Retro Rerun: Protecting Your Nails

| Mar 6, 2023
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By Diane Kaye

There are two types of nails we gals use: glue-on/nail tab — and real ones. With glue-on’s you take your chances, and if it falls off you glue a new one on. The real ones are a different story. They take time to grow and shape, and once made you don’t want to damage them. The main thing with managing your nails and protecting them is to train yourself on how to use your hands so as not to break your nails. How you grasp items, how you reach for things, and general hand movement all need to be changed.

When I first started to let my nails grow out, I was constantly breaking them. I would grab something and “snap” the nail would break. Sometimes I could repair them , but most times it wouldn’t last, so I eventually cut them off and let them re-grow–a long process.

The common car door handle is a great nail breaker. You reach to open the door and as your hand pulls on the handle, your finger slips off letting the handle catch your nails. Presto! a broken nail. Or you reach for something and forgetting you have an extension, in the form of a long nail, on the end of your finger, you misjudge your hand position. Bingo a broken nail. Winding up a car window can allow your nail to catch on something and snap it. Grasping things and moving them offers the chance of snagging your nail on some adjacent structure. Most nails are broken as a result of being hit by something your fingers are trying to hold onto. So watch out where you place and move your hands.

Men have the habit of fast grasps and indiscriminate hand positions when it comes to reaching for something. After all they don’t have long nails and at worst they bump their finger tips. No big deal. Your training will require you learn to reach for things slowly and deliberately. Always go slow and get a firm grasp on the thing you are reaching for. We ladies must be careful of where we place our hands. Our fingers are an extension of our femininity. To break a nail is to tarnish our beauty. With all the effort we place in polishing them and shaping them, we must protect these assets.

The longer the nail the easier it will break. Long tapers are sexy, but easily broken. Also, some nails do not grow perfectly straight as they get longer. Personally I find that a short taper or a square end is best. The square end being the strongest, as the nail has side support to further protect it. I alternate between square and taper. I first taper them, and when they grow too long, I flatten the tips only. This gives me a square end with slightly tapered sides. As they grow out, I extend the taper to the tips. This way I control the lengths to minimize breakage, and keep them at an acceptable length for work and home.

If I want really long nails I just plan to let them grow an extra week or two before trimming them. I have also found that the thumb, index and middle fingers grow slower than the pinky and ring fingers. I adjust my trimming to reflect this difference in growth rate. This way I can keep them all nearly the same length. Sounds too scientific? Well, yes, but it works. Whatever works for you, go with it girl. I hope this article will get you gals, who are starting out in the long natural nail department, thinking on how to prevent breakage.

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