Shape Up Your Nails
Dr. Earle Brauer, Research Director of Revlon (you know them the nail people) warns that, if you have let your nails get into less than lovely shape, be ‘patient. Once you start to care for them properly, it is still going to take six months before you have a wholly new beautiful fingernail.
Didn’t I tell you? Six months seems to be the limit for re-doing you. It’s the same with hair or with skin. (But hopefully not with shape. There, we can speed things up with our four little fat-removing friends lecithin, B-6, cider vinegar, and kelp.)
Just don’t expect overnight results or you’re bound to be disappointed and perhaps tempted to give up. Don’t! It’s stick-to-it-iveness that gets the beautiful results. And those results are always worth the waiting. As for caring for the nails you’ve grown, our nail friend Dr. Orentreich cautions about manicuring. Not too much and certainly not the wrong sort. The wrong sort, for one thing, means excess cutting of the cuticle. That cuticle is there for a purpose. It protects (like the cuticle of your hair) the nail fold from infections
and should never be cut unless it is torn or ragged. A painful hangnail should most definitely be trimmed. But the best thing is not to get a painful hangnail!
Instead, pre-manicure, try soaking your nails in warm water, to which you’ve added some acid-balanced soapsuds. Or some wheat germ oil. Or even some vitamin E squeezed from the capsule, of course. Then those cuticles should be pushed back ever so gently with the fingertip not the fingernail of the opposite hand. Better still, do it with a soft towel.
Finish everything off with an E-oil massage if you want to keep the cuticle soft and invisible.
Everybody should know by now that there’s only one way to file nails and that’s one way. In one direction, that is. Watch any competent manicurist and you will see that that’s how it’s done. It seems that to saw back and forth with a file (and I hope you’re using an emery board) is injurious to the nail itself. So think one-sided and you’ll have stronger, better-shaped nails. And keep the emery board at a 45-degree angle.
As for nail polish well, Dr. Orentreich thinks it’s O.K. I personally hate it. I hate the way it feels. I much prefer polishing my nails with a paste polish and a chamois buffer. Buffing stirs up that blood and spurs the nails’ growth, and anything that does that is fine with me. But do it gently. Buffing too hard can actually burn the nail! I’ve had that unhappy experience. A mixture of honey, wheat germ oil, and egg yolks, mixed into a paste and seasoned with sea salt, will nourish the nails when rubbed into and around them.
Polish does, however, protect the nails when they’re getting some rough use. It can serve as a shield against the world of hard knocks. But when you’re removing that nail polish, be sure you add a little wheat germ oil to soften up that strong action of the (of necessity) acetone-based polish remover. After all, you don’t want to remove your nails in the process.
As for nail-hardeners watch out. Dr. Joseph Jerome, Secretary of the Committee on Cutaneous Health and Cosmetics of the A.M.A. says, “In recent years, products to prevent the nails from chipping, fragmenting, and peeling have become popular. Most, if not all, of these products contain formaldehyde. Several physicians have reported severe reactions to nail hardeners containing or releasing formaldehyde. Reactions have included discoloration, bleeding under the nail, pain, dryness, and loosening or even loss of nails.” You wouldn’t want that to happen to you, would you? Read on.