Nail Health 101!!! Answering YOUR Questions 💅

Now that winter is officially over (BLESSED 🙏), it’s time to get serious about getting our nails back in tip top shape. I feel like my hands and nails always go through it in the winter and I think alot of you have the same thing going on! I sourced questions from instagram about general nail health and we’re going to get into some topics here today! I am breaking out my text book from nail school so we are getting SPECIFIC and SCIENTIFIC here. If you have any other questions, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll add more info to the post :D LET’S GO!

Also a short disclaimer! If there is something seriously wrong with your nails, please go to a doctor!! Nail technicians are actually required to turn away clients with nail infections and disorders and not perform services if there is anything serious going on. If you have any pain, inflammation, or abnormalities, this is a sign you should see a doctor! 

PS. Anything that's underlined is a LINK!

PEELING NAILS: Why do I have them? How to get rid of them and cover them up? How to take care of weak and brittle nails?

In my experience, peeling nails occurs from being seriously dried out or some sort of trauma has occurred (like peeling off your gel - NEVER DO THIS!!!!!!! lol). If you have peeling nails, that also likely can mean that your nails are weak and brittle. Here’s what I would suggest doing for some quick rehab!

  • Cut your nails SHORT and ROUND. This is the strongest shape for your nails and keeping them short will prevent any unnecessary breakage from hitting things etc. 
  • Gently buff your nails with a HIGH GRIT buffer. I like these from amazon. They have a super fine grit and will be really gentle on your nails, especially if you are missing some layers due to bad gel removal! Buff your nails DOWNWARD or away from your hand, in the direction that the nail grows, to smooth things out. 
  • Apply a strengthening POLISH. I like a polish here because it dries and protects your nails. I really like the strengthening polish options from Nail Tek because they have different polishes for your personal nail issues like if you have weak nails, or soft peeling nails, there are different polishes to address your needs! 
  • Prep your nails properly with a full manicure every 2-3 weeks for a few months to get your nails healthy again. I recommend using my full manicure prep course and instead of painting with a regular base coat, use one of the strengtheners. You can put polish on top of the Nail Tek strengtheners like a regular base coat! 
  • Apply cuticle oil MULTIPLE times a day. Oil will really penetrate through your skin and nails and help keep your nails hydrated and also FLEXIBLE. Flexible nails will literally flex with you, and when your nails are able to adjust to your hand movements, there is a lower chance of breaking! I linked all of my favorite cuticle products from Target here.
  • Apply hand lotion daily. Be super diligent with your hydration. I have a whole blog post about hydration with my favorite lotions and oils linked :)

Do strengthening products really work?

I think they DO work, but they work best if you’re also doing proper nail prep and hydrating as outlined above!

Can cuticle oil really moisturize nails if you have polish on?

YES!!!! Cuticle oil not only keeps your skin around your nails and cuticle hydrated and looking great, but it also penetrates deeper into your nails which keeps your nails flexible so they break less and can grow more!! It seems unnecessary to put oil all over your nails when they’re painted, but try it out for a week and see how your nails feel and look! And don’t forget to truly put the oil all over your nails, not just your cuticles!

Is cutting cuticles healthy? / Is it ok to cut your cuticles?

I got a few questions like this!!! Let’s get into it. Should anyone and everyone be cutting their cuticles? No… BUT if you KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING, then it’s totally fine and can make your manicure look SO GOOD! Sorry for yelling but I’m very passionate about this lol. 

I want to be clear, cutting your cuticles is totally safe and healthy if you know what you’re doing, and it is not hard to learn. I spend like 20 minutes going over my exact process, how to do it safely, what you’re looking for when you’re cutting, how to know when to stop, etc. in my Manicure Prep Course!

I know I talk about this a lot but it will answer so many of your questions and teach you how to safely and properly prep your nails using everything I learned in nail school and what I do on my own nails/client’s nails! If you want to get that professionally manicured manicure look, you should 100% do my course. Sometimes your cuticles and the dead skin around your cuticle area (technically called your eponychium) are really grown out, and if the skin is hard/dead you can cut it off with NO pain and it looks really nice I think :) 

If you start cutting your cuticles, you will quickly see how easy and satisfying it is, and you will want to continue doing it every time you do a full mani prep, I swear!!
As always, don’t forget to rehydrate and use cuticle oil to keep your skin hydrated around your nails after prepping/cutting too!

How to deal with yellow nails / nail polish staining? How to prevent staining?

Oooo I am a PRO at accidentally staining my nails yellow. This just happens when you use some darker colors and have polish on all of the time :( It’s so annoying but there are a few things that you can do to prevent it, mainly wearing a base coat! 

Dark colors will definitely stain your nails more, but if you want to be as careful as possible, always wear a base coat to prevent staining! I love using Olive & June Ridge Filler as my base coat under everything because of a few reasons. It provides a super smooth surface for your polish, it dries matte which is great for knowing when you can move on to polish, and, because it dries matte, I feel like it gives your polish a really adhesive surface to stick on to! It has kind of a milky sheer consistency to it, so I feel like it really protects your nails from the polish on top of it from staining your actual nail. 

You can use any base coat but I highly recommend this one :) 

If you already have stains, I hate to say it, but time is truly the only way to fully get rid of them. I’ve tried buffing, I’ve tried making a baking soda and lemon juice mixture, etc. etc. but nothing works as well and taking preventative measures and letting your stains grow out/even out on their own :( Sorry!!!! Make sure you are diligent about prevention and it will get better. 

What is your hydration routine?

I have a whole blog post about this if you want a ton of info!! Read it here: 

But in a nutshell this is my routine:

  • Full manicure prep using this process 
  • Full manicure using either this or this process
  • Hydrate with cuticle oil immediately to rehydrate
  • Apply lotion at night before bed. I love using FAB Ultra Repair Cream or Olive & June Overnight Hand Treatment because they don’t have a strong scent and are sooo hydrating! 
  • During the morning, when I’m doing my skincare, I’ll usually rub any face products into my hands as well, and make sure to finish my routine with some hand lotion like the above or the Not Pot Oat Puff lotion because it smells AMAZING :) (ps use code KARA for 20% OFF not pot!)
  • I’ll apply cuticle oil and lotion a few times a day as well

RIDGES!! Why do I have them and how do I get rid of them?

Nail ridges come in a few forms. If you have had vertical nail ridges for a while or you notice that over time they’re forming on your nails, these are likely due to age or genetics. My mom has ridges on a few of her nails that appeared later on in her life, it just happens as you grow and age. You can do your best to hydrate your nails with oils and lotions consistently to prevent them! 

If you have sudden ridges show up near your cuticle area horizontally that look like they’re growing out as your nails grow, you might have had some sort of trauma to your nails. If you use a cuticle pusher and you applied too much pressure, you can actually cause damage that will result in ridges in your nails. (Just another reason to watch my manicure prep course because I cover this in there too ;)).

I’ve also heard that some of you are getting ridges from using press-ons. While I haven’t experienced this before, I think it might either be from your press-ons being too small for your nails (which is causing some trauma because they're being pinched or squeezed), or that you’re pressing too hard near the base of your nail and causing damage the same way that the cuticle pusher might! Be gentle and go up a size and see if that helps!

My nails seem unhealthy after a gel manicure, how to remedy?

If your nails seem weak and bendy after a gel manicure, it sounds like your removal was too harsh. I always say this but gel manicures don’t cause damage, improper removal does!!

I always set aside extra time when I remove my gels just to go slow and not cause damage. When you go to a salon, sometimes they only have like 15 minutes to remove your mani, which to me, is SO fast lol, so I can’t imagine they are not buffing or filing it off a little too harshly to keep things moving along.

I’m a broken record but I talk all about safe removal in my Gel Painting & Removal Process course so that you can SAFELY do your gel nails and removal at home. I did gel a few weeks ago and my nails actually grew and felt so strong after I removed them! I LOVE using gel to grow my nails long and give them extra strength, and I love being able to pass on that knowledge so that that’s what your gel mani’s do for you too! 

If your nails are really weak, follow the same instructions as above under the peeling nails info :)

Tips for using cuticle remover?

I actually stopped using cuticle remover about a year ago!! I talk all about this in my manicure prep course and why I don’t recommend using it when you’re following my prep process. Basically it rehydrates your nails and skin which I find actually makes it unsafe for removing cuticle on your nail and cutting your cuticles/dead skin. It’s too difficult to tell which skin is alive from dead which can cause accidental bleeding and/or removal of live skin. No bueno!!!

Why do I have white spots on my nails?

This is actually called Leukonychia, and good news, it’s harmless!! It can be caused by injury to your nail, genetics or a deficiency in your diet. The little spots will usually grow out as your nail grows out. If you notice any changes in the spots or if you have any pain, you should go see a doctor! 

That about covers all of the main questions from you all. If you have any more, drop them in the comments below!!

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  • Just wondering if you have any tips on disinfecting bits for e files and other nail equipment?!

  • Can peeling/weak nails ever be more of an internal problem? Like a nutrient deficiency?


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