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Have you ever peeled your nail polish off of your nails or forgotten to use a base coat at the start of an at-home manicure? Well, it’s time to start paying some closer attention to how you take care of your hands and nails. If you’ve ever done a DIY mani, you know that dry skin around your nails and raggedy cuticles can seriously put a damper on your look. Plus, not using a base coat or a top coat can result in your polish chipping pretty quickly—who wants that? Ready to start showing your hands and nails some love? Add the following 10 tips to your beauty repertoire!
Just like you should moisturize the skin on your face twice a day, it’s important to keep your hands nourished, too, so that they don’t become dry. So, stock up on some tubes of hand cream—and toss one in your purse, keep one in your car, and put one on your bedside table so that you can slather moisturizer on wherever you are. Apply the moisturizer to damp skin to help lock in hydration.
You know how your complexion can tend to feel drier when the air is cold and dry? The same thing can happen to your hands. In addition to properly moisturizing, make sure to wear gloves when it’s chilly outside to limit exposure to the frigid elements.
We know: A long, hot shower is probably something you look forward to at the end of a long day—especially if it’s been a particularly cold one. But super-hot water can strip your skin of essential moisture—yikes. Turn the dial down and rinse off in lukewarm water instead.
When your skin is exposed to the sun—and you’re not wearing any protection—this can lead to skin damage and show up down the road on your skin as visible signs of aging like dark spots and wrinkles. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, you should wear a broad-spectrum SPF of 15 or higher year-round (yes, you can get burned even on cloudy days!) and a broad-spectrum SPF of 30 or higher on days when you’ll be spending an extended amount of time out in the sun. Apply sunscreen 15 minutes before you go outside and remember to reapply every two hours!
Ah, this often-overlooked part of your fingers deserves some attention. Rub on a little bit of cuticle oil each day to help care for dry and ragged cuticles.
Do your long nails tend to break easily? Avoid the annoying hassle by cutting—and keeping—them short. Simply trim and file them to the length and shape of your liking—and be gentle while doing so!
The first step to a proper mani is applying a primer to help create a smooth canvas on which to apply your polish. Look for one that is formulated to addresses your specific nail issue, be it ridges, breakage, or yellowness.
Now that you’ve primed your nails, it’s time to put on a base coat. The purpose of applying a base coat is to extend the life of a manicure. Plus, if you’re planning on wearing a dark hue, a base coat can help to prevent polish from staining your nails.
Once your base coat has dried, you can get to work on actually painting your nails. Apply a thin coat of polish, let it dry, then apply a second coat.
It’s time to seal the deal with a top coat to help protect your mani from chips. A top coat can also help to add shine.