February 8, 2019

With the IMAGE Business of Beauty Awards 2019 just four weeks away (where has the time gone?!), we’re eager to get our nails in the best condition they can be. Two experts (who are nominated in the Best Nail Technician category) have kindly offered us their advice.

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Both of these women are truly masters of their trade, and with years of experience under their belts, we value their recommendations completely. And so, their tips for improved nail health are…

Gel polish and extensions – friend or foe?

There’s been some debate among IMAGE staffers about whether or not we ought to take breaks from gel polish and extensions. Sarah Gaynor, of Sarah Gaynor Nails, says, “In my opinion, if you are using the correct products, correct aftercare, correct application (especially with removal), there is no need to take breaks from gel polish.”

Similarly, Amie Pike of AP Fashion Nails & Beauty says, “When it comes to gel polish – or shellac as most call it – we recommend having it redone every two to three weeks. I find needing a break is up to each individual client; as nail technicians, we take extra care removing it correctly and looking after the condition of the natural nail.”

Related: How to grow your nails when you’ve
been biting them all your life

However, Amie adds, “Unfortunately, some clients’ nails can become weak if they don’t take care of them, i.e. picking or pulling off the gel polish. So sometimes a break is needed.” It all comes down to nail care.

On that note, Sarah says, “The biggest mistake people make is trying to remove extensions and gel polish themselves. By doing this, they are damaging their nail beds. I always suggest going to a professional to get anything removed, and also to make sure the professional is using the correct tools and products.”

What are the best products to strengthen our nails?

“The best product we offer in the salon to strengthen nails is IBX,” says Amie Pike. “This is the only product on the market that penetrates through the nail plate; it’s not a polish treatment that sits on top of the nail plate.” How does it work, we hear you ask. “This amazing hot oil treatment repairs the nail from the inside out,” she explains. “It bonds any pealing nail back onto the nail plate, and the results speak for themselves!”

Sarah Gaynor, on the other hand, swears by Vitalixer by Gelish. “You’ll see instant results, as Vitalixir not only protects damaged nails but actually repairs them. The B5 Pro-Vitamin Organic Complex keeps nails moisturized even under harsh environmental conditions.” This product gives nails their healthy lustre back quickly and safely, she says. “For best results, use daily for two weeks, then apply to the natural nail every other day. For extremely damaged nails, use up to four weeks before resuming use of lacquer and other nail enhancements.”

Should we be taking supplements?

“Yes,” Amie says. “I definitely recommend taking supplements if your nails are in any way weak. This weakness can be caused by taking medication or just lacking in some vitamins,” she explains.

Sarah adds, “I always suggest to my clients, if there is a change in appearance, texture or shape of your nails, it could indicate nutrient deficiencies. Biotin tablets help promote cell growth and aids the metabolism of protein-building amino acids that are essential for nail growth.”

Any tips for taking care of our nails at home?

“For home-care, I always suggest leaving cuticle oil beside your toothbrush; that way you’ll remember to apply it every night before bed, and it can soak in overnight,” says Sarah. “Also, if cuticles get overgrown, push them back gently – and the best time to do this is after a shower or a bath as the cuticles are soft.”

Amie seconds that advice, saying, “My top tip for all my clients is to push back your cuticles regularly, best when just out of the shower or the bath, and also to apply cuticle oil regularly.”

Regular appointments

While home-care is important, nothing beats the work of a professional. Amie says, “In my opinion, the biggest mistake a client makes is not coming in for regular maintenance on their nails. If wearing a long false nail and not maintained every three to four weeks, this can cause stress on the natural nail. Keeping up with your refill appointment makes happy nails.”

Amie Pike and Sarah Gaynor are nominated for Best Nail Technician in this year’s IMAGE Business of Beauty Awards.