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The Dos and Don'ts of Manicures - Common Mistakes to Avoid


Getting a manicure is a simple way to pamper yourself and enhance your natural beauty. However, there are many common mistakes made during manicures that can potentially damage your nails or put your health at risk. In this article, we will explore the important dos and don'ts of getting a salon manicure. 

From sterilization protocols to proper filing techniques, you will learn expert-approved tips to ensure your nails stay healthy, polished looks last longer, and risks are avoided. Read on to separate manicure facts from fiction and arm yourself with knowledge for flawless, low-maintenance results.

What is a Manicure?

A manicure is a nail care treatment that aims to beautify and care for the nails and cuticles. A basic manicure involves shaping the nails, filing cuticles, removing excess cuticle, buffing nails to make them smooth, and applying nail polish if desired. Beyond aesthetics, it works to promote healthy nail growth and development by removing potential bacterial buildup under or around nails.

Sterilization - Keeping Your Nails Safe

One of the most crucial aspects of any manicure is sterilizing all tools and surfaces beforehand. Nail equipment like files, clippers, and buffers can harbor microbes if not properly disinfected between clients in salons or before personal use. Even minor cuts on hands or hangnails leave an entry point for potential infections under non-sterile conditions.

Salons must follow regulatory sterilization protocols like soaking tools in approved antimicrobial solutions. The pedicure bowl's water, if used, must also be replaced between clients. At home, boiling metal tools for ten minutes or using disinfecting alcohol wipes are effective methods. Strict adherence safeguards nail health and hygiene.

Quality Over Quantity

In the beauty industry, marketing often encourages using numerous new polishes, lotions, and other products for maximum results. However, quality should take priority over quantity when selecting manicure goods. Lower-priced supplies may compromise sterility and contain harsh ingredients like formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, and toluene that can harm sensitive nail matrices long-term.

Reputable professional brands devote extensive research to crafting effective, gentle formulas. Although a greater initial investment, high-quality products from salon suppliers nourish nails naturally without risk of reactivity or irritation from questionable additives. Sticking to fewer trusted items also prevents excess clutter and waste of partially used bottles. Quality over quantity is wise advice for a manicure routine that uplifts rather than damages nails.

Proper Nail Preparation

Proper preparation is key to achieving a flawless manicure that lasts. Start by thoroughly washing hands with soap and warm water to remove any oils or residues before beginning. Then, use an orange stick or cuticle pusher to gently push back cuticles on each nail without cutting. This tidies up the nail plate area.

Next, gently file away any visible roughness or previous polish remnants on the nail surface. Avoid filing excessively to prevent weakening the nail bed. Finally, coat in a nail dehydrator or primer before applying polish to improve adherence. Neglecting these simple prep steps often causes polish to peel or chip more quickly from nails not properly cleaned and conditioned first. With minimal effort upfront, manicures maintain beautiful results much longer.

Cuticle Care

The debate on whether to cut cuticles during a manicure has persisted for years in the industry. On one hand, nipping off any hangnails or overgrown cuticle tissue helps refine the nail plate edge for a cleaner look. However, if cut too deeply into the quick living layer beneath, it risks infection or damage like paronychia.

Tori, a nail tech at Vibrant Salon & Spa in Fredericton suggests gently pushing back cuticles with a wood stick is usually sufficient. Cutting should only be considered if there are excessive bits of dead skin clearly separated from the nail fold that do not cause pain when removed. Otherwise, aggression may compromise the protective skin border and admission for microbes. With patience and care, beautifully presented cuticles maintain nail integrity without risk.

The Art of Filing

Correct nail filing form is essential for preserving strength and shape over repeated manicures. Always file in one direction, either side to side or top to bottom motoins, to avoid snags and develop uneven thickness that invites breaks. Hold the file at a low angle close to horizontal plane and apply gentle, even strokes with medium pressure to pare nails gradually without sudden snags.

Rotary tools like electric files are perhaps best left to professionals given their tendency to over-file easily if used carelessly at home. Gentle manual filing with 180-240 grit buffers remains safest for shaping healthy curved nails without risk of damage. Rough filing, using a vertical sawing motion, or over-filing thin fragile areas all encourage cracks and peeling that defeat the manicure's purpose. Precision pays off for nails that hold polish longer.

Avoiding Overexposure

While regular manicures provide benefits when done properly, excessive frequency poses risks. Constant buffing and filing thins the nail plate over time by gradually removing its outer protective layers. Additionally, frequent exposure to polish chemicals, acetone removers, and artificial drying aids like UV/LED lamps may dehydrate or otherwise compromise nail flex if over-relied upon.

Naturalist nail expert Lina Moon recommends limiting salon gel, acrylic extensions, nail dip powder, and soaks to no more than every 2-4 weeks. At home regular polish use should also space applications a similar amount to allow natural hydration between treatments. Over-manipulation prevents nails' self-care processes from functioning optimally. Balance maintains their strength and appearance better than obsessive grooming habits.

Post-Manicure Maintenance

The hallmark of a quality manicure appears in how long its effects last with proper aftercare. Applying cuticle oil 1-2 times daily conditions nails and thickens protective layers. Massage a small amount gently around the nail folds without harsh rubbing that could cause trauma. Heat exposes cuticles to risk more, so cooler rooms suit oiling best.

Keep polished nails dry when washing hands by sealing with a fast-drying top coat for added durability. Also, resist habits like nail biting, aggressive typing, or tool wielding that endangers polish integrity. With small maintenance steps, manicures enjoy extended theater without early wear Indicative of negligee post care. Healthy habits preserve tenure and satisfaction long-term.

Final Words:

Safe manicures stem from sterilizing tools, choosing quality brands, thorough prep, gentle filing, balanced frequency, moisturizing, and separating myth from researched reality. With mindful application of proper techniques and awareness, anyone can remedy nails' appearance beautifully while protecting ongoing health and vibrancy.

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