By Sheila Burke, Contributor
CARING FOR your nails is a part of your beauty routine. If they are split, cracked or peeling at the tips, you can mend with special glue and papers. Never peel off finger nails in layers.
For brittle nails, rub waxy lip balm into nails to protect them, condition and seal in moisture three times daily. It's believed that nail hardeners work against your nails because they contain dehydrating formaldehyde that make nails more brittle.
Wear rubber gloves when doing any kind of housework or gardening and never use nails as tools. Fingernails are more like accessories to be decorated with pretty nail colour.
For nail ridges, buff horizontally using a back and forth motion and soft nail disc to smooth them out gently. Rub in a little lotion.
It's not advisable to use your nails to dial telephone numbers, use something like a pencil. This will prevent wear and tear and chipping of polish.
HOW TO WHITEN NAILS
Discoloured nails are caused by exposure to chemicals or smoking. To whiten, mix one tablespoon hydrogen peroxide with two and a half tablespoons baking soda. Using a cotton swab, press mixture underneath and over tops of nails. Leave on for three minutes, rinse with tepid water. This will remove moisture, so rub in a little lotion afterwards.
For dryness and chapping, massage petroleum jelly into hands, nails and cuticles. Warm a pair of cotton gloves and slip on. The heat allows emollients in the jelly to penetrate deeper while the gloves help lock moisture in. Leave on for twenty minutes or overnight.
For nails that won't grow, mix one packet unflavoured gelatine with one tablespoon petroleum jelly; store in an airtight container outside of the refrigerator. Massage into nails daily to help them grow.
If nails are dull and you need a high gloss finish without polishing, use castor oil. Massage a drop into each nail, buff away excess.
Treat yourself to a weekly manicure using nail conditioner and cuticle softener as part of your routine. When using hand lotion, massage it around the cuticles as well to soften them as well as prevent hangnails. If you do not wear nail polish, use a protective type of clear polish to guard against wear and tear.
Shape nails with emery boards to smooth tips. Use direct long sweeping strokes from sides to centre. Do not use a seesaw motion. Do not file nails down into the corners where they join the skin. These are weak points where breakage occurs. When shaping nails, keep tips square or gently rounded, not pointed, to keep tips from cracking.
To even nail lengths, use nail clippers. Careless use of clippers may cause splits at the sides.
After using nail polish remover, always wash hands to remove residue before applying nail colour. Apply colour with a minimum of strokes, starting with enough polish on the brush to complete application to the entire nail. Stroke brush down the centre of the nail from cuticle to the tip. Then, do sides. When dried, apply a top coat to protect it.