Nails by JINsoon backstage at Karen Walker NYFW15 Picture / Supplied.

Expert Eye: Tanya Barlow's Nail Advice

Top nail artist and manicurist behind Hello Tanya nails answers your beauty questions

My cuticles tend to split but I use hand cream daily — what else can I do so they don’t get rough and I am not tempted to pick at them?

Now that we’re going into colder weather, it’s more important than ever to keep in mind that nails and cuticles are made of the same proteins as skin, which lose moisture during these months. Keep hydrated, and be sure to reapply moisturiser after hand washing. I’d recommend rubbing vitamin E oil or shea butter cream into your nails and cuticles, or perhaps pick up some cuticle oil at the pharmacy. I keep a little bottle in my handbag and pop some on once or twice a day.

Is there an easy way to do a negative space manicure/nail art at home?

An easy way to do negative space half moon manicure is to use ring binder reinforcement stickers! Those little circle stickers are the perfect shape to place at the base of your cuticle to create a vintage manicure. Simply apply basecoat and let dry, place the reinforcement sticker at your cuticle, enough to create a small arch at the base. Apply a small amount of pressure so it leaves no gaps. Apply nail polish colour of your choice, and then remove the sticker immediately. Top coat and you’re done!

How do you choose the best shape (square, oval or in between) to match your nail shape and is there a current fashion look I should play with?

Nail shape is such a personal preference. I do, however, suggest that if you’re concerned with your fingers/hands looking short or stubby, to go for a more round or oval shape. It instantly makes fingers look longer. They’re also less likely to snag or catch on things as you might with a more square shape. I’ve always been partial to an almond shaped nail, which is a slightly pointy oval, but not as intense as a stiletto nail. Something fun to play with would be a “ballet” or “coffin” shaped nail, which is essentially a squared-off stiletto — made famous by Rihanna.

Home remedies for combating white spots include tea tree oil, as well as a 1:1 ratio vinegar soak. Soaking your feet for 30 minutes once daily can help in decreasing a fungal or microbial growth and helps improve skin complexion. It’ll also help return the natural shine to the nail.

My nails are always breaking and flaking. Why is this happening and what are some easy(ish) ways to grow stronger, longer, healthier nails?

There are a number of reasons why nails break and flake — overexposure to water, stress to hands, exposure to harsh chemicals, insufficient nutrients and even a change in the weather. Start by preventing damage — wearing gloves while doing the dishes and drying hands as best you can after washing, making sure to moisturise afterwards. Taking a small break from nail polish is fine, too.

Applying a nail strengthener and cuticle oils to the nail area regularly can help. Drinking plenty of water and maintaining a balanced diet will make a difference — eating items such as green leafy vegetables that are high in B vitamins will help your hair and nails grow.

Is gel polish really as bad for your nails as people say they are? And UV lights?

Gel polish is not bad for your nails in the slightest. However, the removal of gel polish plays an important part here. As tempting as it is to start peeling and picking that gel mani when it starts to chip, please don’t. It might be satisfying to peel of layers of polish in one go, but what you can’t see is that you’re possibly peeling off multiple layers of your nail at the same time, leaving them weak and brittle.

If removed carefully, gel polish can help keep your nails healthy by protecting them from too much water exposure. The UV lamp used during a gel polish manicure is the equivalent to being exposed to the sun for approximately 15 seconds. If you’re concerned about UV exposure, I’d recommend applying a light sunscreen before an appointment.

Other than being extra careful, are there any ways I can prevent my nail polish from chipping easily or last a wee bit longer?

Often overlooked, using a base coat definitely helps a manicure last longer, particularly if it has a rubberised or sticky finish to it. One of my favourites is Orly Rubberised Bonder basecoat. Also, making sure that your nail surface is completely clean — the cuticles have been gently pushed back, and you’ve cleansed with acetone to remove any oils. You can also re-apply a clear topcoat every other day, making sure you apply along the free edge of the nail, “wrapping” it.

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New Zealand Herald

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