Sunday, January 31, 2010

Spa Girl—hard as Nails…

I have used nail polish since I was a young girl when my aunte would paint my fingers and toes.  Now I primarily have my toes done and several years ago decided to treat myself to a French manicure as I was concerned how yellow and dull they were becoming from the coloured polishes. I have never looked back. I did some research and found a few great recipes to help allievate this problem. Taking care of your nails and hands is a must as our hands tend to age more quickly, not surprisingly as they bare the harsh everyday wear and tear of soaps, detergents, cold, heat, water…and a thousand other risk factors.

Most experts will tell you that to keep fingernails and cuticles healthy eat a diet rich in vitamins, moisturize regularly, use a really good nail polish, and stay away from soaps, detergents and hot water as much as possible. Fingernails are made of keratin, the same protein as hair and grow roughly 1mm a week. It takes six months for a lost nail to regenerate and fingernails grow faster than toenails. It is also important to remember that the skin on our hands is thin, delicate and prone to being dry and is vulnerable to damage and injury and contains less collagen than the skin covering other parts of the body.

The wiseGeek says, “Keratin is an extremely strong protein which is a major component in skin, hair, nails, hooves, horns, and teeth. The amino acids which combine to form keratin have several unique properties, and depending on the levels of the various amino acids, keratin can be inflexible and hard, like hooves, or soft, as is the case with skin. Most of the keratin that people interact with is actually dead; hair, skin, and nails are all formed from dead cells which the body sheds as new cells push up from underneath. If the dead cells are kept in good condition, they will serve as an insulating layer to protect the delicate new keratin below them”.

Here are a few helpful tips:
  • To harden soft nails and make them more flexible, soak them in warm olive oil and one capsule of vitamin E for about 20 minutes, two or three times a week—especially in the winter. I recommend adding a nice dip in paraffin wax allowing the oils to soak into the hands.

  • To whiten stained and dull nails soak them in 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide and 1 cup of warm water for 15 minutes or try mixing one tablespoon of lemon juice in a cup of water. Make sure to rinse with warm water, pat dry and apply moisturizer after your soak.

  • Don’t remove the cuticles as it makes the nail susceptible to infection, rather use a good cuticle oil and push back the cuticles with an orangewood stick. Ideally push back cuticles after you soak in the warm olive oil.

  • File your nails when you are wearing polish as this will help prevent splitting and breaking.

  • Wearing nail polish, even a colourless base coat is recommended if you have brittle nails.

Love your nails with an Almond-Jojoba nail and cuticle treatment from our friends at “Secrets of the Spas”. Recipe:

2 tablespoons almond oil, 2 tablespoons jojoba oil, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons honey, 1 teaspoon vitamin E oil (or 3-4 vitamin E oil capsules, broken open)

Mix all the ingredients together. Soak nails in warm water for 10 minutes, pat dry, then massage mixture into hands and feet (if you like) concentrating on nails and cuticles. Wash off with warm water and pat dry, add moisturizer. Recipe makes about four hand treatments.

Enjoy Spa Girls!

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