The understated, naked nail is definitely having a moment. I’m frequently asked for short, round and natural on shoots.
I usually add a milky white finish in the form of an illuminator or strengthening base to give that ‘tanned hand, holiday look’.
Tools To Invest In:
A fine file (150/280 grit)
A fine buffer (180/220 grit)
An illuminator/Brightener or Strengthening base coat
Nail Varnish Remover
1. Trim and shape the nail using a fine file with little pressure. File the side walls straight, and round off the corners for a neat look.
Tip: It’s better to file before softening or soaking the nail.
2. Clean the hands and under the nails using an anti-bacterial hand wash or scrub, and nail brush if needed. Apply a little hand cream to the backs of the hands to stop them from drying out.
3. Gently ease back cuticles with a cuticle pusher. If your cuticles are a little tough, apply cuticle remover to soften first. Wait a few minutes before wiping off and using the cuticle pusher.
4. Use a fine buffer to refine the surface of the nail. Pay particular attention to the area where you have just pushed back the cuticle. Don’t buff too much (or too regularly). You just want to stimulate blood flow and smooth the nail, NOT thin it out.
Tip: Wipe any product off the nail first to avoid clogging your buffer.
5. Use cuticle nippers to remove any hangnails. If you really must, only trim excess cuticle. Don’t cut the cuticles off completely. They act as a protective seal to stop bacteria from entering the nail and causing infection. When using cuticle nippers, squeeze firmly. Don’t pull or tear the skin.
6. Squeak clean the nail with a gentle, mild nail polish remover. Pure acetone will dehydrate the nail too much and cause brittleness and splitting.
Tip: Use a lint-free nail wipe or double-faced cotton pad, to avoid fibres being left on the nail.
7. Apply an illuminator, brightener or strengthening base coat for a shiny, whitish finish.
8. Once dry, massage cuticle oil around the nails and reapply hand cream.
Keep your favourite hand cream in you bathroom, in your bag, on your desk and/or by your bed. Try to get into the habit of applying hand cream after every time you wash your hands, even if it’s just on the backs of the hands and nails and not the palms. Water is very drying on the skin because it evaporates, zapping the natural oils in the process. Ideally, moisture needs to be replaced immediately.
Keep cuticle oil in your bag to quickly refresh your manicure (it hides a multitude of sins around your cuticles!) and by your bed, applying every night.
Cuticle oil contains a blend of nourishing oils that promote healthy nail growth. As well as keeping nails conditioned and hydrated, which in turn, prevents brittleness and splitting.
Occasionally, use a hand scrub to wash your hands instead of your usual hand wash to exfoliate the skin. Ideally before bed, followed by cuticle oil and hand cream.