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   Nail Care
Artificial nails were first developed in Hollywood in the 1930S using basic plastics which were fine for photograph-ic purposes but looked false in real life. Today's  false  nails  are  much  more sophisticated, tougher and less likely to damage the nail underneath. There are four main types of false nails to choose from, depending on whether you want to replace a broken nail or have the instant gratification of a complete set of false nails.
Stick-on nails
These are precast plastic nail shapes that you apply with a special fixative or double-sided tape. They can be applied at home and look natural so long as you  choose the right size. Most suppliers offer stick-on nails in a variety of nail widths.

Brush-on acrylic nails
The surface of the nail is first roughened and then the acrylic chemical is painted  on and allowed to dry. It can then be styled into the desired shape. It grows out  with your own nail. It is best carried out by a professional manicurist.

Nail extensions
These are made of plastic and are bond-ed to your nails with, a special glue to ensure that they stay in place until your nail grows out. They can be filed as your  nails get longer. Again, these are best applied by a professional manicurist.

Nail wrapping
This technique is used to reattach a bro-ken nail tip to the nail or extend the length of your nails. A combination of fine tissue papers and fast drying glue is used to buildup your nails. This is best left to a professional manicurist for good  results. Right: False nails can look as good as the real thing. Below left:  Take care to match the false stick-on nail to the shape of the nail bed. Below: Nail wrapping is a technique which combines fine tissue papers and  fast drying glue to build up your nails.

Hands and feet are often the most neglected areas, yet the way they look gives our inner secrets away. Cared-for nails are a sign that the rest of our body is well looked after too. Vitamin deficiencies show up as weak and splitting nails; insecurity appears as nail biting; stress can slow growth; Spend a little time and effort sorting our dry, flaky nails, and hard, rough skin, and thanks to the latest technical advances in nail care, a perfect set of strong, healthy nails in now within reach.

Home Manicure

  1. Remove old nail polish with a single stroke by soaking a cotton wool pad with nail polish remover. Wipe away traces of polish around the cuticles stick dipped in remover.

  2. Using an emery board, shape nails lightly, working from both edges towards the centre. Avoid moving the board back and forth quickly, which produces heat that dries out the nail and leads to splitting. Try holding the emery board at a single angle under the nail. Don't file down the sides- the nail tip needs the sides as support, otherwise it will weaken and nicks form.

  3. Apply a cuticle remover around the nail contours. Using the tip of a cuticle stick wrapped in cotton wool, gently push back the skin. Work away dead tissue before carefully passing the stick under cuticles.

  4. Wash your hands in warm soapy water, and brush nails with a soft manicure brush so that polish will adhere to them properly. Pat hands dry with a towel.

  5. If nails are weak, apply a strengthening or hardening product, paying special attention to the tips. Allow to dry.

  6. Apply a protective base coat, covering the entire nail but stopping short of the cuticle.

  7. Apply two coats of polish, starting with a single stroke down the center of the nail, then across the cuticle base and down the two sides without touching the cuticle. Allow each coat to dry.

  8. Finish with a top coat for extra gloss and the shield against chipping.

For optimum skin and nail health, check that your diet includes plenty of vitamin A, E and B complex, and the minerals calcium, Zinc, magnesium and iodine. If need be, take nail-fortifying vitamin and minerals supplements.

Thirty-minute pedicure

  1. Clean toenails and remove all traces of polish with a conditioning remover, as described for the manicure.

  2. Cut toenails using a nail clipper and file into the desired shape using the rough side of an emergy board. Hold the board slightly angled down over the edge of the nail. Smooth the edges towards the centre with a light motion; don't cut or file them always as this weakens the nail and can lead to ingrowing toenails.

  3. Lightly massage the nail contours with a cuticle oil or cream.

  4. Place both feet in a bowl of warm water into which you have added a handful of bath salts or a few drops of pure essential oil such as peppermint. Soak feet for five to ten minutes.

  5. Dry feet throughly with a towel and apply a drop of cuticle remover to the nail contours. Leave it on for a few minutes while you smooth away any hard skin or callouses on the soles of your feet using an exfoliating cream. Then gently 'roll' the cuticles back with a manicure stick covered with cotton wool. Massage hard skin again with the scrub, then rinse off in the warm water.

  6. Rinse your feet in cold water to boost circulation. Dry them again with a towel, paying special attention to the skin between your toes.

  7. Clean your toenails again with a cotton pad soaked in remover to take off any oily film.

  8. If required, apply a hardening formula to the toenails, taking care not to let it touch the cuticle or the surrounding skin.

  9. Apply a base coat, followed by two coats of polish, ans finally a top coat, as described for the manicure. Placing cotton wool between your toes separates them to make applying polish easier.

The cuticles on toenails are so tough, it's important to work on them with a cuticle remover at least once a month, paying particular attention to the little toe, which usually suffers the most. If you have a dry skin on your feet, the best way to remove it is with a scrub cream, which will leave your feet smoother and well conditioned or best of all, use pumice stone for smoothing those rough patches

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