How to Keep Your Nails in Tip-Top Condition at Home

by The First Refresh

Between work, family, errand running and household maintenance and a social life (if you’re lucky!), it can be hard to fit in time at the beauty salon or spa. But there’s nothing quite like perfect painted and polished nails to make you feel brand new and ready to tackle whatever life throws at you. Here are some ways you can keep your nails in tip-top shape from the comfort of your home.

Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise

Hand cream not only protects the skin on your hands, it also protects your nails and cuticles. A well-moisturised nail will grow out stronger and be less prone to chipping, splitting or cracking. Cuticle cream is great, too. It’s like lip balm for your fingers.

Look for a rich moisturiser to put on your hands at night and an oil-free one for daily use. It can be difficult to do some everyday tasks with slippery hands, so use a light cream during the day, unless you’ll be sitting down for a while and not using your hands. Keeping a bottle of hand cream in your bathroom sink, beside the hand soap, is a good way to get into the habit of moisturising your hands regularly.

Leave your cuticles alone

Cuticles protect the base of your nail from bacteria as the new nail grows out. Cuticles that have been picked or pushed back too forcefully look messy and are prone to infection. You can get cuticle removing cream or paste to use at home, but if in doubt, leave cuticles to the professionals. Nail technicians have the best tools and know how much is too much when working on the cuticles. 

File gently

Sawing back and forth on your nails with a harsh file can weaken the nails and cause them to split. File gently and take your time. This way you’ll be able to achieve the desired shape more precisely, too. Fine glass files or emery boards are best for your nails - avoid the metal files that come in "all-in-one manicure kits". 

Wear gloves when doing household chores

Between washing the dishes, mopping the floor and cleaning the bathroom, nails can be subject to many stressful, drying chemicals. That stuff’s not great for your skin, either. Don a pair of rubber gloves before tackling these chores, to protect yourself. Some even come with a nice fleecy lining so they feel more comfortable and less sweaty. 

Pro-tip: Slather on some hand cream before wearing the gloves, to give the cream time to penetrate into your skin and nails. Just be sure to change your gloves regularly for the sake of good hygiene.


Always use a base coat with polish

If you’re using coloured polish on your nails, it might be tempting to skip the base coat. After all, you can’t see it, right?! But this isn’t a good idea. Clear base coats act as a barrier between your nail and the coloured polish. Some darker or brighter polish colours have a tendency to stain the nail, especially if used repeatedly. A yellow nail doesn’t look good. Clear base coats also provide a smoother surface for the polish to adhere to, potentially helping your at-home manicure last longer.

Book an at home manicure service

Speaking of at-home manicures, if you’d rather leave the work to the professionals or if you want something more specialised (like a gel manicure or nail art), why not order an at home manicure service? At-home pedicures are possible, too, if you’re after a full foot soak, exfoliation and massage. 

Mobile beauty services are ideal for busy women as your nail technician comes fully equipped, right to your doorstep. If you have a group of friends coming over for a special occasion (wedding prep, birthday party, etc), group services are a fun way to treat your friends and yourself with minimal effort. And you won’t have to hobble back to your car afterwards, wearing flip-flops, because your toenails are still wet! Win-win.

Bonus tip: Don’t try to remove gel nails yourself

Most people who have had a gel manicure at some point will know how it feels when the polish begins to crack or peel off at an inconvenient time. It may be tempting to try to remove the polish yourself, but this is a recipe for disaster and very sore nails. If you’re in emergency need of a gel polish refresh but are thinking “there’s nowhere to get a manicure near me”, call an at home manicure service, for a personal nail technician to your door to save the day.