Showing posts with label nails. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nails. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Nail care tips

Just like a flashy necklace or the right pair of earrings, if your nails look great, they can complement almost any look. But unsightly nails, on the other hand, can send the wrong impression. An error in shaping can cause your nails to chip, giving them a less than stellar appearance. Regardless of the color, an inexpert paint job can leave your nails looking like the face of the moon.

To help you get the look you want, no matter your fashion tastes, there are some tips that can help you pull off perfectly polished nails. We'll start by looking at the nail beneath the polish and then move into techniques that can help your nails look like you've just been to the spa -- even though you've done them on your own. Finally, we'll give you an integral tip that can make or break your nail masterpiece.
Let's start with keeping your nails healthy.

1: Don't Rush It
Putting the necessary time into your polishing project can mean better results. While you may not want to wait to add several coats of polish, taking it easy for a bit longer while your nails dry can provide a cleaner look. "Always apply a base coat for adhesion and to prevent staining of the color onto the nail," says Morgan.
Adding a top coat can take more time as well, but its benefits include locking in your polish color and helping to prevent chipping. There are even top coats that come with UV protection to reduce fading or discoloration of the polish.
Above all, don't rush the drying time. All your hard work could be spoiled by starting to use your hands too early, causing you to chip or smudge your polish.

2: Choose the Correct Coloring
From a pale pink to black, trends in nail polish color change almost seasonally, but tips for applying your color can be helpful regardless of the shade. First, be sure to adequately roll your nail polish bottle, (remembering to tighten the cap, of course). This will serve to adequately distribute the color. To avoid picking up globs of nail polish on your brush, scrape the brush along the inside of the bottle to remove the excess color.
When you're ready to apply the color, try to use three gliding strokes to fill in the entire nail.
"Apply three strokes [and] start in the middle, slightly applying pressure to the brush for even distribution," says Morgan.

3: Shape Accurately
For a beautiful nail canvas, you need to correctly shape your nails by cutting and filing before applying color. One of the most flattering shapes is a squared-off oval, or squoval.
When shaping your nails, start by clipping straight across to a manageable length of about 0.3 centimeters to 0.6 centimeters past the tip of your finger. To achieve the desired shape, file down the nails. Make sure that you file in one direction -- the direction the nails grow -- to prevent splitting.
Don't overdo it, though. "The less filing, the better," says Morgan.

4: Moisturize
While moisturizing is more of a preventive measure against dried out fingers and nails, it's an integral step to perfectly polished nails. "Cracked nails or nails that easily break could be due to dryness," says Larsen. "Moisturizing your nails could prevent cracking or breaking."
A good practice to keep your hands and fingers moisturized is to lotion after each time your hands come in contact with water, whether you're cleaning dishes, jumping in the shower or just washing your hands. At home, an occasional massage with an intensive hand moisturizer and an overnight respite in a pair of cotton gloves can hydrate your hands .
At the spa, you might want to try a hand microdermabrasion. This service can help to exfoliate your hands, allowing the moisturizers to penetrate more deeply into the surface .
Cuticles can be especially prone to dryness, so it's important to keep them moisturized. "Cuticle oil prevents hangnails," says Gina Morgan, senior nail instructor at the International School of Skin and Nail Care.

5: Practice Good Nutrition
Similar to building a house, creating beautiful nail art starts with a good foundation. "Like all parts of the body, healthy and beautiful nails are the result of good nutrition," says Marisa Moore, registered dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. "Following a balanced diet with a variety of fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein, healthy fats and low-fat dairy is the best way to ensure nail growth and health."
While overall good nutrition contributes to health, there are some key areas of your diet to watch carefully when looking to promote healthy nails. "Protein and iron, a mineral, are important to nail health," says Joanne Larsen, registered and licensed dietitian and founder of Ask the Dietitian.
For protein sources, you can eat meat, poultry, fish and other sources such as soy, while iron can be found in oysters, lentils and iron-fortified cereals.
Along with protein and iron, think about biotin. "Biotin, a water soluble B vitamin, may help strengthen nails," says Moore. Biotin can be found in foods such as eggs, broccoli and fish.

Publications: Febstore

Monday, May 21, 2012

How to Blend Nail Tips

For some women, 10 long and flawless fingernails make them feel more feminine. However environmental and physical factors can cause nails to peel or chip. Fortunately, alternatives to perfect natural nails exist. Nail professionals apply artificial tips to the nails to lengthen them.

If you have patience and a steady hand you can apply your own tips. Blending the tip well is a critical step in application.

Blending the tip creates a natural-looking nail extension. It also creates a smooth base for the application of nail enhancements such as acrylic, silk, fiberglass or gel nails. Without properly blending the nail, a ridge forms where the product joins, and does not create the stable base needed for a long-lasting enhancement. Blending the nails becomes especially key when you intend to wear sheer or French manicure nail lacquer since an obvious seam detracts from the beauty.

Select a thin, fast-drying glue that dries clear and leaves no reside. Purchase a file to gently reduce the plastic material that forms the artificial tip. To make the job easier and faster, use a tip blender. It has acetone, which breaks down the plastic material of the nail tip. For the finishing touch, use a buffer to smooth the tip and make the transition to the natural nail seamless.

Select a nail tips that fits snuggly between the sidewalls of the nail. Apply glue directly to the tip, using a small dot of fast-drying nail glue, allowing it to spread evenly on the tips, so you do not have air bubbles once you apply it to the natural nail plate. Place the tip at the top of the free edge of the nail plate and gently roll the tip onto the nail. Once the glue dies, apply the tip blender. Use a 180-grit file to thin the tip where it forms a joint with the natural nail. Buff the nail with a 240-grit buffing block to give the nail a smooth natural surface.

Use a soft 240-grit file to remove the natural shine from the surface of the natural nail. A coarse file could disrupt the layers of the nail plate and cause air or contaminates to become trapped between the natural nail and the tip, resulting in the growth of mold or fungus. Dehydrate the natural nail with alcohol to remove the oils from the nail plate and improve adhesion of the tip to the nail.

Publications: Febstore

Friday, May 18, 2012

The French manicure is a timeless classic in the beauty world.

I can lift any outfit and instantly make you feel pretty, feminine and ready for any special occasion.

Increasingly, nail art is expanding with new colorful tricks and techniques being introduced, and we're not just talking glittery acrylics.

Nail wraps, crackle polishes and newspaper print nails are among the new wave of artist designs that are taking the beauty world by storm. And the best bit? You don't need to spend a fortune on having falsies put on to achieve the looks.

None of us have the luxury of having salon perfect nails, but if you want to achieve a quick and simple manicure, then here a quick step-by-step guide.

1. Apply a base coat to the nail and let it dry.

2. With white polish draw two small vertical lines at either side of the tip and draw a thin line along the tip of the nail. The two lines make it easier to keep the line even. A handy hint, keep the brush flat and make sure there is no excess on the nail to avoid dripping.

3. Once you have your basic line on each nail, go back and make it as dark and defined as you like.

4. When it has dried add a couple of coats to add color and pigment to the nail.

5. When dry, add a clear nail polish for extra shine and protection from chipping.

If you struggle to achieve a straight-ish line on the nail, either use paper tape or French manicure stickers for a rough guide.

Following on from the spring/summer season's love affair with color, it is so easy to use this classic style to change it up a bit with a twist.

Instead of using the traditional base coat pink and white tips why not go for something a little more colorful and daring.

You can combine any contrasting or complimentary colors you’d like and chose a different combination for each finger and really follow the block color trend.

Follow the same technique as the above, but empty out your collection of polishes and have fun creating your own personal manicure!

A little nails at the moment are red and bubblegum pink, but instead of a red body, pink tip I've gone a little different and drawn a diagonal line across from one top corner down the nail. You can make the line as fine or big as you’d like.

It's eye catching and is a great tip for shorter or longer nails.

Publications: Febstore

Friday, May 11, 2012

How to do newspaper print nail art

Nail art is becoming more and more artistic with creative and innovative techniques popping up all the time.

One trend about to take the beauty world by storm is the simple to do, but oh so effective newspaper print nails. Here's a step by step guide as to how to achieve this funky look, with a picture of my nails to show you what the finished product looks like.
For this look you will need:

A pale basecoat, a small amount of vodka/rubbing alcohol 10 strips of newspaper cotton buds A clear topcoat.


1. Apply two coats of your pale basecoat and leave to dry thoroughly. The lighter the color the better for this look as it helps the newspaper print to show up better. Go for either a pale pink/white or grey depending on how much you want the nail to stand out.

2. Put a little vodka into a bowl or a lid. Dip a finger into the vodka for about 10-15 seconds.

3. As soon as you remove it, lay a strip of newspaper, words facing down.

4. Press firmly and rock your finger over the strip of newspaper for 15-20 seconds.

5. Lightly peel back the newspaper and the words will be left on the nail.

6. Repeat this process for all the nails and leave to settle for 2-3 minutes before touching anything or moving around.

7. When the ink has dried sligthtly, apply a LIGHT top coat to the nail. Try to make this as thin as possible so as to avoid it running with the ink. If you do it lightly, then it will stay in place.

8. Once this has dried, go on to do a second coat, this time a little more liberal. This will protect the design and add shine to the finish.

9. When your nails are protected, go around the nail with nail polish remover and a cotton bud to clean away the print.

10. Wash your hands in warm, soapy water to clean the hand thoroughly
There you have it, take a look at mine done with exactly the same process.

Apparently, using filtered water in place of the vodka/alcohol is an option for those with irratable skin or brittle nails.

The print may be a little lighter, so you may have to press down a little longer with the print to achieve a darker tone. Keep practising until you have a look you're happy with.

Take a look at mine, and have a go yourself.
Let FemaleFirst know what you think...

Publications: Febstore

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

How to Apply Nailtiques

Nailtiques is a line of nail care products that conditions and strengthens the nail. The Nailtiques Nail Protein formulas protect the nail from chipping, breaking and peeling while other products fortify brittle nails and soften cuticles. Human nails can easily become damaged through neglect and exposure to harsh chemicals like acetone. Nailtiques reverses existing damage and protects against future problems.

1. Wash hands and remove all remnants of nail polish.
2. Apply a layer of the Nailtiques Nail Protein treatment on each nail. Give the treatment a few minutes to try. Use it alone or as a base coat before you apply your nail polish.
3. Massage the Nailtiques Cuticle and Skin Gel around the base of each nail to soften rough cuticles and dried skin. Use your finger or a Q-tip to rub in the gel.
4. Pull off some of the excess cotton from the Q-tip. Swab the Q-tip into the Nailtiques Nail Moisturizer and apply underneath your nail tips. Leave on overnight to allow it to absorb into the nail beds. This helps build flexible and strong tips.
5. Remove white spots on the surface of the nails by rubbing the Nailtiques Oil Therapy directly onto the nail.
6. Prolong the life and shine of your nail polish by applying about 2-3 drops of the Nailtiques Formula Fix over the polish. This is also used to thin out thickened nail protein. To use on thickened nails, apply 2-3 drops directly onto the nail.

Tips & Warnings
• Use the Nail Protein and Nail Moisturizer about three times a week for best results. Use all other products as needed depending on your nail condition. Nailtiques can also be used on the toes in a similar fashion.

Publications: Febstore

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Nail Care Tips

Your nails are a very important part of your hands and they too need to be well taken care of. Well-kept hands with neat, clean and healthy nails are a pleasure to behold. We can say that for your hands to look beautiful, your nails need to be strong and healthy. To achieve this, you need to undertake certain steps, such as cleaning your nails on a regular basis, treating the cuticles properly and keeping the nails well moisturized. Go through the hand nail care tips given below and know more on keeping your nails healthy and beautiful.

Nail Care Tips
• To harden soft nails, soak them in warm olive oil for about 20 minutes, on alternate days.
• To remove stains from your nails, mix one tablespoon of lemon juice in a cup of water and soak your nails in this liquid for a few minutes. Then, wash off with warm water and apply a hand moisturizer.
• It is not a good idea to remove the cuticles from your nails, as it will make the nail susceptible to infection. Rather, make sure to use good quality cuticle oil and gently push back the cuticles, with the help of an orangewood stick.
• Try to stay away from acetone polish removers as much as you can and stick to the one that make use of acetate. Still, try not to use a polish remover more than once a week.
• In case you wear nail polish, make sure to give your nails a break from time to time. In other words leave them without polish for a few days, every now and then. Otherwise, they will develop an ugly, yellow tint.
• If you want to give a natural shine to your nails, just like the clear base coat, rub petroleum jelly on your nails and then buff them with a soft cloth.
• If you have brittle nails or split and dull nails, then increasing your consumption of Organic Silica, Vitamin B (especially B5) and MSM (Methyl-Sulfonyl-Methane) as it will surely help.
• Never ever resort to nail biting, as it is extremely destructive for the nails as well as the cuticles. If you are in the habit of biting your nails, stop as soon as possible.
• Whenever you wash your hands make sure to dry the nails properly and apply a hand cream or lotion, using it on the nails as well. This is because soap makes the nails dry and brittle.
• The best time to file your nails is when you are already wearing a polish. This will prevent splitting or breaking of nails.
• If you have brittle nails, it is advisable to wear nail polish or at least the clear base coat as much as you can.

Monday, April 9, 2012

3 Basic Nail Care Tips For Healthy Nails

Keep your nails strong, healthy and beautiful with these nail care tips.

The most important aspect in maintaining good looking nails is to protect them from damage. Fortunately, there are numerous ways for us to do this. One is to avoid submerging our nails in water for a long period. This can be very damaging as too much moisture can weaken the nails. The effect is splitting, breaking, and peeling nails due to overexposure to water.

Protect your nails from harsh chemicals as well. Most of the commercial products that we use contain chemicals that may be damaging to our nails. If possible, use only acetone-free nail polish removers as they are milder compared to acetone-based ones. But then again, limit your usage of nail polish remover as they can still dry out your nails.

Never use your nails as tools in opening containers, bottles, and cans. Avoid the habit of opening letters using your nails, too. Avoid scraping things off or prying things open with your nails. There are corresponding tools designed to do such things.

To make your nails a little more resistant to water, wear nail polish or a clear nail hardener. Nail polish application does play an important role in proper nail care. It not only acts as a fashion style and accessory but it also aids in providing a protective layer for your nails. You can settle with clear nail polish if you prefer the natural look. Go for chic colored nail polish or eye-catching nail art if you want your nails to be more noticeable.

But whichever you choose, there are some things that you should still consider. You still need to prepare your nail plate prior to polish application. Clean, trim, file and buff your nails to create a clean and smooth surface. Apply a base coat so the polish won’t stain your nails. Both base coat and top coat will lengthen the life of the polish on your nails, which means lengthening the days before your subject them to the harsh chemicals contained in nail polish remover.

In general, you should not subject your nails to manicure and pedicure more than once a week.

To protect your nails from water, wear gloves when washing dishes, gardening, and doing other house chores. Use gloves as well when using bleach, solvents, and other cleaning products. Also, limit the amount of time that your hands are immersed in water. When removing nail polish, soak them in nail polish remover only in a few minutes.

Eat a healthy diet and go for foods rich in calcium and protein as they can help promote healthy and strong nails. Biotin, a substance in most dietary supplements, and Vitamin E contribute to healthy nails and hair as well. To keep the proper blood flow in your fingers, massage your nails with hand cream. Also, keep your nails at a considerable length to prevent getting caught and breaking.

Publications: Febstore

Friday, April 6, 2012

More Tips for better Nail Care: Common Questions

Why won't nails grow?
Unless you have some type of medical condition that prevents it, your nails are growing. On average, your nails grow about 1/8 of an inch per month. The reason why most people's nails don't seem to grow is because they break before they see results. Many people bite their nails, rip them off, others tend to shed or peel. The best way to see results is to start a healthy nail program with your nail technician.

Will artificial nails keep my nails from growing crooked?
If your nails have always grown a certain way, they will continue to grow that way forever or something changes your nail matrix (the "brain" of the nail). Nail enhancements can only "cover" your natural nail appearance, not change it.

What can you do about ridges in nails?
Actually, nothing. If you've always had them, you always will. If you never had them before and just started to notice them, one reason could be stress or simply the fact that you're getting older. As we get older the nails on our hands & toes become ridged. In order to get a smooth polish application just GENTLY buff the nail surface with a white block buffer, remove the dust; apply a ridge filler base coat, two coats of polish, and finally a topcoat.

How can I help my dry skin and cuticles?
Moisturize, Rehydrate, Oil and Lotion... any chance you get! Keep a good quality hand cream with you always. Whenever you wash your hands, apply it. Also, use a good quality cuticle oil and gently rub into your cuticles twice a day. For really chapped hands & feet I recommend a nice dip in paraffin wax.

Should cuticles and calluses be cut?
NO!! Never cut your cuticles or cut your calluses. These are your body’s armor. The cuticle protects the nails from infections, and the calluses give you shock absorbers. If you cut them, they will grow back thicker and harder, and possibly create an infection. The best way to care for your cuticles is to apply good quality cuticle oil and gently push them back with an orangewood stick. You may carefully trim any hangnails or for best results, schedule a manicure with your nail technician.

What causes finger nail damage?
The nail can be damaged by nail-biting, scratching the nail folds, bad manicuring, or trauma such as slamming a finger in a car door. Damaged nails may appear ridged or cracked and broken. If they do not appear "normal" after about one year, then most likely the nail matrix has been damaged and the nail will never be normal again.

What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a hereditar y disorder which most commonly affects the skin on the elbows, knees, face, and even the scalp with a rash like appearance. In the finger nails, psoriasis may appear as pits in the nail plate, or as the nail plate separating from the nail bed (onycholysis). Other symptoms include the nail losing its normal luster, appearing discolored, or grossly thickening.

What is Paronychia?
Paronychia is an inflammation of the nail folds commonly caused by constant exposure to moisture. Exposure to bacteria or fungus can often cause a secondary infection accompanied by painful swelling of the nail fold. If the infection goes untreated for an extended period of time, the nail plate can become deformed. Paronychia can be treated by draining the infected nail fold, taking oral antibiotics, or using a topical antifungal or antiseptic lotion. If you have paronychia it's best to avoid prolonged exposure to water (e.g. washing dishes), or try wearing gloves.

What do Nails reveal about your health?
Take a look at your fingernails. Are they strong and healthy-looking? Or do you see ridges, or areas of unusual color or shape? The condition of your nails may offer clues to your general health. Illness can cause changes in your nails that your doctor can use to develop a diagnosis.

Here are a few nail disorders that may be linked with illnesses:
Beau's lines - Indentations that run across your nail. This can appear when growth at the matrix (nail root) is disturbed by severe illness such as a heart attack, measles, or pneumonia.

Clubbing - your fingertips widen and become round while the nails curve around your fingertips caused by enlargement in connective tissue as compensation for a chronic lack of oxygen. Lung disease is present in 80 percent of people who have clubbed fingers.

Half-and-Half (Lindsay's nails) - Look for an arc of brownish discoloration. It may appear in a small percentage of people who have a kidney disorder.

Onycholysis (ON-i-ko-LY-sis) - the nail separates from the nail bed. Most of the time, this problem is associated with physical injury (trauma), psoriasis, drug reactions, fungal disease or contact dermatitis from using nail hardeners. Sometimes onycholysis can be related to an over- or under-active thyroid gland, iron deficiency, or syphilis.

Spoon nails - soft nails that look scooped out. Depression is usually large enough to hold a drop of liquid. This condition often indicates iron deficiency.

Terry's nails - the nail looks opaque and white, but the nail tip has a dark pink to brown band. This can be a symptom of cirrhosis, congestive heart failure, adult-onset diabetes, cancer, or aging.

Publications: Febstore

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Essie Apricot Cuticle Oil & OPI Acetone Free Polish Remover Are Great For Nails

Don´t your nails drive you crazy?

Mine do! Flaking, peeling, splitting, breaking and of course, I don’t really help much as I’m constantly taking the nail polish off, but let’s move on from that.

Every now and then I try to take care of them. Since I was not able to buy the amazing L’Onglex anywhere nearby, I picked up some ridiculously pricey Opi Acetone Free Polish Remover a while back. I’ll explain: I was in London, any other product was very small, very expensive or one of those awful removers that take your lacquer off down to the bone. I hate that stuff, so Opi it was.

Anyway, expensive as it was (£7.35 according to it’s pretty good. It’s hassle free, whips off stains and brightens in seconds. Great job! Will I replace it? Hmmmm. I might, but I might just get some L’Onglex instead.

The other thing I’ve been using recently is Essie Apricot Cuticle oil in an attempt to strengthen my nails. My nails are prone to weaken, peel and split at the tips. I can never keep a manicure in place for more than a day or two at the most because there’s so much going on with my nails.

Needless to say, I’d like to fix this.

I’m not very high maintenance and neither do I want to look over-groomed but just occasionally it’d be nice to hear a complement about my nails. The Essie oil was about €14 at Boots Liffey Valley from what I recall – although I’m sure you could find it a lot cheaper online.

Publications: Febstore

Friday, March 23, 2012

12 Things Your Nail Salon Doesn't Want You to Know Part 1

Your nails create big beauty salon business. Spending anywhere from $10 - $45 a pop for a manicure and $15 - $50 for a pedicure (not including tip), your weekly or monthly salon visits are costing you precious pampering dollars. No wonder it's a six billion dollar a year industry.
Skip to see the 11 things your nail salon doesn't want you to know now.
As you can imagine, the money you spend on these little luxuries is very important to the salon industry, meaning they will do whatever it takes to keep you coming back for more. While sometimes "whatever it takes" is going above and beyond excellent service, cleanliness and technique, it can also mean cutting corners and deceiving the salon layman in order to keep costs down and business booming.

And not to totally scare you, but what's supposed to be a luxurious treat, can sometimes turn into your worst nightmare -- think skin eating diseases and infections. While yes, millions of women get manicures each year and don't experience any serious or life-threatening side effects, you'd be naive to believe that it could never happen to you. Nail salons that have been insufficiently cleaned or performed bad sanitization practices, as well as ones with inadequately trained nail technicians, could be a breeding ground for bacteria and a dangerous place for you to "unwind."

This is why we went straight to the pros who know -- nail technicians and a podiatrist in order to uncover the secrets nail salons don't want you to know. Read on to learn how to save money at the salon, your nails and possibly your life.

You are always at risk
Podiatrist Dr. Robert Spalding, author of "Death by Pedicure," states that "at this time, an estimated one million unsuspecting clients walk out of their chosen salon with infections -- bacterial, viral and fungal." And no matter which salon you go to, there is always a risk of infection. He claims that in his research "75 percent of salons in the United States are not following their own state protocols for disinfections," which includes not mixing their disinfectant solutions properly on a daily basis, not soaking their instruments appropriately, and using counterfeit products to reduce costs (for example Windex substituted for Barbicide), says the doctor. And the problem is that there is no way to really "verify an instrument has been properly soaked and sterilized," without watching the process.

They don't turn customers away
Like most businesses, most nail salons won't turn away paying customers, which means that people who are sick, have nail infections or foot fungus are being worked on next to you instead of being referred to an appropriate medical professional.

Dr. Spalding says that the greatest danger of the nail salon is "The transmission of infection from one client to another." And with "millions of people whose immune systems are compromised by diabetes, HIV, cancer, hepatitis and other infective organisms" booking services offered in nail salons, many are dangerously susceptible to infection, warns the doctor.

They swap and dilute bottles
In her long history as a nail technician, celebrity manicurist Jin Soon Choi, owner of Jin Soon Natural Hand and Foot Spas in New York City, says she has heard of many salons filling expensive lotion bottles with a cheap generic lotion. That way the salons can charge you more for the manicure by claiming to use prestige products, but in reality are just deceiving you.

Similarly, she says that some salons will dilute nail polish bottles that have become clumpy from old age or from too much air exposure with nail polish remover. This action compromises the quality of the polish, which will make the formula chip easier once on your nails. To ensure the life of your color and to protect any possible germ.

Just because there is no blood, doesn't mean you haven't been cut
"Breaks in the skin can be microscopic or highly visible," says Dr. Spalding. They can either come in with the client via "cuts, scratches, hangnails, bitten nails, insect bites, paper cuts, split cuticles -- or be created in the salon," he says. "Nail techs using callus-cutting tools and nail nippers, files, cuticle pushers, and electric burrs and drills, can and do scratch and nick skin," sometimes drawing blood and sometimes not. But just because no blood is visible, doesn't mean these "portals of entry" aren't susceptible to infective organisms, the doctor advises.

If you've ever had your nails filed and it momentarily feels "too hot in the corner for even a second," then you've had the surface layer of your skin broken -- leaving it open for infection.

Publications: Febstore

Monday, February 6, 2012

Long Nails

Long nails on women are considered sexy by many people, but there is caution. According to a study done by Shelly McNeil, M.D., an infectious-disease specialist at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, nails longer than three centimeters (just a bit over one inch) are five times more likely than trimmed nails to carry the pesky pathogens that cause staph and yeast infections.

To be on the safe side, Dr. McNeil warns that you need to be diligent about washing your hands (especially after contact with such germ-prone items as doorknobs, public toilets and gym equipment). You also might want to carry an alcohol-based hand gel that can be used to disinfect your hands when soap and water aren't available.

Note: Acrylics and other falsies can carry more harmful bacteria and are more difficult to disinfect.

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