It has to be said. Alot of us ladies are nothing less than wonder women. Alot of us manage to hold down a full time job, look after our families and still have time to look and be as fabulous as possible. Let’s face it, it’s not an easy task to look fab on the go but it simply has to be done. Modern women are turning more and more to beauty treatments such as waxing, fake tanning and nail enhancements to make the task of being so damn beautiful a little bit easier. Nail enhancements, whether it be the latest craze in gel polish (a.k.a Shellac) or the good old fashioned acrylic or gel extensions they definitely are becoming an essential for twenty first century ladies. So many women do love painting their own nails and it definitely can look just as good as gel polish if done well but many people choose gel polish as it lasts up to three weeks and also is applied by a professional so you don’t need to worry about getting a dodgy paint job. Also people with really short and stumpy natural nails tend to love extensions as it gives them nails that they have never had before.

There is a fear however that nail enhancements ruin your nails and weaken them to the point of no return. But I am here to tell you the facts associated with this theory and also how to maintain your natural nails to be as healthy as possible so that you can wear your lovely nails without worrying about the side effects.

I am a fake nail wearer and have been for years but I am also a qualified nail technician and educator so I want to give you the knowledge I have gained during my studies and while working with many different nail types.

acrylic nails

Acrylic Nails by me…..

For me the most important thing is to choose a good technician. People are often under the illusion that doing nails is simple and anyone can do it when infact this couldn’t be further from the truth. A good nail technician will want to know everything they can about the nail anatomy and how adding fake nails can enhance the look of the nails and hands without ruining the natural nails. Preparation of the natural nail before application of the enhancements should be thorough but not damaging at all. If during the prep of the nail you feel very sensitised or irritated by what the technician is doing then you need to let them know straight away. When choosing a nail technician do not only go on price. Someone that is inexpensive is not necessarily a bad nail technician, it simply may be that there is alot of competition in the area where they work. But most importantly it is important to know that just because someone is expensive it doesn’t mean that they are better than someone with a lower price. Often master technicians do have higher prices as you are guaranteed to get extra ordinary results from them but there are some people out there that chance their arm so just be very aware. My main tip would be to go on friends and families recommendations or look up reviews of their work online. Word of mouth is the best way to find out how good someone is at their job.

After you have your nails applied this doesn’t mean that your work is done. Caring for your nails is essential to firstly get the most from the nails and allow them to last as long as possible and secondly to ensure your natural nails underneath are as healthy as possible after removal of the nails.

Because of the nature of nail enhancements your nails will definitely weaken from the application of gels and acrylics over them as there is a lack of oxygen to the nails causing them to soften slightly. Your nails are dead and so there will be no damage to the nails unless you damage the area underneath your cuticle which is where the nail is living. Our nails are made up of hundreds of layers and it is only by removing too many of these layers by over filing that the nails will become damaged. This again is down to the technician.

It must be said at this point though that some people do have naturally weak nails and so the application of nail enhancements further weaken the nails. Also use of chemicals can be very damaging to your nails. People who are sick and or taking medication can also see an obvious change in the condition of their nails. Be sure to be aware of all of these factors before you go blaming nail enhancements for ruining your nails.

gel polish

Gel Polish on natural nails…………again by me

With my rant out of the way here are some easy tips that you can follow to ensure your nails are healthy at all times and most importantly when you are wearing nail enhancements:

  • Apply a rich cuticle oil to your nails twice daily to ensure the nails and cuticle area remain hydrated
  • Apply a hand lotion regularly to hands to maintain lovely soft hands and improve the appearance of any dry areas
  • Do not use any cuticle remover or cuticle nippers while wearing nail enhancements
  • After washing hands ensure that they are completely dry and that there is no water trapped under the nails as this can cause fungus infections to develop. Also using an anti bacterial soap will help control any bacteria from breathing
  • Always wear gloves while doing housework and especially when putting hands into water
  • Do not use your nails as tools. They are not there to be used to open cans or pick up things. Always remember your natural nails are underneath the extensions and so everytime you bang the fake nail you are rocking your natural nail bed.
  • Do not pick or bite at the nails….EVER!
  • Take daily vitamins which include iron, calcium and zinc.
  • Drink plenty of water and eat a balanced healthy diet. This will help in all aspects of life.
  • Never remove nails yourself. Nail Technicians will offer a removal service. Do not expect this to be done for free as this takes time and alot of effort for a nail technician. Removal of gel polish however is often included in the price if you are getting it reapplied.
  • Applying tea tree oil onto a cotton bud and running it under the nail is important if your natural nail is lifting from the nail bed. This can happen if you suddenly catch your nail and it knocks your natural nail.
  • Rubbing alcohol under the nail tip at night will also help keep the area clean and bacteria free which is a big contributor to a healthy natural nails.
  • gel nails

    Gel Nails by…………yes you have guessed it……me!!!

It is a great feeling to have beautiful nails but it is important to also allow your nails a few days break every now and then to allow your nails to breath. I am always asked what nail treatments are the best and there are some fantastic ones out there but I have found one that I rely on and have seen how it can really transform nails in a matter of weeks. Pro Strong is only available from QVC and it is a little expensive but it is well worth it. There are several kits available but the one I use contains a fluroide treatment, a calcium treatment and a moisturiser which all need to be applied to the natural nails in sequence. The combination of these ingredients builds up the strength in the nail again and gives you naturally healthy nails.

prostrong

ProStrong Maximum Strength Kit-Credited to QVCUK.com

So that is really all there is to it. It probably seems like alot of extra effort to go through to have nail enhancements but actually it really is very little work and it can be worth it if you like the look of having perfect nails that will last you several weeks.

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People often ask me what type of nail enhancements they should go for and so I will give a brief explanation of which ones I think suit who:

Gel Polish: I recommend these to people who have a naturally good nail. They are not great for people who have very small natural nails, have very very weak nails or are nail biters. Grown out gel polish is simply removed by soaking in acetone and so is not damaging to the natural nail underneath.

Acrylic or Gel Nails: Years ago acrylic was always seen as the stronger of the two but there are so many amazing gels out there now that they both are relatively similar and are very durable. There is a slight difference though. Gel nails tend to be slightly more flexible than acrylic nails so are better if you bang your nail as they give the natural nail underneath some flexibility but on the other hand because of the lack of flexibility of acrylic they tend to be slightly more hard wearing. I personally prefer acrylic for the simple fact that they can be soaked off as opposed to having to file gel nails off which can be a pain in the bum for your technician . Acrylic or Gel nails are amazing for nail biters and people that do not have naturally long nails but they can be worn by almost everyone and if maintained following the steps above there will be no issue at all with them.

So there you go, something a little different for you all to have a read of. Do you get nail enhancements and if so what type do you prefer? How do you look after your nails??

Thanks for stopping by and have a lovely weekend

Anita XXXX