Nailed it

Peeling, flaking and thinning nails - Recommendations for a host of nagging nail issues

The problem... peeling or flaking nails

Diet, water exposure, dehydration and over-zealous filing and buffing can all cause nails to peel and flake. Bryony McMillan, OPI Educator, warns: “If the nails are filed in a ‘see-saw’ motion the movement can cause flaking. Don’t opt for cheap files as they can be very harsh; the rough, uneven surface can tear the natural nail. Only file the nail across in one direction and don’t buff the nails more than once a week; over-buffing causes thinning and can lead to peeling.” Crystal nail files are generally regarded as the most gentle and effective, requiring much less action for a good result.  Picking off nail enhancements like acrylics can also cause nails to flake, as layers of the natural nail are also removed: ensure customers always leave removal of enhancements to the professionals. Regular use of hydrating treatments can also help. Charlotte Knight, founder of Ciaté, says: “Especially during the winter, nails can become dehydrated causing them to peel and flake. To avoid this I would recommend a good nail oil to nourish the cuticles and treat nails from the bottom up. Marula oil in particular contains powerful antioxidants that hydrate deeply while nourishing, healing, moisturising and improving nail health and skin elasticity.”

The problem... thin, bendy nails

Nails often become very thin and bendy after the removal of enhancements like acrylics or after too many gel manicures. A deficiency of calcium can also cause weak, bendy nails, so encourage customers to ensure they have a balanced diet that provides the calcium they need, and to supplement if necessary. Regular use of strengthening nail treatments will help to harden the nails and prevent them from splitting and breakage, and over-filing and buffing should be avoided.

The problem... nails that break easily

Nail breakage is a frustrating and often painful, yet common annoyance. Knight explains: “If nails are too brittle and dehydrated this can cause breakage and they won’t grow past a certain length, a bit like hair. I created a product to respond to this need: Status Grow. This hydrating, anti-oxidising complex of vitamins A, B5, C, E and F activates keratin production to stimulate nail growth while respecting the natural physiology of the nails.” Regular use of nail and cuticle oil will also help to keep nails hydrated and flexible, and therefore less likely to snap. Most women have also experienced the pain and misery of a severe nail break, and the resulting confusion about how to treat it. McMillan suggests: “Nails can break because they’re too long for the lifestyle and get in the way of everyday life. Try to keep
them at a sensible length to avoid breaks but if they do occur too far down the nail to cut and file away, try using nail glue to hold it in place until it grows out. Ensure the nail is cut down to prevent it catching on anything.”

The problem... dry, ragged or overgrown cuticles

Cuticles have a specific purpose: they protect the nail bed from bacteria and dirt, preventing infection. For this reason they should never be cut, according to McMillan: “As the cuticle’s purpose is to protect, if it is cut or removed it can grow back a lot thicker as the body quickly tries to repair and replace it. Use a cuticle treatment twice a week such as OPI Avoplex Exfoliating Cuticle Treatment as this contains AHAs, which eat away at the dead skin and help to reduce thick cuticles, eliminating the desire to cut them off,” she says. The treatment should be applied and massaged into cuticles before pushing them back gently with a cuticle stick, then washed off with soapy water. Daily application of a moisturising cuticle oil will help prevent cuticles from drying out and splitting.

The problem... polish doesn’t last

If customers complain that colour doesn’t last on their nails, make sure they’re following a few simple steps designed to maximise the longevity of their polish. Knight advises: “One thing that often gets missed out from a manicure routine is ensuring the nails are completely clean of any oils or dirt that might cause polish to lift or chip prematurely. I would always recommend to cleanse with nail polish remover, even if they are free from polish, or use Ciaté Base Balance to eliminate excess moisture and ensure absolute polish adhesion.” When nails are completely dry a base coat should be applied to ‘anchor’ the colour and to protect nails from staining, then colour should follow. Sam Watkinson, Louella Belle Educator, says: “Paint thin layers of colour as thick coats are prone to chipping, and don’t forget to finish with top coat.” This will add a desired finish (gloss or matte) and help to prevent colour chipping for longer lasting colour.

The problem... a colour rut

Look to the spring/summer 2015 runways for colour inspiration to pass onto customers that are bored of wearing the same nail colours. Adam Slee, Rimmel London Nail Expert, says: “There was a big trend for block nail colours on the catwalk this SS15. Graphic nail art is also a big trend this season: pair clashing block shades together to create a simple yet effective nail look. For me the twist on a traditional red nail was most interesting, with different depths and tones being worn at shows like Alexander McQueen and Ungaro. Red is the new nude! It’s key to pick the right shade for your skin tone: the contrast of paler skin works best against vampy red nail polish, while darker skin tones can wear bright red shades.” For the less adventurous, inspiration may come from the past, according to Knight: “It seems that every year we never stray too far from traditional trends,” she says. “Spring is always about pastels and more muted colours, and summer is about accentuating a tan and playing with colour. But I am seeing more texture for this spring, particularly more matte, chalky finishes. Summer is either about monochrome shapes or metallic foils.”

Helping Hands

Perfectly manicured nails are often let down by less-than-lovely hands. These areas are often exposed to environmental aggressors like pollution, UV and harsh weather, and therefore age more quickly than other parts of the body, meaning extra TLC is necessary to keep them looking and feeling as healthy as possible. Nicola Kilner, Group Brands Director at Deciem, which produces Hand Chemistry, says: “Although many people understand the importance of using highly active ingredients within their facial skin care, hands are often left neglected. Even during the coldest months they are often left exposed to the environment. With moisture loss contributing to one of the most obvious signs of skin ageing (dehydration), it is really important to protect the hands from harsh, drying effects instead of simply covering up dryness with surface moisturisers. Hand Chemistry’s Extreme Hydration Concentrate not only encourages the skin to create more of its own hyaluronic acid, it also uses a Protective Shield Matrix to act as an invisible glove on the surface of the skin, ensuring moisture is kept in and the hands remain protected.” As well as hydrating with a good hand cream regularly, a number of other preventative steps can help to keep hands looking and feeling healthy. Tracy Mort, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Grace Cole, advises: “Protect your hands when gardening and doing the housework, especially when washing up. Invest in a pair of latex-free rubber gloves and ensure you wear them! This will help to protect the delicate skin on the back of your hands from harsh cleaning agents and the drying effects of overexposure to water. Once the moisture barrier of your skin has been compromised, it’s hard to restore. You can tell that your moisture barrier has been compromised when your skin prunes! When in the sun always wear a good quality sunscreen; choose a product with a minimum SPF 20. This will help to reduce the chance of developing age spots and protect skin from UV damage. While washing your hands, use mild pH soaps and make it a point to immediately follow with lotion, and apply lashings of hand cream… to intensely hydrate and revitalise hands and nails, and to leave them smooth and youthful.”

The Brand Guide

Grace Cole Boutique Softening Hand & Nail Cream is enriched with natural extracts that work together to intensely hydrate nails and revitalise hands, leaving them soft, smooth and youthful-looking. Meanwhile, Boutique Cleansing Handwash cleanses hands with natural extracts and leaves them refreshed, soft and delicately scented. Both are available in six scents: Wild Fig & Pink Cedar; Grapefruit, Lime & Mint; Orchid, Amber & Incense; White Nectarine & Pear; Nectarine Blossom & Grapefruit; and Vanilla Blush & Peony. RRP from £4, Grace Cole, gracecole.co.uk.

Seche Rebuild helps to strengthen thin, weak, soft or peeling nails. The unique protein formula seals the layers of the nail together. With each application, it reinforces and thickens nails, providing durability while promoting strength and flexibility. RRP £11.29, Louella Belle, louellabelle.co.uk.

butter LONDON Nail Apothecary is a boxed set of travel size nail treatments designed to act as a ‘medicine cabinet’ for the fingertips, helping to strengthen, protect, repair and hydrate nails. The set includes Melt Away Cuticle Eliminator, an exfoliating gel to decrease cuticle size and hardness; Horse Power Nail Fertilizer, a rejuvenating treatment to strengthen and repair nails; Nail Foundation Flawless Basecoat, a silk-finish, stain-resistant base coat; Hardwear P.D. Quick Topcoat, a wet-look top coat; Matte Finish Shine Free Topcoat, to turn any colour flat and matte; and Handbag Holiday Cuticle Oil, a coconut and pineapple scented nourishing oil. All products are free from formaldehyde, toluene and DBP. RRP £35, butter LONDON, butterlondon.co.uk.

Hand Chemistry Extreme Hydration Concentrate repairs dry skin and protects it from the elements with its complex of five active technologies from marine and plant sources. The Pseudoalteromonas Complex leaves hands softer and more confortable, while a unique HA Pre-Cursor encourages skin to consistently create more of its own moisture. RRP £18.99, Deciem, handchemistry.com.

OPI Hawaii Collection brings the bright colours of its namesake island to nails for spring/summer 2015. The 12-strong collection features a palette ranging from muted tones of mint, peach, pink and nude to bolder hues of coral, green, purple and gold. The Little Hulas Mini Nail Lacquers set includes Suzi Shops & Island Hops, a light pink; pastel mint green That’s Hula-rious; reef-inspired purple Lost My Bikini In Molokini; and Aloha from OPI, a bright, creamy coral. RRP from £11.95, Coty Beauty, opiuk.com.

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