Taking care of your nails through coronavirus How do I know which shape works best for my nails? There’s no hard rule on shaping; it really boils down to personal choice. If you are not sure what would suit you best, try looking at the shape of your hands and fingers. A round nail can soften square hands. A square nail looks good on long fingers. An almond shape elongates shorter fingers. Is it true you should only file in one direction? How do you file evenly? It is often said you should only file your nails in one direction to avoid spilling them, but there is no evidence that filing back and forth causes any difference to the condition of the nail. Regarding filing evenly, it’s always best not to go too fast and to constantly check your shape as you go. It helps to check from two different angles – with your hands held up in front of you and with your fingers bent over your palm. What is the best way to deal with hangnails? It is always best to clip off hangnails to stop them from catching on anything and being pulled off further, risking infection. If you don’t have cuticle clippers you can use a nail clipper. Avoid trying to bite it off as this tends to make it worse. Prevention is generally the best method. Invest in a good cuticle oil and apply it as often as you can throughout the day (morning and night at a minimum). Try keeping it by your desk while you work from home and get into the habit of applying it every few hours and after you wash your hands. Doing this will help keep your skin hydrated and supple, preventing it from breaking apart which causes the hangnails. Is cuticle cream better than cuticle oil? How often should I apply it? Cuticle oils are lighter and great for on-the-go or on freshly painted nails, as they don’t need to be rubbed in. Apply as regularly as you can throughout the day. Cuticle creams are thicker and need to be rubbed into your skin and nails, which in turn promotes better blood flow and better coverage. I recommend using cuticle creams just before bed and you can use coconut oil if you don’t have any. How should I deal with a broken nail without any assistance? Broken nails are always a tragedy. Sometimes you just have to admit defeat to avoid damage to the nail and. In these cases, file or cut it down to and start growing it out again. If you get a small crack in the corner or your nail and want to keep your length, you can repair it at home using a tea bag and some nail glue. Clean your nail with a cotton pad and nail polish remover, making sure not to worsen the break. Cut the edges of the tea bag into tiny pieces- just slightly longer than the break. Apply nail glue to the break and place a piece of the tea bag over it. Repeat once it’s dry. Once all the glue is dry use a buffer to gently smooth out the ridge. Reshape the nail and then dust off using a nail brush. Wash your hands and dry thoroughly. Apply either a top coat, or the colour you had on your nails again. Try and avoid putting too much pressure on that nail until it has grown out. Do you recommend clear polish or should I let my nails breathe while I can? I recommend using a good nail strengthener on your nails while you are taking a break from colour. What should I do to keep my nails and hands in good condition? To help keep your hands and nails in good condition it is always best to wear gloves when using harsh chemicals in the house or at work, when gardening, or when having your hands in water for long periods of time. Apply hand cream after you wash your hands when at home and use cuticle oil as often as you can. Try to avoid picking at things like stickers or packaging, which damages the nail. Are there any overnight hacks to keep hands moisturised all night? Use a thicker hand cream at night that doesn’t absorb as quickly and apply just before bed so it can really soak in overnight. If your hands are in need of deep hydration apply a generous amount of hand cream and wear some thin cotton gloves to bed that night. The warmth will help open up your pores and let the cream penetrate deeper. Is there a trick for disguising redness in the skin of winter hands? Keeping your skin hydrated and moisturised is the best thing you can do to avoid redness. Avoid exposing your hands to too much cold air by keeping your hands in your pockets or wearing gloves when you are outside. If it’s for a photo you can use the model’s trick of holding your hand up above your head for a few minutes to quickly get rid of any redness. Finally, what are the steps for a perfect no-polish manicure? Trim nails to an even length and file into your preferred shape Soak your nails for 5 minutes in a bowl of warm water with a drop of oil Remove and pat dry Use a cuticle pusher or teaspoon to gently push back any dead skin growing on your nails and brush away Carefully cut any hangnails with a cuticle clipper making sure you only cut the skin that’s lifted If you have a buffer gently buff your nails all over, going over your nail bed to remove any cuticle left behind Wash your hands and give yourself a hand scrub made from sugar or epsom salts and any enriching oils you have Dry your hands thoroughly and apply hand cream, massaging the palm and between your thumb and index finger, then pinching your way up each finger Apply cuticle oil (or coconut oil!) to your nail beds and rub in gently Et voilà – beautiful hands! Hopefully these tips will help you maintain gorgeous nails throughout the Coronavirus lockdown. Just think how excited we’ll all be once we can get our favourite professional beauty treatments again!