Frequently Asked Questions Addressed By Pamela

Why do I have white spots on my nails?

That can be from old nail bed or “Matrix” damage. If you bang around your fingers a lot in your profession or like me in using a wheelchair to get around, you can end up with white spots that have to grow out. In some cases ridges or dents that appear out of the blue are results of a nail matrix injury. These can be permanent so it’s always good to be wary around your finger-tips.

I have really dry cuticles, what can I do to get them in shape?

If it was me, and I have been there when I first started about a month or so ago, I started by oiling my cuticles with olive oil in a small dropper bottle. If you have some free edge, the length doesn’t matter, just having some free edge to put oil underneath the nails to soak up from that direction will help the health of the nails and surrounding tissues. The other thing you can do is get a pair of cotton manicure gloves, the Dollar Tree has them occasionally for a dollar, Sally's also carried them for about $2.50 and you can’t go wrong. Use these at night after putting on lotion on your hands and arms and where ever else you might chose to apply the lotion. The gloves hold the moisture in against the skin and nails, from the lotion longer so it has more time to work and soak in.

Why do I need to wear a base coat or top coat on my nails?

Base coats are there to give colored enamels something to bond to. They also prevent nails from yellowing after wearing deep dark colors. The nails naturally put out oils and base coats can stick better to this, then colored enamel on its own. There are all kinds of base coats, I like the Beauty Secrets line in Sally’s for the ridge filling base coat. That is a fantastic product. I will be showing a before and after of my Step- Grandmother’s nails since I will be doing them for her and it’s interesting to see products like this put to the test against real nails with ridges. Their top coat is fabulous too. Top coat is necessary to seal in a manicure. By itself colored enamels will chip much faster than if you top coat them, and repeat the top coat procedure every two days to extend the life of your manicures and polishes.

What can I do to help stop my nails from peeling and breaking?

Peeling is a sign of dryness as is breaking. If you are having these problems I highly recommend oiling your nails like I do after deep hand washing, showering, or doing dishes. Anything exposing your hands to water for longer than two minutes, means that your nails need that moisture back that they lost when you had your hands immersed in water. In my experience you have to be patient with this growing out process. But you can have nice nails. It takes time, but if you take a supplement with biotin, gelatin and collagen there’s no way if you take it consistently that you won’t see an improvement in the strength of your nails, particularly if you oil them regularly.

If a nail peels but doesn’t break, just know it is going to break most likely, however you can gently buff out the layers to be smooth again and re-polish it from base through top coat and that might extend its time before breaking to give you more time to grow out good nail behind the weakened part. Nails are a reflection of our health, if they are a little yellow and you wear polish that’s harmless, but if you have blue or purplish nail bed, the part that is supposed to be pink, it can mean you are having circulation issues. Finger nails grow at about a millimeter or so give or take, in a week and can take 6-8 months to grow out permanently. So make a firm commitment if you really want to see a dramatic difference, be in it for the long haul, develop your routine and stick with it.

How often should I manicure my nails and how often can I change polishes?

You can manicure your hands every week if you like, or set up a ten-day routine or whatever works for you. I like to do a weekly manicure and a bi-weekly polish change. It depends, many times I used to just do the top coat polish extension trick of top coating every two days, and go for as long as possible. But with how my nails peeled and ripped it wasn’t practical anymore. So now that I have begun supplements and oiling after hand washing, weekly manicures and on the spot buffing out snags my nails are looking much better. As for polish changes, I would leave them on for as long as you need or change them when you need to, a polish change every few days is not unheard of. Bi-weekly works for me because I don’t have a lot of time, but I want my nails to looks good. Trust me if I can do it you can too!

Do you use the three-stroke method of polish application?

Yes, I prefer it and have used this since starting, it’s just that much easier, and I started polishing my nails as a preteen. You start with a generous stroke to the center of the nail, and then you go to the left and stroke into it the center one from the first down to the edge of the nail near, but not on the skin of the finger. Then you do the right side, blending it into the first stroke as you did with the other side, being careful not to polish the area in front of the cuticle. Try to leave about a millimeter or so of breathing room so you don’t have to clean up the cuticles themselves. This to me is the cleanest way to apply polish.

Do you roll or shake your polishes?

I personally was taught by my nail technician specialist teacher, to roll them, but I grew up as a teen shaking, so I can tell you from personal experience that although the rolling is slower to get the polish evenly mixed if it’s been sitting too long, it is better because you get more bubbles if you shake polish, rather than rolling it.

How do you avoid getting polish on your skin?

I use the three-stroke method for polishing, but there’s another thing I talk about doing, using Vaseline in a very thin coat around the cuticles, before any polish is applied. Use a very thin coat and then run a q-tip with alcohol over the nail beds to get off any Vaseline you might have gotten on the nail beds, then polish as usual. Let dry and then use an orange wood stick with a slightly wrapped tip in cotton, dipped in remover, to clean up the skin where any polish might have gotten. This is a great trick for perfect application, though it is time consuming, it really does make clean-up a breeze.

What is the strongest shape for my natural nails?

Square tipped, or just barely filed on the edges of the free edge. This shape offers the most strength to the natural nails. Rounded might look better to some people and it’s a good shape, but nails will tend to fold over more frequently when stressed then they will if they’re squared off. I like gently rounded, but almost squared. Try different shapes and see which one suits you the best.

Okay, how long does it really take polish to set?

That depends, it’s really dependent on many factors, like how much humidity is in the air, that can have an impact as can room temperature. Really though nothing will help them set faster than time. 15 minutes for dry to the touch, and 1 hour for dry set. A true setting of the polish though, takes more like 24 hours, what you polish today will be fully set by tomorrow. That’s really how it works, even with fast drying polishes. 15 minutes to dry to the touch or addition of the second coat. I always wait for the second coat, because you figure the dried base coat has to set with the first polish application on top of that, so I will let this dry at least 10 minutes, then do the next coat, and then let that dry about 15 – 20 minutes before doing the top coat. And from there it takes about 30 minutes to dry out again, but you have to be wary of what you ding your nails against or you’ll have polish mistakes.

What is the best way to remove glitter polish?

There is a method I like to use called ‘the foil method’ where you take 100% acetone remover, which can be purchased at Sally’s or Walmart. You soak a cotton ball or pad with it, and take a 4” square of aluminum foil and wrap that over top of the acetone soaked cotton with it over the nail. Leave this in place for 3-4 minutes and then gently but firmly remove both in a downward pulling motion. This will eliminate most if not all of the polish. It’s a great way to remove those hard to remove, but fun to wear, glitter polishes.

The other tip I have for removing polish, is to use Vaseline, on the nail plate and around the cuticles before applying the 100% acetone remover to your nails on a cotton pad or ball. This is a wonderful way to get the remover power of 100% acetone without it drying out your cuticles and nails. You will need to scrub your nails with a nail brush afterwards though, to remove all the leftover Vaseline, so it won’t interfere with your application of base coat and colored polish. 

If you have any questions you’d like to add feel free to email them or post them in comments, I will edit them into this page and as always, thank you for reading and I hope this is useful information for you.