8 Ways Your Manicure Could Be Ruining Your Nails

Let’s just be superficial for a second and admit the real reason we go to the nail salon: The purpose of a manicure is to make our nails look pretty. We know that sometimes our DIY manicures don’t end up looking as perfect as they do when we splurge on a professional mani, but our at-home attempts usually result in something half decent. However, what if I told you that your manicure could actually be ruining your nails?

You’ve probably read enough terrifying news articles to know what bad things can happen to your digits in a not-so-clean nail salon, like cuts that lead to infections and tools that haven’t been cleaned properly and cause fungus. However, doing an at-home manicure doesn’t mean you’re excused from any damage. You’re probably familiar with stained nails after wearing a dark nail polish and no base coat, but that is just the starting point. From nail files to gel polishes and everything in between, there is potential for some nail damage to happen.

It might sound like I’m trying to scare you off of manicures, but I’m not. The majority of the things that are ruining your nails come down to choices and poor techniques. And most of the time, we’re unaware that what we’re doing is actually bad. I’m giving you the 411 on manicure techniques so next time you’re going to paint your nails, you can avoid ’em. You’ll still get your cool nail polish for #ManicureMonday, but hopefully it won’t result in damaged nails. Take a look at the ways your manicure could be ruining your nails.

Filing Incorrectly Can Make Your Nails Split

Do you file your nails the way you would saw a tree log in half? If you're filing them back and forth and putting a lot of pressure on your nails, you may end up with a nail shape that you like, but you're causing damage. You're actually fraying your nails, which can lead to splits and hang nails. Instead of the back and forth movement, keep it in one direction. And be gentle.

Image source: iStock

Nail Polish Can Make Your Nails Weak

Your actual nail polish could be the issue because of the harsh formula. It can make your nails more weak and less susceptible to breakage. Three-free nail polishes, five-free, and more are the way to go to get rid of some damaging chemicals. There are also non-toxic, temporary ones that are geared towards kids that are actually worth checking out. Breathable nail polishes are another up-and-coming category that are great for keeping your nails looking their best.

Image source: iStock

Cuticle Clipping Is A No-No

The cuticle is part of your nails too and it should be looked after properly. Some of us ignore it, while others go crazy with the clippers. If you fall into the latter category, put those clippers down. Now. The cuticle protects the nail, so cutting it can open yourself up to infections. New flash: An infection is a million times worse than a sloppy polish application. Trust.

A lot of nail salons will cut your cuticles automatically, so make sure you say you don't want them cut. If you're doing it on your own, just use cuticle oil for moisture.

Image source: iStock

The Wrong Nail Shape Can Mess With Your Nails

We've seen some crazy nail shapes emerge in the past few years, like bubble nails and duck feet nails. If you're going for an extreme shape, note that some are more hazardous than others. Stiletto nails may be dangerous to your eyes, but duck feet nails can actually be more on an issue. One nail tech on a Yahoo! Answers forum said that because of the way they flare out at the ends, it can cause breakage. Keep things short and you'll have less chance of incidents.

Image source: iStock

No Base Coat Stains Nails

Yeah, I know. Base coats are another extra step in your manicure. A base coat means more work and a longer drying time. However, that base coat is actually worth it. In addition to a smoother, longer-lasting application, the base coat creates a barrier between your nails and the polish. That means you won't have to worry about staining. Furthermore, you can pick up base coats with nail-nourishing formulas for extra goodness.

Image source: iStock

Gel Manicure UV Lights May Cause Cancer

Gel manicures may last a long time, but they can also damage your nails. The at-home versions aren't as strong as the pro ones, but the pre-treatment for gel manicures is often very drying. You'll notice that a lot of people who do gel manicures have very weak and brittle nails. Plus, you're exposing your nails and hands to UV light, which could actually lead to skin cancer.

Image source: iStock

Always Wearing Nail Polish Can Make Your Nails Weak

If you're a manicure addict, the thought of going without any nail polish is a little crazy. I get where you're coming from. I sometimes don't remember what my nails look like underneath all that polish. However, it is good to give your nails a literal breather now and again, especially if you're using harsh polishes. Wearing polish all the time can make your nails more weak and lead to breakage.

Image source: iStock

Harsh Removers Dry Out Nails

Acetone may get that nail polish off, but it can also leave behind dry, brittle nails. Select a nail polish remover with an acetone-free formula to limit the damage done to your digits. Not only is acetone toxic, but it's also super drying and can irritate your nails and the skin around them.

Image source: iStock

What other ways have you ruined your nails? Let us know in the comments!

You can follow the author, Heather Cichowski, on Twitter.


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