Nail Care Tips and Tricks {from an expert}

Yesterday I had a fabulous CND Shellac manicure and pedicure with Samantha at The Beauty Zone. I'll be posting all about the results after I've had a chance to put the polish through its paces, but in the meantime I though I'd share Samantha's advice - based on her 18 years of professional experience - for keeping nails in tip top condition.

1. Use cuticle oil twice a day. It keeps the skin around your nails and the nail bed itself hydrated and lubricated, softening skin and preventing it from cracking or peeling. (Samantha strongly recommends CND Solar Oil which she sells for $12 - a bargain by salon standards!)

2. Massage the oil into your cuticles to increase bloodflow to the nailbed and help your nails grow.

3. Always wear gloves when doing the dishes or handling any chemicals to avoid ruining your manicure or drying out your nails.

4. File once a week. Cutting nails is more damaging that filing, so it's best never to let them get so long in the first place.

5. Don't saw back and forth when you file. But if you can't help it, at least file in just one direction for the last few strokes. This prevents the edges of the nail fraying from the friction of a sawing motion.

6. Use a satin buffer just on the tips. Buffing all over thins and weakens nails, but buffing the tips in a downward motion smooths edges and helps prevent peeling and splitting.

7. Give you nails a break. Cuticle oil can't penetrate regular nail polishes (Shellac is different - it breathes) so constantly wearing varnish, even if  it's removed with an acetone-free solvent, will cause nails to become dehydrated and brittle.