Give Yourself a Hand
Groom and Polish
Much of what you do for your hands will directly benefit your nails, too, as the oils in your hand cream will soak into the nail bed when your hands are wet. “Applying moisturizers to dry nails is a waste of time,” says Bailey. “Put your moisturizer on within minutes after your bath or shower or after washing your hands to benefit your nails.” The same goes when it comes to clipping and filing your nails; by keeping them moist, you can avoid splits and rough edges. If you’re very careful, you can clip the dry part of any hangnail after soaking your hands in water for at least five minutes. However, first carefully disinfect the clippers with soapy water and rubbing alcohol. Whatever you do, don’t cut your cuticles! “Your cuticles form an excellent and necessary seal to keep water and germs out of the fold between your nail and your skin,” says Bailey. Those germs can eventually cause an infection that requires surgical drainage. When it comes to putting the finishing touch on your hands with some polish, look for brands that don’t use damaging ingredients like formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate. Instead, seek out water-based polishes, which offer all the color without the chemical smell. Vegans should be wary of pearly shades, as many contain guanine, an ingredient often made of fish scales used to give a shiny look. If you’re looking for the hottest colors for spring, Pierno recommends the glittery and glamorous. “Try chunky gold or colorful glitter over a deep dark blue for winter, or worn alone into the spring,” she says.
Nail a pretty in pink manicure with formaldehyde- and DBP-free polishes: L’Oréal Paris PRO Manicure in Breaking Curfew, ($5; drugstore .com); Zoya Nail Polish in Reece ($8; zoya.com); SpaRitual in Reveal Yourself ($10; skinstore .com).
Caudalíe Hand and Nail Cream ($5 for 15 milliliters, $19 for 75 milliliters; caudalie-usa .com) is chock-full of antioxidant grapeseed polyphenols.
Swissco Emery Glass Nail File ($7; sallybeauty .com) can be washed and sterilized for many years of use.
Tweezerman Pushy and Nail Cleaner ($17; tweezerman.com) works best after soaking hands in a bowl of warm water with a drop or two of a favorite essential oil.
Kiss Professional Manicure Kit ($10; beautyonlinesupply .com) is a complete set, perfect for use at home or to carry to the salon.