Look down at your hands, what do you see? If your hands and nails are a little worse for wear, and a manicure a distant memory, you’re not alone. If you’re one of many nail-biters among us (and to be fair with the challenges of recent times it’s understandable) regaining strong shiny tips is an even bigger Everest.
We asked top nail expert, beauty and skin therapist and Sydney salon owner Jocelyn Petroni her advice for how we can revive our own nails and protect their health and strength. As official manicurist for Chanel and head of one of the most sought-after locations – and a celebrity favourite – for skin and nails, Petroni also has a significant sway on the trends for the season. Naturally we needed to know what we should be wearing on our tips and toes right now.
What are some colour and style trends?
It’s all about the nudes as we all adopt a pared back and more natural, polished approach to beauty. Elevate the naked nail with a statement grey-beige nude like Mavala’s new Biarritz, a serene and calming shade. In stark contrast to nudes, bright, big and positive shades of red and burgundy are also in favour.
Mavala Scientifique K+ Nail Hardener; CND Solar Oil; Mavala Nail Colour in Biarritz; Chanel La Crème Main
What products beyond polish are must-haves for getting hands and nails looking their best?
The best way to heal, hydrate and protect your nails is to massage oil directly into your nail bed and cuticles. Olive oil absorbs into the nail bed where its high oleic acid content deeply nourishes and soothes the nail plate and cuticles. I like to massage olive oil into my hands and nails whilst cooking dinner at night. Nails are in top condition when they are strong and flexible, being resistant to minor daily traumas.
The nail is made up of three layers. At the tip, these layers tend to separate, making it the most fragile part of the nail. A nail hardener is a must-have for gaining natural nail strength. I advise my clients to use Mavala’s Scientifique K+ regularly as a penetrating treatment to strengthen the tip of the nail. It binds the three nail plates together and improves the cohesion of the keratin fibres present in the nails, thereby making them more resistant to damage. We use it in salon with our Naked Manicure Treatment and prescribe for at home use to build optimum nail health.
Between regular washing and sanitiser use, exposure to water and chemicals strips the hands of their hydrolipidic film, the natural barrier protection. Hand skin is fragile as it contains few sebaceous glands. Regular use of hand cream is essential to restore moisture and soothe damaged hands – my favourite is Chanel’s La Crème Main.
Are there any tools that make at-home manicures easier or offer a better finish?
A manicure only looks as good as the cuticle frame around it. Whilst in the shower and nails are soft and soapy, use your thumb nail to gently push back cuticles. A good nail file is essential to shape nails at home and correct any snags or damage to the nails through daily wear and tear.
For a manicure to really ‘pop’, hand condition is important. Use an at-home mix of sugar OR salt mixed with olive oil to exfoliate hands and follow with hand cream application. Don’t forget to apply SPF to your hands daily.
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How can we ensure our home nail polish application lasts as long as possible?
Manicure endurance is completely linked to prepping the nail correctly. Any oil residue on the nail will shorten the lifespan of a manicure. Use a soapy cleanser to thoroughly wash oil off the nail beds before a manicure, followed by wiping each nail with acetone polish remover.
What are the worst things your clients can do to their nails in terms of their health?
Biting nails is doing the most damage and in extreme cases, this can be irreparable. Biting interferes with healthy nail growth causing damage to the nail, cuticle and surrounding skin.
In the salon, we regularly treat damaged nails from the overuse of synthetic nail treatments. Long-term use of synthetic nails will weaken them, through chemical exposure and literal suffocation of the nail, which is worsened by picking or peeling them off.