Full disclosure. One of the top 5 concerns of wearing press-on nails is damage they might inflict on your natural nails. You are obsessed with the latest nail art design but afraid of the glue, the application and removal process and you heard all the horror stories of press-on nails damaging natural nails. We are here to bust these myths and tell you transparently what could potentially cause the damage and how to avoid it and wear press-on nails without any concern.
UNDERSTANDING THE CAUSE
Let's start with nail biology lesson. Your natural nails are made from Keratin protein same as your hair - if you ever wondered. Nails start their growth under your skin under your cuticle. As new cells grow, they push old ones through your skin. The visible part of your nail are technically dead-cells - that's why it doesn't hurt to cut your nails.
Although the nails you can see are dead and have no sensitivity, under them there is a layer of skin called the dermis full of sensory nerve endings that feel sensation of touch or pain when pressure applied to your nails.
Your nail surface is relatively porous and will soak up water and moisture which keeps the nails from becoming dry and eventually brittle.
To make any manicure last - salon or press-on nails - you will need to do a proper prep, which means removing the natural moisture, oils and dirt from your nails by gently buffing their surface and wiping them with alcohol pad to remove any unwanted germs and prevent infection.
You can learn all about applying press-on nails by following this simple tutorial.
WHAT CAUSES THE DAMAGE?
When you lock your nails under the artifical nails there is technically no moisture - and they stay in a dry airtight environment for up to 2 weeks. The glue is firmly gripped between your natural nail and false nail. At this stage whether you like it or not - the glue wins the battle to your natural nails if you force removal and not follow the removal instructions carefully. When you "rip-off" the press-on nails, it normally takes off the top layer, leaving your nail surface uneven at places.
IS THERE ANYTHING I CAN DO TO PROTECT MY NAILS BEFORE REMOVAL?
Following removal steps carefully is key to prevent damage. But if you already asked - we shall deliver. Some experts recommend adding one coat of base layer polish between the natural nail and glue layer. Does it really work? - we frankly don't have supporting data - but we trust fellow nail artists.
HOW TO AVOID DAMAGE?
Patience will take you long way.
If you applied your nails with adhesive tabs, simply peel them off and apply a cuticle oil to rehydrate the nail surace. If you applied nails with a nail glue take into consideration that this method was made to make nails last up to 2 - 3 weeks. Therefore if you want to remove the nails that you applied with glue on day 2-3 try to wait one or two extra days - shorten them with nail clipper and paint them with nail polish if you don't like the finish - delaying the removal for 1-2 extra days will decrease the chances of damaging your nails.
The ideal time to remove press-on nails is when they start to lift off your natural nails by them selves. You should expect that earliest in the second or third week of the wear. At this point, you can proceed with the following steps:
1. Pour yourself a hot bowl of water, add dish soap and oil (olive oil is perfect) and soak hands for 10-15 minutes. This will help loosen the glue.
2. With the help of cuticle stick or simply the tips of press-ons carefully lift the bottom edge of the nails next to the cuticle for water to penetrate under the nails.
3. When ready, the press-on nails will simply slide off without damaging your natural nails.
4. There are bits of glue left on my natural nail - no worries - simply buff them off with a help of polishing nail file
5. Moisturise your nails with a rich lotion or cuticle oil - they are hungry for nourishment after weeks of dry spell.
Following these tips will help you not only prevent the unwanted damage, but grow your natural nails too! So the verdict is - the press-on nails with not damage your natural nails if you carefully follow the instructions.
I WASN'T PATIENT ENOUGH AND I RIPPED THE NAILS OFF NOW MY NATURAL NAILS ARE DAMAGED - HELP ME!
Nails take up about 3 months to grow out from roots to tips. You have probably heard about keratin treatments for your hair - the same magical ingredients will help salve your damaged nails too - there is plenty of repairing nail polishes and treatments that will help to restore the nails to healthy looking.
If you are on budget, put a polishing nail file to work - smoothen the nail surface as much as you can, and close it off with neutral nail polish.
HEADS UP - THE DAMAGE WON'T LAST FOREVER
Even if you did them really bad - the nails won't stay uneven for life - the fresh growth will push out the damage and the new growth will be healthy as ever.
One last tips, try to wear gloves when you are doing dishes or cleaning. Exposure to harsh cleaning products will further dry your nails and extend the recovery process.
Voila - it really feels good being transparent. Good luck babe! You will nail this!
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