Expert tips to prep your hands and nails for summer

The arrival of the warmer months calls for a complete rethink of your hand care and manicure routine – particularly after the year we’ve endured.

A recent UCLA Health report found that increased hand washing and sanitising during the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a rise in skin conditions on the hands, such as redness, flaking and itching.

Why your hands and nails probably need extra care this summer

“This year, nails are generally looking more brittle, sensitive, and dry due to the combination of increased hand washing and sanitising,” confirms Viv Simmonds, director of VIVid Nails and VIVid Nails Academy.

“There’s also been a decline in regular attendance at nail maintenance appointments – and that’s all on top of the generally skin dehydrating winter conditions.”

The daily two-step hand care routine to adopt

To get your mitts back on track, Viv recommends investing in “quality hand and nail care products” and committing to using them on a consistent basis.

“Get into the habit of doing a two-step hand care routine every day. Before bed is an ideal time because it allows the products to work their magic overnight, without being washed off,” she says.

“Start by applying a cuticle oil or cream to improve the condition of your nails and surrounding skin.

“Then, follow it up with a nourishing hand cream to keep the skin moisturised and soft.”

Summer nail tones and trends

Once your overall hand condition is on track, it’s time to turn your attention to nail shaping and polish.

Celebrity nail stylist Skye McIntyre predicts practical nail shapes will be popular in summer 2021.

“Nail shape is always a personal choice, but almond or oval shapes are very popular at the moment as they’re natural looking and easy to wear,” explains Skye.

summer nails

When you’re ready to add polish, Viv suggests embracing the new season colour palette.

“Leading trends for summer are nude and natural tones, like soft pink and beige,” predicts Viv.

“There will also be lots of pastels, soft peaches, sky blues, lemons, baby pinks and mint,” adds Skye.

As for technique-based trends like nail art adornment, chromes or ombre pigment effects, Viv believes these are likely to be used sparingly as a complementary point.

“This season’s look is more simplistic, with a feature nail or two showcasing a splash of colour or abstract design to subtly complement the main nail colour,” Viv explains.

“But during the festive season, nail art will be fun,” adds Skye.

“Think party nails, pops of colour, glitter and abstract designs.”

How to perform a DIY summer manicure

Skye recommends these manicure basics:

Step 1.

  • Start by shaping the free edge of each nail using a soft grit file.
  • Gently slide a cuticle pusher along the nail bed to the lift and loosen any cuticles from the nail bed.
  • Use a manicure nipper to carefully remove any loosened cuticles, skin or hangnails.  (Never cut living tissue, it can lead to infection.)

Step 2

  • Use a nail cleanser to thoroughly cleanse and temporarily dehydrate the nail bed so it’s ready to be painted.

Step 3

  • Apply a base coat to protect the nail bed followed by two coats of your chosen summer nail colour.
  • Use a cotton tip soaked in nail polish remover to clean up any stray polish.
  • Finish with a clear top coat to the nail and extension edge to seal in and protect your polish.

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Written by Sharon Hunt.