beverage of choice. And while you can certainly quench that thirst at home, it still might be a good idea to have a professional handle your pedi. Nail technicians know what to look for when it comes to nail ailments and they can offer you reflexology massages that will help you relax from the feet up.
If you are not a gifted artist nor are good at polishing in general, these nail-shaped sheets with sticky backs could be the answer to your prayers. It seems like everyone from Essie to Sally Hansen to Zooey Deschanel are designing nail wraps that adhere to the nail without applying nail glue. While some brands such as Dashing Diva and Minx produce versions that have to be applied by a professional, there are more than enough quality nail wraps out there (sometimes called “nail polish wraps” or “appliques”) for you to use yourself. The only catch: you have to be pretty good at cutting the adhesives to fit the size of your nails. If you’re not good with a pair of scissors, you might not want to try this at home. If you are good with a pair of scissors you’re in luck because you can’t even tell some of these designs aren’t perfectly polished on.
There are numerous products on the shelves that you can use to fill in ridges, prevent fungus, and moisturize cuticles (don’t forget to take your vitamins too!). If your nails are in really bad shape some products shouldn’t be applied to them and a nail tech can best determine which. Most importantly, a tech can tell you when a nail problem is beyond her control and recommend you see your doctor. Nails are an extension of your health, and many times problems with your nails indicate an underlying health issue. Find a nail tech you trust and rely on them to care for your favorite accessory. If your nail pro tells you your nails are in good shape, then polish at will in the privacy of your own home.