For all my life, I’ve had very short and small nail beds. In other words, the point on my nail where the pink turns to white is rather low. It’s always sort of bugged me. I used to bite and tear my nails. Ouch! Just thinking about it makes me cringe. But in 2008 I got Invisalign (clear trays to straighten teeth) and I was unable to bite my nails. This was an awakening to taking care of my nails. Although I was growing my nails out a bit longer than before, my nail beds remained the same because I still cut them very short with nail clippers.
Image on left is from 2011 & shows how short my nails were.
And then this blog happened. :)
I know that nail bed shape and length is 99% genetics, but I also think because I was taking better care of my nails, my nail beds almost seemed to “heal” and they have changed. You know the area at the free edge of your nail bed that’s usually curved—the “smile” when it comes to French manicures? Mine was never curved. It was more straight across. But over the course of this year, the pink area of my nails has pulled out a bit and I now have that smile line on most of my nails.
Image on right is a picture of Nicole by OPI’s Hard Kourt Fashionista taken more recently. Click on image to see larger.
I’m not a professional when it comes to this, but I think really what’s happening is that the skin under the nails has pulled out while my nails grow. And because I’m only gently filing my nails instead of trimming them with nail clippers, and I only use a nail brush to clean under my nails, the skin remains and my nail bed appears to “grow”.
Again, I’m not a professional. LOL!
Anyhow, so I wanted to share with you guys what I’ve been doing specifically…
- Consistently moisturizing of my hands, including oil on my cuticles (at least once a day)
- Not clipping my nails all the way down to “stubs” if possible
- Only using a gentle nail file to shape my nails
- Keeping nails at a shorter length to prevent breakage
- Conservative buffing when I see an area starting to peel (look for buffers labeled “Smooth”, do not use the ones that add shine)
- Using a nail brush to clean under my nails. I have a brush at nearly every sink in my house, and travel with one when going out of town.
- Keeping nails painted so that I am less likely to see anything under the nails and trying to clean it out when a nail brush is not available
I’ve also noticed that my cuticles look much better and my nails are stronger than ever before. I really think when you start to really care for your nails, things can only improve.
So that’s what I’ve learned over the past year. You take care of your nails and they look better. Funny, right? ;)