Life can be crazy, but it’s impossible to pour from an empty cup. That’s why it’s critical to create time in your week to unwind with a bit of self-care. 

What better way to look and feel good than a perfectly polished manicure?

Even if a hectic schedule makes it feel impossible to wait around in a salon, nail care is an essential piece of everyone’s beauty routine. Men, women, and children all benefit from well-kept nails.

According to the CDC:

“Appropriate hand hygiene includes diligently cleaning and trimming fingernails, which may harbor dirt and germs and can contribute to the spread of some infections… Fingernails should be kept short, and you should clean the undersides frequently with soap and water. Because of their length, longer fingernails can harbor more dirt and bacteria than short nails, thus potentially contributing to the spread of infection.”

With the right tools and know-how, you can maintain your nail hygiene and score some me-time with seven easy steps for an at-home manicure:

  1. Start by investing in tools that will help you get the job done safely. You’ll need clippers, files, buffers, and cuticle nippers. Tweezerman’s all-in-one kits for adults and babies make nail care easy at home and on the go. 
  2. Clean your hands, nails and tools. Start by sanitizing your devices with an antiseptic such as isopropyl alcohol, then give your hands and nails a scrub with an antibacterial soap. Clean the undersides with a stiff-bristled nail brush to get rid of dirt and germs. Nails are easier to trim when they’re softened, so don’t be afraid to spend a little extra time giving them a soak.
  3. Clip your nails by cutting straight across. Doing so helps prevent in-grown and hangnails. Keep them as short as you are comfortable with.
  4. File the edges to your desired shape, but always travel in the same direction as the nail. Filing back and forth across the end can weaken them. Smooth any rough edges to prevent snagging clothing. 
  5. You may push back the cuticles but, use caution so you don’t cut into them. Doing so creates an opening for bacteria to infect the nail beds. You may apply a cuticle remover to exfoliate the area, then use a stainless steel manicure stick to push the softened skin back. 
  6. Treat yourself to a nail conditioning treatment, like dermatologist-recommended Elon® Lanolin-Rich Nail Conditioner. It’s proven to rebuild nails that peel, crack, and split while preventing brittleness, dryness, and ridges. It also works to moisturize your cuticles deeply. 
  7. Finish with an emollient hand cream to maintain long-term nail health. Regular moisturizing helps you avoid dry nails, which are more prone to breaking, flaking and splitting. 
  8. Remember, your nails need moisture just as your skin does, so apply lotion to your nails when applying hand lotion!

 If you have concerns about your nails that can’t be addressed with a file and trim, you should speak with a trusted provider at Advanced Dermatology & Cosmetic Institute. Your nails can be clues to your overall health, so sudden changes in shape, color, or texture may need to be assessed by a professional.