Nails can be neon, matte, crackled, metallic, they can even be mini works of art. But this is about real beauty and I think one of the prettiest and most wearable trends for nails this summer is pastels.
- Always use a base coat. Pastels may not stain nails as badly as the darker shades, but a base coat provides a more even surface for the polish and should extend the life of your manicure. Try OPI Start To Finish Formaldehyde Free $36.90, a base coat, top coat and nail strengthener in one. While most nail polishes are now free of the three big bad chemicals – formaldehyde, toluene and DBP – some nail treatments and hardeners may still contain traces, particularly of formaldehyde, so it’s good to know this doesn’t.
- Protect your nails from water. They absorb lots of it and, as they dry, contract and become weakened. Strong cleaning solutions will also affect the condition of nails, so it’s worth investing in rubber gloves for when you’re doing the dishes.
- Moisturise your nails regularly, as you would the rest of your body. Rub in hand cream, oil or balm from the cuticle to the tip.
- Avoid hand creams that have alcohol in them, as it will dry out your cuticles. Anything highly perfumed is likely to be a culprit, unless the fragrance comes from natural essential oils.
- Don’t over-buff your nails as it can lead to breakages.
- Remove polish with a gentle product like Leighton Denny Hydra-Flex Treatment And Polish Remover $26, which cleans without drying and is ideal for brittle nails. Or try OPI Expert Touch Polish Remover $7.90, which has nourishing vitamin E, sea kelp, grapeseed oil and aloe vera.
- Get salon-perfect nails by cleansing first with polish remover to get rid of any traces of oil. Paint a fat stripe of colour down the centre of your nail, then one on either side. Use any polish left on the brush to paint the nail edge to prevent chipping. Clean up any errors with a cuticle stick wrapped in cotton wool and dipped in polish remover.