10 years ago by

Is it just me or do our nails take an extra beating in the winter? Dry cuticles, ridges, broken nails…the list goes on. My nails have definitely had a rough few weeks and I’m blaming the dry winter weather.

You already know that I’ve got a serious thing for nail polish, I could talk to you about it for hours (Hi, my name is Alex and I’m a nailaholic). But as well versed as I am in lacquer, I still have a lot of questions when it comes to nail care, especially since mine keep breaking and I chip every manicure after two hours.

So what’s a girl to do? I called up Nadine, she is one of the owners of the nail salon tenoverten (it’s where I go when I’m not doing the at-home mani/pedi) and she happens to be just as enthusiastic as I am when it comes to nails. She’s breaking down everything you need to do to rehab your nails, keep them healthy AND make that manicure last.

Take notes, this is good.

What are some of the nail care basics?

When it comes to basics of nail care, you always have to keep your nails really hydrated. We see a lot of people with dry cuticles, they aren’t taking care of them. I don’t think everyone has to have a manicure every week to have healthy nails.

What can you be doing at home?

Apply cuticle oil by massaging it into your cuticles just before bedtime so that you have it doing the work while you sleep, without the interruption of busy hands. Massaging the oil is key since it increases the blood circulation and helps nail growth while hydrating.

People have the wrong impression that you are supposed to cut your cuticles. It’s so much better for your nail health to hydrate them and push them back. Save heavy cuticle care for when you have a manicure.

If you’re washing your hands a lot, make sure you are moisturizing afterwards, thats a big piece of it as well. Keeping your nails filed is also important.

Do you need to give your nails a break?

People talk a lot about letting your nails breathe. Putting lacquer on your nails endlessly is not always a good idea. I like to get a manicure every week and a half or so and for me that works really well. Give them a break every once in a while. The moisturizing is really important to do in-between your manicures.

The problem is when you see people that had a manicure and 14 days later they still haven’t taken off the polish. It’s when the polish gets old that it causes damage to your nail and that is when your nails start to yellow. If you’ve had a manicure and you know you aren’t going to go for another two weeks take your polish off at home when they start to chip or grow out.

If your nails are really damaged, how much time should you give them to rebuild?

If you’re using good products, it’s okay to continue manicures once a week. I wouldn’t really do manicures with cuticle more than once a week. If you can wait a couple weeks in between just to give your nails some time then it’s a good idea. Apply a strengthening base coat at home every 4-5 days. Nail products work from the top down, so whatever you use for your base coat is going help your nail health.

How can you deal with brittle nails or ridges?

If you do have brittle nails or weaker nails, really finding a product that helps with the health of your nails is key. A strengthening base coat is really important. People sort of go in and use whatever base coat is in the salon but you should go to the drugstore, spend the $10 and find a base coat that works for your type of nails and take it with you. That is the most important product in the manicure.

We use a product from Duri called Rejuvacote that really helps in strengthening and in long-term nail health.

What about buffing your nails?

A nail buffer shouldn’t be used too often as it can weaken the nail. Always use a fine grit buffer and use it in an ‘X’ shape stroke, raising the buffer away from the nail in between strokes.

How do you get rid of discoloration?

Let them breathe. Don’t put anything on them. I think a lot of people try to buff the color out of their nail but if you over buff your nails you can damage them.

How can you make your at home manicure last?

First, clean your nail bed really well before you apply your base coat. Use a piece of paper towel instead of cotton and a non-acetone remover. Really go through all the crevices of your nails and clean your nail beds really well. This helps to clean the nail of any natural oils or oils collected on the nail from lotions. You don’t need to wash your hands after removing polish.

Sealing the polish is also really important. So when you get to the edge of your nail go across the tip of your nail with the brush and that really seals the color in and prevents chipping from happening as quickly.

What is the best way to do the clear look? Use a topcoat?

Just using a top coat isn’t ideal for a clear polish look because you don’t get the benefits from wearing a nail protective base coat. The tenoverten Foundation base coat was designed specifically for people in mind who want a buffed nail look but don’t want to wear down their nails with continuous buffing. It is a nail strengthening base coat that has a slight pink tint and high shine so it won’t dull like other typical base coats would after one coat.

Do products labeled “quick dry” really work?

Quick dry drops and top coats absolutely work. I am not so enthusiastic about the sprays however. We love Qtica Half Time Polish Accelerator drops.

And a question from Garance, what about gels?

I am so against gel manicures from a health perspective. The chemicals laden in most of them are scary and they also leave an area for fungus to build if not applied correctly. In my mind, they leave too much room for mistake if not applied and removed properly. Also the wear and tear over the long term just doesn’t seem worth the benefits.


Add yours
  • Merci pour ces conseils géniaux! J’ai également les ongles en vrac en ce moment et je ne parle pas des dommages causés par les grossesses, c’est irrécupérable.
    La photo est vraiment trop belle, je ne sais pas ce qui est le plus joli, le visage ou les mains :)

  • Merci beaucoup pour ces conseils précieux!!!
    Super intéressant cet article!

    Le monde des petites

  • winter time is a break for my nails, especially the toes. unless i’m going someplace warm!

    generally, varnishing them all the time is indeed not a great idea :)


  • I love having nails always perfect and I love the minicure, I do not ever give up!
    Nice photo!
    Passa a trovarmi VeryFP

  • I’ve loved the tips!I also noticed my nails are worse during winter!

  • Salut,

    J’adore <3 !

    Bye, Laëti

  • Je ne suis mais tellement pas d’accord pour le point sur les vernis semi permanents !!!!!
    Sans parler du coté pratique (ça tient vraiment parfaitement pendant deux semaines) et esthétique (l’ongle ne perd jamais de sa brillance… car même avec un vernis normal qui ne s’écaille pas, au bout de qlqs jours cela ne brille plus), le vernis semi permanent n’abime pas les ongles !!!
    Le gel ou résine, peut etre, mais pas le semi. J’ai investi dans la machine à UV et tout le matos qui va avec (au total dans les 200 euros) de la marque Peggy Sage (mais OPI c’est également de très bonne qualité).
    Je fais ma pose toutes les deux semaines depuis septembre dernier, c’est niquel et mes ongles (cassants et fragiles deja à la base, je ne suis pas la Gisele des ongles) se portent à merveille !!!
    Seul inconvénient, il y a biensur moins de choix de couleurs que dans le vernis normal. Mais pour moi cela ne représente pas un inconvénient parce que je n’utilise que du transparent, du rouge, du bordeaux, du nude, du gris… enfin les couleurs basiques en somme.
    Voilà :))
    Gros bisous à tout le Studio :)

  • Hello, my name is Fabiana Monzani fashion blogger and I’m in Brazil. I really like your blog and always accompany. You are subtle and delicate in their impressions of fashion. Kisses

  • Merci pour tous ces conseils de presque pro.

    Mais pour avoir des ongles en bonne santé, je ne connais qu’une méthode, simple, gratuite et pas fatigante : ne pas mettre de vernis à ongle, du tout.

    Si si, ça marche.


  • Léonore February, 5 2014, 9:35 / Reply

    Garance: Je trouve super que les posts des collaboratrices du blog soient de plus en plus souvent accompagnés de belles images :)

  • Merci beaucoup !!! Ça me fait très plaisir :)

  • :)

  • Thank so much for this post Alex. Extremely useful!
    Maybe you could also prepare one on the differences between “organic” and “regular” nail polish?? I tried an all-natural French brand once, Scotch, and was not very impressed, so I went back to Essie/OPI/Mavala.

    Garance, do not get a gel manicure… I once had it done with OPI products (which are supposed to be pretty decent) and my nails were burning for 24h… very scary. Never again.

  • I’ve decided against gel !!!!

  • C’est comme pour les cheveux, vérifiez que vous avez suffisamment de fer.

  • Charlotte February, 5 2014, 10:12 / Reply

    Merci de ces bons conseils. Je vais me ranger du côté de Garance et ne pas me laisser tenter par une manucure gel…

    PS: c’est qui cette canon en photo???? j’adore
    PS2: mais en plus, il est trop beau son vernis…. Jalouse..

  • J’adore cette photo !
    Quel est ce vernis sobre et chic ?

  • J’ai…..60 ans (ça y est je l’ai dit), je me mets du vernis depuis que j’ai 17 ans….Sortir sans vernis, ça a toujours été comme sortir nue : je ne l’ai jamais fait. Mais j’ai toujours respecté les conseils de Nadine et mes ongles se portent à merveille. Je me suis laissée tentée par 2 fois par le gel (Alessendro) en raison du manque de tenue des vernis actuels, et cela a rendu mes ongles hyper cassants. Aussi comme je me lave les cheveux tous les jours, je porte des gants de “chirurgien” et ma manucure tient plus longtemps ! Ce qui donne malgré tout à réfléchir sur la composition des shampooings même si je n’utilise que le top du top !
    Tiens bon Garance et merci Alex

  • Thank you Alex for that, really good advice! May I just add a little something…. my profession makes me say stuff like that ;-) If you had good nails and suddenly have breaking weak nails it might not be your manicure technique, it might be a health issue… for example iron deficit can make such breaking nails and other health related stuff, like hypofunction of the thyroid etc…. it might just be good to keep that in mind. xxx

  • Thanks for this interview Alex. It was super helpful and interesting to read. I’m going to send the link of your post to my mom because she has become a little bit nail obsessed (because of me ^^). It’s amazing how she feel empowered by a great manicure. She’s a business woman so she needs to have a polish look and nails totally complete that image. I offered her a Dior nail kit for Christmas and she received so much compliment since then. It proves that details can make such difference in a look.
    Btw, congratulations Alex on writing ‘big posts’ now. I agree with Léonore, it’s nice to have beautiful images to go with the contributors posts as well.
    And yes, no gel for me either. I’ve read some of the comments on Garance’s post and it was scary.

  • Thank you Madie :) xo

  • delph from bruxelles February, 5 2014, 10:56 / Reply

    hello les filles,

    alors moi perso je n’ai pas trouvé mieux que la gamme soin manucure de Dior, de la base au top coat,mais surtout la crème abricot,
    produit mythique qui fait des merveilles, à appliquer le soir avant de dormir le lendemain les ongles sont reboostés, existe aussi en version huile pour les cuticules, fonctionne très bien aussi!
    enfin, de temps une petite cure de quelques jours de durcisseur Hérôme, qui me permet de garder
    des ongles en pleine santé vu que je dois porter du vernis tous les jours au travail.

  • waltersteph February, 5 2014, 11:01 / Reply

    c’est toi, Alex, en photo ?
    tellement belle

  • Thank you so much for this post, Alex! I have always longed for beautiful, long, healthy nails – unfortunately, my nails have always been really brittle. I will take some of these extra steps, moisturizing more frequently/before bed, and taking my nail polish off the moment it starts chipping, and wait for some results.

  • Alex, what is the nail polish from the photo above??

  • Hi Ann! She is wearing Butter London’s Nail Foundation as a base coat with tenoverten’s The Shield top coat (it’s out in March!)– I did two coats of the Nail Foundation, it’s a pretty matte nude color so I wanted a shiny top coat to pump it up!

  • Est-ce toi Garance qui prend les photos pour tous les sujets, même si tu n’en es pas la rédactrice ?

  • VERY helpfull post, thank you!

    X STYLONYM http://www.stylonym.blogspot.com

  • you really must try “perfect formual gel coat”….sephora carries it….it is absolutely the BEST…..makes nails strong…lasts long…..they even have a slightly pink tinted one…..highly recommend. wishing everyone a perfect day! XOXOX

  • nulle en ongles..mais c’est jolie la couleur de celle de la photo…et puis rien qu’un petit bout d’ongle ;-)))

  • Caroline Mt February, 5 2014, 12:04 / Reply

    Cet après-midi j’ai eu la manie de remettre du baume à lèvres frénétiquement toutes les demi-heures à cause de cette photo.

  • Merci pour ces conseils pro, je vais moins maltraiter mes ongles maintenant :)

  • Love your blog!!!!
    I’m posting looks from Los Angeles and accessories:


  • Alors la c’est vrai que les manucures semi permanentes, je voulais tester mais vu le résultat sur plusieurs copines, quelle horreur ! une catastrophe. Je pense qu’il vaut mieux éviter si l’on tient à ses ongles :-)

  • My nails take a beating every winter too. My main winter problems are dry cuticles and peeling nails :( For my cuticles I use cuticle oil more often than in other seasons. I like Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter. It smells nice, absorbs fairly quickly, and works well. For my peeling nails, I’ve been using Nailtiques Nail Protein Formula 2 for YEARS! Every time winters rolls around and my nails take a turn for the worse, a few weeks of using Nailtiques gets them back into good shape.

  • Useful post!

    5 Spring’s trends to buy now on lowbudget-lowcost Fashion Blog

  • I love that this post puts the emphasis on nail health. My poor, ridged, dry, peeling nails thank you and so do I!

  • Will you please recommend a basecoat with benefits to your nail? ( A widely available brand)
    Thank you!

  • Alex.
    Seriously if you want to get rid of cuticles once and for all you should try this 3 in 1 moisturizing balm (for eyes + lips too) from http://GetSpoiledNow.com

    It’s called “Balmshell” – it contains oils of jojoba, rosehip seed, carrot seed, kukui nut, apricot kernel & beeswax. Rich in moisture and vitamins to help soften the skin on your eyes, lips and cuticles. It was not supposed to be for cuticles at first but I was using it on my eyes/lips and the extra I rubbed into my overly dry cuticles – GONE! I’ve been using it for that ever since. It works better than the one I was using from L’Occitane and even my Hawaiian oil. Only available online. xo

  • Great info, LOVELY photo. And thanks for telling it straight about gels. I have had 2 gel manicures and have liked the results because my nails look great for 10 days. But the chemicals are not worth it. I will never have another. I would rather use regular nail polish.

    I work my hands hard at the office and home alike. I wash my hands often and forget to put cream during the day. My nails and hands are a mess during the winter.

    I find that even a clear polish is better than none. Naked nails have to be perfect to look nice. I stagger my nail polish thru the week. On goes the base coat, next night some colour, next night more colour, next night top coat, etc…I just cant find the time to wait for a coat to dry. I really like the colour and matte finish of the Essie base coat/ridge filler. Nice nude :) I sometimes wear only it. Shhh.

  • Great post – thanks for the tips!


  • Great advice, what a helpful post. My nails are a disaster most of the time. I’m on cuticle cream, hand cream, vitamin B and god knows what more but they still look horrible xx


  • Nina Sybil February, 5 2014, 3:18 / Reply

    pour moi, le chose mieux pour mes ongles, c est Solar Oil and Mavala Cuticle Cream .

  • Fabulous post, some really useful informative tips. Thank you.


  • Alex, merci pour les bons conseils que je vais essayer de suivre.
    Mais quelle photo ! Qui est cette beaute ?
    Comme on disait quand j’etais petite :”elle est mignonne a croquer !”

  • Have you tried CND’s Vinylux? It is soooo good, actually lasts a week and looks as done and glossy as gel! And dries in about 10min without using lamps or anything like that! I’ve used it for a couple of months now and i love it so much! It’s my new religion, because with it my hands always look so perfect.

  • This seems like great advice, but everyone should also be aware that your nails are an indicator of your overall health & nutrition. If your nails are really brittle, discolored, or ridged, there might be an underlying health issue that you should see your doctor about! Thanks for a great post. C’est juste le perspectif d’une infirmière californienne :-)

  • Vraiment sympa cet article! :)

  • Hi!
    So I have always had weak nails, so never grew them long…until I moved to Denmark. Something in the water made my nails much thicker and stronger…crazy but true! It happened after a few months to both me and my husband, so maybe it was all of the minerals in the water there (they use groundwater not rainwater for the general water supply. So does anyone know which particular mineral supplement would do the same thing now that we have moved back to Australia?
    Thanks for a great blog post!

  • Aurélie February, 6 2014, 6:08 / Reply

    Bonjour Alex! et merci pour ce post! une question néanmoins n’est pas soulevée et je serai pourtant ravie d’obtenir une réponse: comment faire quand le vernis se “décolle” par plaques? Comme si il n’adhérait pas?
    Je suis confrontée à ce problème depuis la naissance de ma fille (il y a 20 mois ça aurait du se remettre en place qd même ce chamboulement hormonal!!)
    Si qqun connaît ce problème et surtt détient la solution, je suis preneuse!
    Belle journée ;)

  • Quand je sens que mes ongles sont fatigués d’avoir toujours du vernis, je mets juste deux couches du soin Clean de chez Kure Bazaar qui vont donner un aspect effectivement “clean” à l’ongle puis une touche de top coat et le tour est joué! Mes ongles sont “maquillés” tout en étant traités et je dois dire que je ne jure que par ce nouveau vernis maintenant qui me sert de base tout le temps. J’ai tendance à avoir les ongles qui se dédoublent l’hiver, avec ça beaucoup moins! Je ne les polis jamais, parfois un petit coup de lime à ongles si besoin mais très peu, et je ne coupe jamais mes cuticules, je déteste ça (contente de lire que ça n’est effectivement pas bon!). Et sinon j’utilise tout bêtement une huile d’amande douce pour m’hydrater les mains, pas besoin d’investir dans des huiles ou crèmes soit disant spéciales (enfin à mon avis!).

  • Hi! So now I’m officially freaked out about gel! I guess I just love the fact that I really only have to get a manicure every two weeks when I opt for gel. . . are there any suggestions for colors or tips for regular manicures to stay for longer than (the usual) 5 days?

  • I started taking Silica to help my hair grow and it has made my nails really, really strong

  • Hi Alex, are you wearing any lipstic here? If you do it’s really beautiful! Could you tell me the brand and the number of it?

  • Hi Victoria! It’s actually not me in the photo, but a really cool model named Staz! She is wearing Benefit Ultra Plush Lip Gloss in Fauxmance! xo

  • Glad to hear you are also not a fan of gels. Me neither.
    In my opinion, your nails just can’t breathe.
    I try to leave the nails unpolished for a day or 2 once a month, just to let them rest .. mostly just after a mani and a paraffin treatment. You then don’t need to worry about not having a colour on your nails ; they will look pinkish and your hands will feel as soft as a baby !

  • Dior Creme Abricot is a lifesaver for nails this time of year. It also can be used for dry elbows and fly-away hairs, it’s a makeup bag must have!

  • Je suis photographe a Charleville Mezieres, et je suis fan de votre blog, pour moi c’est un lieu d’inspiration.
    Je vous invite a regarder mon travail sur mon site: http://www.diasphotoart.com
    Cordialement Francisco Dias

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