As much as we love to treat ourselves to a Jessica Geleration or Manicure the sad fact of life is that most of us generally don’t have time in our busy lifestyles to get to The Barn and maintain its upkeep. So, on Monday evening Elouise from Jessica Nails walked us through the perfect home manicure, giving us amazing tips and tricks to maintain healthy, natural nails and improve what we already have in between trips to The Barn!
You might not have ever thought of nails as complex parts of the body, but in fact they need just as much care and attention as everything else. So before we get started, some fingernail science for you! A fingernail is produced by living skin cells in the finger and composed largely of keratin (a hardened protein) and consists of several parts including:
- The nail plate (the visible part of the nail)
- The nail bed (the skin beneath the nail plate)
- The cuticle (the tissue that overlaps the plate and rims the base of the nail)
- The nail folds (the skin folds that frame and support the nail on three sides)
- The lunula (the whitish half-moon at the base of the nail)
- The matrix (the hidden part of the nail unit under the cuticle where fingernails grow from).
In theory we all have the characterics above, but our nail types are the parts that differ between each of us. So, the first thing Elouise got us to do was try and identify what type of nail we have by going through these next 3 steps:
1) Look at the texture of your nails – how does it feel?
- If it’s smooth this can indicate that your nails are moisture rich.
- Or if your finger drags when you pull it across your nail this can indicate dryness.
2) Look at the characteristics of your nails – what can you see?
- Peeling - is often thought of and treated as a dry nail, when infact it can often be quite the opposite. The nail can actually have too much moisture in it which needs to be rebalanced, causing it to grow out of the matrix too quickly and overlap the layer underneath.
- Damage or White marks - many often think this can be down to a lack of calcium and in some cases it is, but don’t rule out other causes such as, small air pockets that get trapped between layers of your nails due to the nail layers growing out of sync, or simply wear and tear.
3) Finally check the flexibility of your nails – how much do they bend?
- In general, your thumb and index finger are the two that do most of the work in our day-to-day lives, so they’re going to be the firmest, whereas the little finger is usually redundant so less need for firmness. However it’s good to check the overall flexibility of your fingernails by squeezing them from either side of your nail folds.
- If you find your nails are super bendy – this could indicate your nails are moisture rich.
- Or if your nails are not very bendy at all/brittle - this can indicate that not enough moisture is present and can be prone to snapping close to the nail bed.
This was an interesting exercise to complete as none of us had really taken the time to have a good look at our nails before - I can almost guarantee if you're reading this now you haven't either! Depending on what results return from the mini nail examination above, there is a different Jessica treatment for each type. Ask the girls at The Barn on your next visit if you're not sure which treatment is right for you, they'll be able to advise you!
Moving on, we looked at some ways to improve the appearance of our cuticles and natural nails. We soaked our fingernails in a soap-free solution to soften the cuticles before gently using an Orange Stick to push back any overgrowth of the cuticle. If you don’t have time to sit and work at grooming your cuticles, a top tip for everyday; after you wash your hands try to replace the moisture lost by using a moisturising hand emulsion, then placing your thumb in a crease of a towel and gently push your cuticles back to make them more manageable. Also get into the habit of applying a cuticle oil in the evening such as the Jessica Phenomen oil which contains Sweet Almond oil, Rice oil, Johoba oil and Vitamin E to nourish the nails overnight.
Once your cuticles are looking good, it’s time to shape the nail. Using an emery board (not glass or metal nail files), file in one direction straight across the top. Then working inwards from the corner of each nail sweep inline to round off the square edges.
Finally before you apply your chosen regular Jessica nail polish or Phēnom colour, it’s best to remove any surface cream or oils that may stop the polish from setting correctly. So Elouise suggested to us that we “squeak” our nails by using a small nail brush with a soap-free solution to wipe away excess, then rubbing in circular motions with a small towel until they are "squeaky clean!"
After you’ve completed these easy steps, your nails are perfectly prepped to apply your Jessica base coat (suited to your nail type), then apply your colour. Check out my Phēnom blog from a couple of weeks ago to see how to use this for a longer lasting gel-look appearance, or for regular Jessica polish do apply two coats of colour and a top coat for longer lasting nails.
I think all of the ladies who came to this event would agree that this was such an informative night, and everyone went home with beautifully groomed nails!! Thanks Elouise!