There’s no doubt that colder months are hard on your body. You may not necessarily prioritise updating your nail care routine, as much as, say, switching to your winter wardrobe, but it is just as important if you want to keep all that hard work you’ve put into maintaining your cuticles from getting ruined by the cold.
Even if you're not one of those people who feels the cold in their bones, you're not immune to the way cold, dry air sucks the moisture out of your skin. And in the winter, it's even more annoying to have to cart your mangled fingers to the beauty salon when it’s soo cold out – but trust us, we highly recommend that you keep your nail appointments – a winter with bad nails just doesn’t bear thinking about.
By making some easy tweaks to your autumn/winter nail care routine, you can take comfort in the fact that your nails are being taken care of at home too, in between nail appointments. Just sit back by the fireplace and drink tea while your nails gleam and glow like celestial bodies. None of the changes our nail technicians suggest are huge departures from what you should already be doing, but they yield big results, and help avert big disasters.
1. NEVER GO OUT NAKED
We’re obviously talking about your nails here. Naked nails are mani enemy number one and must be avoided at all costs if you want to survive the winter (and the rest of the year, while we're at it.) It's a myth that nails need to ‘breathe’. They can absorb oils, but they don't have lungs. When your nails have a coat of armour in the name of a base coat, polish, and top coat, they're protected from enemy number two: water. They're also less likely to break and peel because they're protected from the elements and daily wear and tear. Remember: a naked nail is a sad nail. This is the topcoat all our salon guests are gaga over right now:
2. AVOID WATER
Water is bad for your nails. Like, really bad. Your nails absorb it, and get all boated, which can eventually push the oils out. You need the oils – and not only that, water absorption makes nails super weak. And the expansion from the water bloat breaks the bond between your nail polish and your nail, causing it to chip. Before you get in the shower or do anything in water, make sure your nails are protected, topside and bottom-side, with base coat, polish, and topcoat. Be sure to swipe at the very tip of your nail, too, to cap everything off and seal out water. Once you're done, you guessed it, moisturise, moisturise, moisturise.
3. LOTION UP MORE THAN NORMAL
Your nails love lotion more than you know. Dry air is pretty much the worst element for your skin and your hair, but it also messes up your nails.. Maintain moisture in both your nails and your cuticles in order to prevent splitting, peeling, and breaking nails. Painful hangnails, cracked and bleeding cuticles, and chewed-up looking skin around your nails improves and eventually goes away, too. A fool-proof moisture strategy for the winter months is to use hand cream several times a day, especially after you wash them or get them wet. Apply cuticle oil in the afternoon, before your lotion, and use a thick hand cream at night. A thick hand cream will seal in moisture, so if you want to use a cuticle oil before you apply that, too, even better.
4. REPLACE MOISTURE IN THE AIR
Humidifiers work wonders for making dry, cold air into warm, moist air. Warm, moist air doesn't suck the life out of your skin, hair, and nails. And you don’t need to break the bank either to get a decent humidifier. If you don't have one (and don't want to buy one) you can boil a pot of water on the cooker for at least some moisture. Just don't burn down your house. Oh, and while we're on the topic of humidifiers, you can get one for your desk too (if you’re back in the office that is), and some are even meant for adding stress-relieving essential oils, which diffuse into the air. Lurrrvlyyy.
5. SKIP CHEAP NAIL STRENGTHENERS
Nail strengtheners and nail hardeners do just that — they make your nails strong and hard. But strong and hard is not what you want, believe it or not. What you want is strong and flexible. Flexible nails break less. Hard nails crack, chip and break more easily. We know it sounds counter-intuitive, but it's better to skip the hardeners and instead use a cuticle oil and good hand cream religiously instead. A good basecoat is plenty of nail protection, especially from our OPI Pro Spa range which also offers a Nail and Cuticle Oil that provides the next level nutrition you’ve been looking for.
Plus, the OPI Nail Envy range delivers intense relief to damaged nails – which, if you’re on the market for a nail strengthener, as opposed to a hardener, is *the* treatment to go for, instead of cheaper alternatives that simply don’t contain the same high-quality ingredients. In fact, we offer 4 OPI Nail Envy products: the Original, also available in a gorgeously plush Bubble Bath shade, Dry & Brittle and Sensitive & Peeling.
6. WEAR GLOVES
Gloves make nail care so easy. They protect your hands from all sorts of things, from grabbing your car door handle wrong and breaking a nail, to the excess moisture that weakens your nails when you’re washing the dishes. Plus, if you're going to be cleaning off a windshield or shovelling a driveway, you need that extra protection. Because your nails are not tools, and should not be contributing to the snow removal efforts better left to scrapers and shovels.
7. FILE YOUR NAILS OFTEN
Since you'll be wearing gloves whenever you go outside, it's important that your nails are free of ridges and cracks. Especially as you'll be wrangling more scarves and sweaters, and getting your chipped nails caught in knitwear is one annoying thing you can live without this winter. Most of the ridges and cracks that lead to tears, snags or breaks are the ones you can't even see. Filing them gently two to three times per week will make sure those edges stay smooth.
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