A Foolproof Guide to Great Nails, Courtesy of a Professional Nail Artist

With four pro tips and best polish recommendations, you’re going to want to take notes.
Kokouu / Getty Images

Kokouu / Getty Images


Next time a two-week-old manicure is gradually growing out and beginning to chip away, think twice before you succumb to the temptation of peeling the remnants of gel away. This seemingly harmless (and dare we say satisfying?) choice can damage your nail beds tremendously, according to professional nail artist Sydney Beggins.

Despite being commonly overlooked in our daily hygiene habits, routine nail care is crucial from both an aesthetic and health perspective. Think of your skincare or hair routine – what if you only shampooed once every three weeks or moisturized your face a handful of times a month. Well, your body would be begging for some TLC, and your nails are no exception. With such a wealth of knowledge at our disposal, we had to ask Beggins for her top tips for nurturing our nails.

Four Rules to Live by for Healthy Nails

1. Soak off your polish. 

“Make sure you soak off whatever you have on your nails using acetone,” Beggins warns. “For regular polish, soak and you’re good to go. For gel, buff off the top layer and then soak. Don’t scrape or file with old polish because it will damage your nail plate and nothing will adhere properly.” Beggins says if you feel that the climate is cooler, you can wrap your nails in foil to speed up the process of removal.

2. Cuticle oil is your best friend.

“Keep it by your bedside table and make slathering a generous amount a nightly routine,” she says. Neglecting cuticle oil can result in cracked polish due to dry cuticles.

3. Wear gloves.

If you hand wash your dishes often, wear gloves. The constant submergence in water can break down the adhesive over time and cause the lifting of extensions or chip polish/gel lacquer.

4. Be regular. 

Maintain your nails regularly! Show your nails some attention at least every 2-4 weeks depending on your growth. Beggins says this is crucial to keeping cuticles from overgrowing, preventing damage to nails that may be longer than usual and chipping of paint or lifting of extensions, which can lead to other complications.

With this mini guide sure to improve the well-being of your digits, the next important thing to consider is the power of a good polish. There are endless brands and types out there, making it hard to narrow down which is worth the purchase. These are Beggins’s tried and true mentions:

Favorite Products for Healthy Nails

Gelish

Gelish was the first brand to bring a brush-in-gel bottle to the market. Committed to the highest of quality formulas, Beggins says you can never go wrong with their products. Don’t be misled: gel manicures are not limited to the salon! Gelish also has a great cuticle oil.

MINI Soak-Off Gel Nail Polish Complete starter Kit ($115.00)

 

O.P.I. 

All of O.P.I.’s polishes provide an extremely rich pigment and are known for being exceptionally long-lasting and chip resistant. Their offerings give a coveted luxury finish while maintaining a friendly price tag. Plus, O.P.I. is famous for some of the best color names in the business, including the classics like “Funny Bunny” or “Lincoln Park After Dark”.

Infinite Shine Long-Wear Nail Polish Base Coat & Top Coat Duo ($13.99)

Pattie Yanky

Pattie Yanky products are vegan and cruelty-free. The brand matches 5% of sales on all orders in support of the Redeeming Love Foundation, which supports organizations that help prevent sex trafficking and abuse.

Paid In Full PYP13 ($9.99)

“Nails are a key indicator of health and well-being,” Beggins says. “They may seem trivial, but they are important in so many ways. Treat them accordingly!”

About the Expert

“When you meet someone, your nails say something about you before you even say a word” professional nail artist Sydney Beggins shared. Nails are far more important than we realize. “Aside from being a direct extension of one’s self, they are also the furthest body part from your heart, making them a key indicator of health and wellbeing” Beggins shared.

Sydney Beggins received her New York State Specialty Nail License from Christine Valmy Beauty School in the Spring of 2022, following her withdrawal from the Fashion Institute of Technology to pursue her passion for nails professionally. You can check out Sydney’s work here.


Published
Elizabeth Wentwoth

ELIZABETH WENTWOTH

Elizabeth Wentwoth is an Editorial Intern at SI Swimsuit. She is currently completing her Bachelor’s degree in Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Growing up in New Hampshire, Elizabeth has always loved spending her free time at the beach and hiking. She also loves to cook and bake, experimenting with new recipes whenever she gets the chance.