Image: Showbit

Stop tormenting your talons! Are you inadvertently injuring your nails with these shockingly common beauty boo-boos?  Presenting some “handy” tips for manicure maintenance:

1. Are you clipping your cuticles?
Uh-uh, bad move. Your cuticles serve as a sort of shield against external aggressors, so cutting them means risking all manner of infections, as you’re essentially granting germs, grime and gunk access to the vulnerable underside of your nails.

Instead of slashing your cuticles into submission, what you should do is to softly push them back using nail-specific wooden sticks; this will also lend the illusion of leaner, longer fingers. And be scrupulous about sterilising your clippers – dunk them in soapy scalding water! – and only utilise them on your nails proper.

2. Are you a gel mani addict?
Think of the time spent subjecting your fingers to the flare of a UV lamp – yes, these lamps emit the same dermis-damaging rays as the sun – and you’ll quickly realise how you might develop dessicated Donatella-esque hands.

Indeed, you’ll find a slew of studies refuting the supposed safety of nail lamps. Most damning is this particular doozy of a paper titled thusly: “Occurrence of non-melanoma skin cancers on the hands after UV nail light exposure.” ‘Nuff said, really.

Of course, this needn’t be the final nail in the coffin for your monthly mani and pedi. The solution is simple: Always, always apply sunscreen on your hands. If you know you’ll be rocking gel extensions, prep in advance by slathering on a high SPF body cream – and this is best practice for everyone, nail art addict or otherwise. There’s no shame in being sun-safe!

3. Are you a hygiene freak obsessed with hoarding hand sanitiser?
Trash those toxic tubes right now, which are more often than not absolutely alcohol-laden (read: dehydrating and hangnail-inducing), and pamper your paws with a hugely hydrating “bath” instead. I recommend rinsing off with a repurposed shower gel, which are much milder on your manicure. Top tip: Stash them in cute little containers for use in lieu of skin-stripping soaps at your office.

4. Do you peel off your acrylic or gel nails when they start to flake?
Girl, #stahp. Ripping off tenacious acrylic topcoats can take layers off your actual nail – including the entire nail-bed itself. Not worth it, to put it mildly. What to do instead? Well, you’ve already invested good money on your mani, so woman up and cough up cash for a professional removal.

5. Are you icky about using “sticky” hand lotions?
Much like hydrating your face, you need to drench your digits in moisture on a daily basis. Lube up nightly and nourish damaged nails back to life with a comforting cuticle cream every evening. Simply slap on oodles of ointment around each nail-bed, then wipe off any excess after about five minutes or so. This targeted treatment is amazing for alleviating painful hangnails, so feel free to massage any excess product directly onto your digits and the back of your hand.

Easy enough, right? With these tips, you won’t have to deny yourself the pleasures of, shall we say, a truly killer set of talons! Cheers to comforting your cuticles back to top-notch condition!