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Artificial Nails: Acrylics, Gels, and Silks

10 Tips for Artificial Nails

  1. Go to a pro to get your nails. At-home products "require a lot of skill, far more than do-it-yourself hair color," says Doug Schoon, co-chair of the Professional Beauty Association's Nail Manufacturer Council on Safety.  
  2. Don't peel off your artificial nails. "They're designed to adhere to the nail, so if you peel them off, it yanks off the top layer of your nail," Schoon says. After they're off, your own natural nails should look healthy. Go to a pro to get it done right.
  3. Choose a nail technician based on recommendations from friends, rather than basing it only on location or price. "A lot of people walk into the salon down the street because they see a price in the window that looks attractive, but they're not getting the same service as they would going to someone educated with the right skills," Schoon says. "If your nail technician isn't experienced, she can file your nail plate too thin when applying gels or acrylics, which can damage your nails."
  4. Your nail salon should look clean and disinfect tools between clients.
  5. Your nail technician should wash their hands before working on your nails and ask you to do the same.
  6. Leave your cuticles alone. Don't let anyone at the nail salon cut or push back your cuticles. Breaking the seal between your fingernail and nail bed can lead to infections.
  7. Don't bandage or try to repair a damaged nail yourself. Go to a professional so you don't get a nail infection.
  8. Ask your technician how to care for your nails between visits. "It's important to get a good, knowledgeable nail technician, someone who can teach you how to properly maintain your nails," Schoon says.
  9. Speak up if something seems off. Tell your technician if you're in any pain after your artificial nails have been applied, because they aren't supposed to hurt. If you develop rashes or itchiness around the fingertips or your eyes, face, or neck (which many women often touch with their hands), Kleinsmith says you could ask your doctor if you're sensitive to one of the ingredients in your artificial nails.
  10. Go natural now and then. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends skipping artificial nails occasionally, to give your own nails a break.

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