The Do’s and Don’ts of Nail Care

Woman receiving manicure to promote nail care and nail health

Interested in nail care? Keeping your nails clean and healthy is important to overall appearance and health. When your nails are healthy-looking, you are more apt to use your hands when talking and interacting with people. Whether it comes to your fingernails or toenails, make a routine to care for your nails so that they look their absolute best.

Why It’s Important to Take Care of The Nails

The way that your nails look is directly related to their health. For example, if you have an infection of one or more nails, it can create inflammation and health problems throughout the rest of the body. Certain nail conditions can also be embarrassing, like fungus, causing a person to avoid showing off their hands or feet.

Keeping your nails clean, trimmed and healthy can also prevent future problems from developing. For example, keeping nails cleaned and well-groomed can prevent fungal infections and bacterial infections that may develop underneath the nail bed. Seek help from a doctor, dermatologist or podiatrist who can help prescribe anti-fungal medication or antibiotics as needed if a problem arises.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Nail Care

Taking care of your nails is important, and there are certain things that you should do and shouldn’t do to keep up with the health and appearance of the nails. In many cases, bad nail habits can be reversed. You should devote some time each week to clipping, trimming, filing and polishing your nails and checking out each nail for signs of infection, inflammation or fungal infections.

Nail Care Do’s

Use a Glass File and File in the Same Direction

Glass files are incredibly gentle on the nails and meant to prevent breaking and cracking. When using a glass file, file in one specific direction to prevent further damage to the nail bed. This may take some getting used to, but the nails break far less often because of this habit.

Keep Nails Trimmed and Healthy

Keeping your nails trimmed and polished is vital to how they look, feel and overall health. Many nail polishes aren’t just pretty, but they are good for your nails. Some polishes even contain strengthening ingredients that prevent cracking and breakage. Other types of nail polish are even ideal for maximizing growth. Remember to treat the fungus rather than just covering it up with nail polish.

Purchase New Tools Every Few Months

Nail care tools should be replaced every few months. Not only does this prevent the use of tools that have signs of wear, tear and rust, but will also help hygiene. They are less likely to contaminate client’s nails with fungus and bacteria.

Clean Nail Care Tools After Each Use

Sterilizing nail care tools is crucial for preventing contamination. Sterilize nail care tools by soaking them in alcohol for several hours or use an alcohol-soaked cotton ball to carefully wipe down tools. Remember to not allow the tools to sit in any disinfecting solution for longer than a few hours, as this can cause rusting. Also, be sure to thoroughly dry the tools after they have been cleaned.

Use a Moisturizing Cuticle Oil

Cuticle oil can help to dissolve the cuticles as well as moisturize the area. This makes it easier to push the cuticles back to create a uniform nail bed for polishes and treatments. Cuticle oil should be used before pushing back the cuticles unless otherwise specified. Cuticle oil keeps your nails looking clean, healthy and moisturized.

Wear Gloves When Working

Whether washing dishes regularly or gardening, wearing gloves will protect your nails and keep them from breaking and cracking. Gloves will also prevent nail polish from wearing away. It is also important to wear gloves when working with corrosive products such as furniture polish, bathroom cleaner and bleach. Keep gloves where they’re easy to find and grab when they need to be worn.

Nail Care Don’ts

File Nails in a Back and Forth Motion

Filing nails in a back and forth motion causes nails to split, crack, and break. The delicate nail bed is being ripped every single time it gets filed back and forth. Traditional emery boards can cause ripping and tearing of the nail bed, especially if the file is older and hasn’t been replaced in a while.

Push the Cuticles Back Too Far

While the look of cuticles can be unsightly, it is not healthy to push them back too far. Avoid using electric nail trimmers to push back and remove cuticles, as they can compromise the nail bed and create cross-contamination of bacteria and fungus.

Share Nail Care Tools

Sharing nail care tools can cause cross-contamination. For example, sharing nail clippers with a person who has toenail fungus can transfer nail fungus to everyone’s nails that uses the contaminated nail clippers. One of the most common skin-related conditions to catch from sharing nail care tools are warts.

Ignore Signs of Fungus or Infection

Signs of fungus and infection often start out minimally and continue to get worse. Nail fungus often looks like white, milky spots on the surface of the nail. These are often mistaken for signs of excess calcium and keratin. White spots eventually begin to create a thickened nail that splits and bends. Infections can cause inflammation around the nail bed, causing pain, swelling and blood blisters. If your nail looks different than normal, seek the help of a nail technician or doctor.

Use Your Nails as Tools

In a bind, you may be tempted to use their nails as tools. People use their nails regularly to open cans, rip paper or scrape food off a pan or pot. Using your nails as tools can cause breakage and cracking, not to mention the bacteria that is introduced underneath the nails and into the nail bed.

Don’t Bite the Nails

Biting your nails not only prevents them from growing out, but it can also cause inflammation and infection. The mouth is the dirtiest part of the human body, and there are millions of bacteria that thrive on the teeth, gums and tongue. Unfortunately, every time someone bites their nails, the bacteria from the mouth gets on and underneath the nail, which can be a catalyst for a nail infection.

When to Get Help from a Nail Technician

It can often be difficult to get into a solid nail care routine if you are used to caring for their nails a certain way. A certified and trained nail technician helps to care for the nails and nail-related problems. Nail technicians go through training to handle all types of nail care and polishing techniques. They work with clients of varying needs and can recognize common nail-related conditions that might go unnoticed. The nail technician can also help advise clients on how to properly care for their nails and keep them looking their best.


The nail technician also recommends variety of different products if a client is confused as to which product will work best for them.  A nail technician should inquire about a client’s nail condition and infections of any kind before they begin working on the client’s nails. This helps the nail technician to use specialized tools specific to the condition.

Did this discussion interest you in becoming a nail technician? Your search for a nail technician program ends at Minnesota School of Cosmetology, where you learn all the tricks of the trade to provide the look and TLC clients are looking for. Our campus locations are convenient, if you are looking for beauty schools that can train you to become a licensed nail technician. You will graduate with a firm understanding of the anatomy of the nails and the skills to perform a variety of nail services, including manicures, pedicures, gel polish applications and nail art.

Both campuses feature salon-grade pedicure chairs and manicure stations where you will get to perfect your skills in a professional salon setting. If you are looking to become a licensed nail technician, you can gain valuable, real-world experience you graduate working with products used in many salons across the country.

Contact us today to learn more about starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

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