Jun 22 2012

Nail Art Tutorial: Nail Care 101

Hello lovelies! I was asked by Masa from Hearting Handmade about how I took care my cuticles the other day, and thought it was a good idea to have a nail care dedicated post (thanks Masa!). This post is all about the basics, and some of you must already know how to take care of ya self, but I’m sure you’ll enjoy ‘before and after’ photos at the end. So, here is the how-to for healthy nails!

* For this tutorial, I asked Mr T (my hubby) to hand model. Because… for me, to share the photos of my ‘untreated’ cuticles to the world was as embarrassing as swimming backstroke with hairy armpits on world broadcasted TV… So, apologise in advance for manly (and hairy) fingers :)

Step 1

Nail Care 101

Put warm water in a bow, and soak your fingers for a few minutes. You can skip this step if you do your cuticle care every week, or if you have just had a shower/bath.

Step 2

Nail Care 101 t3

Dry your hands with a towel, and apply cuticle remover on your cuticles. How long you need to leave it on depends on the product, so follow the instructions of your remover (I only needed to leave one minute).

Step 3

Nail Care 101 t2

While you are waiting, get ready for the next step. Wet the tip of an orangewood stick with water, and place it on a cotton pad. Twirl the orangewood stick so that a thin layer of cotton wraps around the tip. Twirl the tip on the palm of your hand to tighten the wrap (the tip in the fourth image is too wet, I soaked it for too long).

Step 4

Nail Care 101 t4

Wipe the cuticle remover with paper towel or cotton pad, then gently push back the cuticle in small circular motion. Change the cotton on the orangewood stick if it becomes too damp.

Step 5

Nail Care 101 t5

If there is any stubborn cuticle, use metal/plastic cuticle pusher. But really, be gentle with it!

Step 6

Nail Care 101 t6

Wash your hands with soapy water, and apply cuticle oil on your cuticles. Your cuticles are really dry at this stage (because of the remover) so feed them with plenty of moisture. Gently massage your hands, fingers and cuticles with hand cream to stimulate the blood circulation; happy cuticles grow much stronger nails, seriously!

Step 7

Nail Care 101 t7

You can trim your nails either before or after the cuticle care, but while doing so, do not cut your nails with nail clippers, and file your nails instead. File at 45-90 degrees angle, and file only in one direction with long strokes.

Nails are made of different layers, and by cutting your nails the layers can separate from each other – this causes weak, brittle nails that crack easily. I used to cut my nails and have brittle nails, but after I started using a nail file, they gradually became stronger.

So, here are the before and after photos.


Nail Care 101 before


Nail Care 101 after

Quite an improvement, no? Thanks Mr T for hand modelling (and for sparing me the embarrassment)!

I usually do the nail care routine the night before I change my nail art, simply because I want to moisturise my hands and nails properly. If you are going to apply nail polish after cuticle care, wipe your nails with nail polish remover so that the polish lasts much longer (excess oils prevent the polish from adhering properly).

And most importantly, I know that some people cut excess cuticles with a cuticle nippers, but… I think you should leave that to a professional. I repeat. Don’t cut cuticles unless you are a professional. Cuticles act as a seal and protect you from getting bacteria and fungi. Getting rid of excess cuticles (dead skins, really) will help grow healthy nails, but getting rid of healthy living cuticles will only damage the nails (and your body).

Nail Care 101 tool

Last but not least, let me introduce you to my hand care buddies. From left: Organic Vitamin E Skin Lotion from Dr. Organic (I use it throughout the day), Protective Hand Cream from Paul & Joe (it’s SPF15/PA+, and I use it when I go out), and Natural Cuticle Treatment from Flower Power (use it before I go to bed).

Since turning 30 a few years ago, I noticed that my hands and nails became much drier than before. Then… one day I realised that my nails’ ridges (vertical ones) got deeper. So I started moisturising my hands and cuticles throughout the day, and the ridges got a little bit better (phew!). So, ladies, taking the basic care goes a long way :)

Hope you enjoyed the tutorial, and if you know some other tips for nail care, share with me and the readers! Have a lovely weekend :)

I’m linking this post on Today’s Creative BlogHome Stories A 2 Z, Katie’s Nesting Spot, Sassy Sites!, The Shabby Nest and Flamingo Toes; make sure you check them!

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5 Commnents to “Nail Art Tutorial: Nail Care 101”

  1. Thank you for the complement on my (and my hubby’s) nails, Susan!

    As for your questions, I don’t really have any rules but I usually keep the same design on for a week. I try and leave my nails unpolished for a day, but my nails feel so much stronger with some polish on when I do craft that involves wires :)

  2. First of all, you (and your husband) have lovely hands and nails. And, thank you so much for the nail care tutorial. I have been enjoying many of your tutorials since finding your site.

    My questions are, I think, related to nail care. I was wondering how long you keep your nails polished (in one style) and how long do you keep your nails unpolished between styles. Any rules and/or preferences?


  3. So far you have answered everything I needed to know!

    btw, I hope I didn’t hurt anyone who bites nails! I know it’s an addiction to some and I don’t think they are bad people because of it … it’s just that it’s one of the first things I notice, especially if I’m looking for a partner. it’s only my personal annoyance. :)

  4. I’m glad that the how-to was helpful, Masa! And you made my hubby a happy bunny (he has really big nails, and his little finger nail is about the same size as my thumb nail!) :)
    And yes, I hate men with nail biting habits, too – do they taste good or what, I don’t understand… Anyway, let me know if you have more questions about nail care :)

  5. oh, I can’t thank you enough for sharing this! I’ve never been to a professional to learn how to take care of my nails properly. I already have the orangewood stick, but I have to get some other things you mentioned.

    also thank you for letting me know why it isn’t good to clip the nails. my nails crack too easily!

    btw, your hubby has beautiful nails, especially for a guy. ;) I hate it when men bite their nails – I may be too vain, but bitten nails are really turning me off (and I think it’s an indicator of nervousness that can also have an undesirable effect on a potential relationship).
    I loved before and after photos!

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