In a recent post we talked about making sure you stay safe when going to the nail salon. But, keeping your nails healthy starts before you enter the salon. The following are things you should do before you go:
Check out the salon
Use our 10 Warning Signs That You Need a New Nail Salon to make sure the salon you are going to is reputable and safe. If you are choosing a new salon, ask friends for referrals.
Leave your cuticles alone
Your cuticles (the folds of skin at the base of your nail) protect your nail matrix. Cutting them leaves you vulnerable to infection. Keep your cuticles intact. If you want to make your nails look longer, use a wooden orange stick and gently push them back.
Leave your nails alone
You might want to shape or buff your nails before going to the salon - just to show you take care of your nails - but it is best to leave them alone. A good manicurist knows the right length and shape of your nails based on your hands; doing it yourself only makes her job more difficult. Explain what you want and your lifestyle and your technician can take it from there.
Check for open cuts or irritation
If you have open cuts on or around your hands (and feet if you are getting a pedicure as well) let your technician know or postpone your appointment until the cuts have healed. Check your nailbeds for redness or irritation. Chemicals and bacteria found in a nail salon increase your risk of infection.
Let your nails breath
Some experts suggest allowing your nails to be polish free for one to two weeks in between manicures. Using polish all the time can increase your risk of developing fungal infections in your nails.
When having a foot treatment (including pedicures), avoid shaving or waxing your legs for 24 hours. Shaving your legs causes superficial nicks that leave you susceptible to infection. You also shave off the top layer of skin, which protects against irritation from perfumed creams and other chemicals.
Maintain your nails at home
Take care of your nails in between appointments. The nail technician can’t give you healthy nails. Use a moisturizer on your hands and feet, making sure to include the cuticles and nails. Not only do healthy nails look better without polish, they help your manicure or pedicure last longer.
Sanitize your own tools
Some women prefer to bring their own tools to a nail salon. If you do, make sure you have washed them thoroughly. If you bring them to make sure you have sanitized tools, it doesn’t help if yours are filled with bacteria.
Check out: 10 Do’s and Don’ts of Nail Care
Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of What Went Right: Reframe Your Thinking for a Happier Now, Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love, and Essential Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.