The Definitive Guide For Basic Nail Care

Your nails are just as important to look after as your other body parts. Dirt, uneven, and discolored nails reflect a poor personality and thus say a lot about your health and personal hygiene.  

Who wants something other than bright, strong, and long nails? 

If you are looking for a complete guide to basic nail care, you’ve come to the right place. Follow these simple tips and tricks to get gorgeous nails!

Nail Hygiene

Always keep a cuticle pusher by the shower. Why? Because at the end of your shower, the skin is already warm, soft, and clean.

So it becomes easier to gently push the cuticle back to maintain them between your manicures. This will save you a lot of work when you sit down to do a whole nail routine. 

Like out little tip? Read on to find out more tips related to nail hygiene. 

  • Cutting your cuticles is a significant health risk because you leave unprotected cuts on your fingers. This can potentially get infected. Moreover, when the cuticles start growing again, they come back flaky and look messy, which completely ruins your look. So always take help from a professional for cutting cuticles. 
  • Base coats were created to bind with your natural nails and make your manicure last up to one week longer. This happens because our nails produce natural oils, which prevent nail polish from binding well with the nail.
  • Thick coats of nail polish take twice as long to dry (approximately 5–6 minutes), a recipe for a smudging disaster! In general, nail polish is not designed to dry out when it’s thick, which protects it when it’s housed in the bottle. So avoid thick coats of nail polish. 
  • Q-tips are proven lifesavers, especially when it comes to makeup, and that’s why we also incorporate them into our manicure routine. When nail polish gets onto the skin around the nail, get a Q-tip and start wiping.
  • Filing back and forth causes micro-cracks to appear, making nail polish application look brittle and uneven. It also weakens the nails, causing them to break more easily. So always file your nails properly.
  • Applying nail polish around and under the edges of your nails will prevent your manicure from flaking during various activities, including water, especially doing the dishes and washing your hair. Water gets trapped between the nail and the nail polish when we do these activities, causing it to lift and chip around the top edges.
  • Drying your nails in cold water is a widely known tip for people who want to dry their freshly polished nails even faster. However, this is just a myth! Cold water hardens the nails instead of drying them.
  • Instead of shaking your nail polish, roll it slowly and horizontally in your hands!

Nail Trimming

Before you soak your nails, always cut your nails first. You don’t want your nails to absorb the water and get too soft.  Then as you cut and shape them, they will start to fray, like jeans.

Think about the shape that you want first. Do you want something that’s really pointy or an active length that will allow you to do everything you want to do during the day? 

Most nail technicians recommend squared with rounded edges because it doesn’t stagger your pantyhose. It doesn’t snag your clothes, and if you hit your nail up against the wall or anything, you wouldn’t feel it as much because the corners help absorb the shock. 

Thinking about how your nails can do everything for you is excellent. 

When you use cuticle clippers, don’t pull! Only pinch them, and wait to lift them until you have unhooked the skin from the clippers. This helps with fewer injuries and just strengthens the overall health of your nails. 

Softening the nails by soaking them might increase your chances of tearing instead of cutting.

To create the oval look, you definitely cut the nail on a stronger angle, about 45 degrees. And you will cut it as if you are making a v on the nail. You also have to file on a deeper angle because you want to create that oval look. 

It’s almost like you’re filing your nail into a v, and once you get that point, as you can see, the nail is starting to form a point. Always file in the same direction. Squeeze the finger on the side, always downward, to avoid the hang-nails. The result would be a diamond shape or a v at the free edge. 

Moisturizing And Nourishing The Nails And Cuticles

It’s imperative to keep nails and cuticles moisturized. If the top of your fingers is hard, that sounds like calluses. Invest in a good lotion for your hands and use the oils for your nails and cuticle area. If you put your hands in water a lot, use gloves to protect them.

For dry nails, use cuticle/hot oil mix, 2:1 jojoba to Vitamin E. Vitamin E helps with hydration and reducing nail yellowing from frequent polishing. It’s also an antioxidant, so it protects nails from free-radical damage. So with the jojoba, it’s like a 1-2 punch to keep nails healthy and strong. 

Jojoba molecules are the smallest oil (it’s technically an ester, yes). This is why it’s great for the nails. The molecules can fit the deepest between the “shingles.” 

A few years back, there was a shortage of Jojoba molecules. So many have switched to fractionated coconut oil for giving massages, which is now commonly available in any food store as “MCT Oil.”  

This has molecules nearly as small as jojoba, so it’s also very light and absorbs well (doesn’t leave people greasy). Both are highly non-irritating to the skin for most people. Thicker oils — for instance, castor oil is one of the most viscous oils — have the largest molecules. So avoid using that. 

Protecting The Nails

Protecting your nails should be your top priority, no matter what nail procedures you are going for. Don’t use too much remover. 

If your nails are super thin and paper-like, you can use Cuccio Pomegranate and Fig cuticle oil during the day. Both are expensive (the Onyx cream is under $8/jar, and the oil is around $9/bottle). Don’t worry. One container of each will last you for a very long time.

Suppose you have nail polish you don’t like or don’t wear, and you’re low on nail polish remover or acetone. In that case, you can cover your current nail polish with the one you like. This adds more solvent and allows you to re-liquify and then wipe off most of the nail polish you were wearing. 

The remainder can be removed with nail polish remover or acetone. It works if you’re in a (particular) pinch and don’t mind wasting some nail polish. 

Common Nail Problems

Let’s discuss some common nail problems that most people face. 

  1. Biting your nail:  Not only does it look very immature, but you also get rough edges, and your nails become shorter over time. 
  2. Cracked cuticles: These usually end up making your nails very dry. 
  3. Discolored nails: Discoloration of nails is either from smoking a lot or yellow tint on nails comes because of too much nail polish usage. 
  4. Lifting of nails, splitting, or excessive grooving: This is yet another common problem that people face. 
  5. Pitted Nails: MedicineNet states that nail pitting is caused by the defective development of the nail plate layers. It is common for those with psoriasis. They further added that there are 50% more chances of being affected by nail pitting for people who have psoriasis. Dr. Jailman recommends that if you encounter any pitting or dents in your nails, you should speak with your doctor.
  6. Discolored or dark lines beneath the nail: Discoloration or a dark line on the nail can sometimes be caused by melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer. Dr. Anthony elaborates on that by stating that melanoma, which comes from the nail unit, is severe and can also cause a black line or stripe on the nail. 
  7. Bluish Nails: When your nails become bluish, it is a sign that the body may not get enough oxygen. Possible causes could be lung problems and heart problems. 
  8. White spots on nails: These are called leukonychia, a condition in which white lines or dots are present on fingernails or toenails. There is a myth that white spots on nails mean calcium deficiency. But Dr. Anthony explains that this is only sometimes the case. He adds that the white spots are not very significant as they are often a result of trauma, such as hitting your finger against something.

Choosing The Suitable Nail Polish

Here is how you can choose the perfect nail polish for yourself. 

  • Find a few go-to colors for everyday wear and stick to them. This will help when you need help deciding what color to wear to an important event. Go with the one you love the most or are most confident in. Also, if you wear one particular color often enough, people would notice and give compliments – which also helps with decision making.
  • Have at least one nail polish color matching your go-to lipstick. For instance I wear a red nail polish with red lipstick. This combo is my confidence booster and has been working for me for years.
  • Take care of your hands by exfoliating regularly and moisturizing on the go. Find a hand cream that you love and are willing to use (trust me, I’ve had my fair share of money spent on “trendy” or popular hand creams and currently using 1 particular brand that I love now). 

Getting Regular Manicures

Getting regular manicures or giving yourself regular manicures is highly recommended. According to statistics from beauty industry experts, the average woman spends approximately $500 per year on her nails

Since nail care and nail art have become popular on social media, it has grasped the attention of the masses. And they have taken an interest in adapting it to their beauty routine! 

But giving yourself a nice manicure without knowing some essential techniques can ruin your entire image or, even worse, put your health at risk.

For example, sanitizing your tools should be the first step and your number one priority. According to research, the area around and under our fingernails stores the largest amount of harmful bacteria. 

If these tools are not being washed with disinfectant, you are allowing germs to spread and risk contamination. In addition, storing tools in a sealed bag will enable bacteria to fester. 

Sanitizing our tools is paramount. When women are empowered by self-care, it enables us to care for our children and those around us more effectively.

Basic Grooming Routine: How To Do A Manicure At Home 

Below are basic steps that you need to take for a manicure.

  • Using the nail clipper, clip slowly and in small steps along your nail bed so a little edge of white remains. 
  • Use the cuticle clipper to get rid of any hangnails, which are little pieces of skin or nail that standoff in a weird way 
  • Use the file. First, use the rougher side, and hold it perpendicular to your nail. Filing off all the rough edges. The advantage of having a long file versus a small file is that you have a better angle, you’re quick, and you can get to that crack better.  
  • Use the tip of your file and remove any dirt that you may have underneath your nails. If you want to step up, you can get a more extended nail file, a buffing block, a cuticle tool, or a cuticle pusher. This will help you keep your cuticles intact and create a lovely look on your nails.
  • Clip your nails, be slow, use three to four steps, and ensure you stay along the natural curve of your nail and leave some white. An optional step here is to soak your fingers in water beforehand. It makes your nails softer and makes clipping much easier.
  • Use the cuticle pusher and push back your cuticles gently. Once you’ve done that, use the opposite pointy end of your cuticle pusher. This is to remove the dry skin or the dirt around your cuticles. 
  • Use a buffing block which has an excellent sand grip. It’s fantastic to smoothen the edges of your nails without hurting them or creating deep grooves. 
  • Use the pointed end of the cuticle tool and remove any dirt that remains underneath your nails or around the skin, so you have a well-groomed nail by then. At the very end, I like to give my nails a little oil and use nice hand cream.


Clean and well-maintained nails should be just as important as bathing and putting on fresh clothes once a day. These tips, tricks, and helpful nail information will help you achieve the perfect nail look you’ve been waiting for.