For many brides, once the engagement ring is on their finger, the beauty prep begins, booking monthly hair appointments and sinking hours into researching skin and hair products to give them their dream hair and perfect glow. However, only some people think about the nails! Not only on the day you will be taking a million and one photos of the rings but in the months between engagement and wedding, people will be asking to see the ring constantly. You don't want to flash the diamond only to realise your nails look crusty! Start your manicure prep early; we guarantee you'll be so glad you did.
Moisture, Moisture, Moisture
As with most beauty treatments, moisture plays a vital role in the final outcome. It's pretty hard to get smooth, long-standing polish coverage if your nail bed is dry and flakey, even worse if the skin around your nails is also dry and flakey! Using nail and cuticle oil a few times a day does wonders for the strength and texture of your nail bed, and if you're anything like me, you absent-mindedly apply a few drops and then go about your day. As always, the Irish brand Ground Wellbeing has the perfect organic oil for your nails, their Protect Nail & Cuticle Oil, is specially formulated for compromised around the nails using hardworking anti-oxidants, white tea and mandarin to help combat stress in the nail bed, while sea buckthorn and avocado infused with red algae help to moisturise and protect the skin around the nail.
Jewels Not Tools
Suppose you've ever had an acrylic or gel set done in a salon. In that case, you've probably heard the phrase, "Treat them like jewels, not tools." using your nails for grunt work like opening packages, using them to get into little places or digging around in your handbag blindly is a great way to destroy all your hard work and dedication to nail and hand care in one fell swoop! Adding a protein treatment into your routine can help build your nail strength as you go about your day; Protein Formula For Nails has a great line of products, each working in tandem to boost the protein level in your nails. Their Number 2 Grow has recently seen a surge in popularity, with many nail technicians raving about it's usefulness.
If you're adamant that you can't wait to find a pair of scissors or a helpful hand to crack open a can, then it's important to take preventative measures and work on developing your nail strength; this means drinking at least 1 litre of water a day, adjusting your diet to make sure you're getting B12, keratin and biotin in the foods you eat and even taking supplements to give your body that extra boost!
Nothing is more uncomfortable than dry, itchy hands, especially when you've spent so much time caring for your nails! Proper skincare isn't just for your face; your hands should be getting the brunt of the attention, seeing as they're your most used asset. Good hand maintenance starts with something as simple as your hand soap; you might fall into the category of people who grab whatever is on sale in the supermarket without care for scent or moisture level, or, heaven forbid, you use dish soap! But did you know that one of the best soaps for your skin is the humble Dove beauty bar, highly recommended by dermatologists and under €2 for a twin pack; It contains no parabens or sulfate cleansers and is pH-balanced to help skin retain natural moisture rather than stripping it away – as other soap bars can.
After you've washed your hands clean, it's on to moisturising. One of my favourite things about having a desk job is the chance to slather my hands in treatments throughout the day and still work, but understandably, if you don't have that luxury, then building a solid routine will work wonders! For products, you want to avoid overloading the skin, so stick to one or two creams and oils and go to town. I love the Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment; it's not too oily and doesn't have a strong scent, so I don't notice it once it's on. Made with 26% organic and Fair Trade shea butter, that helps soothe and hydrate the hands. The softening balm also contains organic sesame oil, baobab oil and white mulberry extract, which strengthens nails and protects against external aggressions such as cold weather and repeated washing.
Just like with the rest of your skin, regular hand exfoliation does wonders for skin texture and how it absorbs product. Plus, you're keeping your hands looking younger for longer, which couldn't possibly be a downside! Cult beauty brand AESOP has the product just for you; their Reverence Aromatique Hand Wash contains a fine grade of milled Pumice, offering a mild and refreshing exfoliation, while the antiseptic properties of Bergamot Rind purify the skin. Use twice a week with your other steps will leave your hands looking heavenly, just in time for the obligatory up-close ring photos!
Just like with your hair, having regular monthly appointments to keep everything in order plays a much more significant role in perfecting wedding nails than any one-off product could. Whether going to a salon or doing it at home, regularly shaping your nails, pushing back your cuticles and adding a protective top coat allows your nails to grow strong, healthy and uniform. Save your nail tech the stress and struggle of turning uneven, flaking nails into the perfect bridal set and cleave your appointment time in twain.