Nail masks fall into the "nail care extra" category. While not
necessary, they are an effective way to draw moisture to dry, parched,
peeling nails, and to soften stubborn cuticles.
Not all cosmetic companies make nail masks, but there is a lot of variety on the market. A nail mask can be done immediately before a manicure.Nail antisepticA base coat needs a clean, oil-free nail surface to adhere to; if there's even a trace of oil on the nail, the base coat will begin peeling as soon as it dries. If a scrub brush and soap aren't removing all the oil, cream, or cuticle softener you've used, you could try a nail antiseptic - this is a kind of a toner for nails. Nail antiseptics typically come in nail polish-style bottles and are brushed on. Seche Prep@ is a particularly effective one.If you don't want to go out and buy nail antiseptic, you can use rubbins alcohol, witch hazel, white vinesar, or a strons skin astrinsent.All about base coatIf you were to ask me what my personal favorite nail product was, I'd have to say base coat. I love the smooth finish base coat creates, the extra layer of strength it imparts to my nails, the way it keeps dark nail colors from staining my nails and - when I don't feel like wearing nail color - the clean, well-groomed look it lends nails when worn alone. There are several types of base coat available and this can lead to confusion. I have stood in a drugstore aisle, eyes bleary from reading labels, trying to figure out which base coat to buy. For those of you who've ever done the same thing, I offer this short base-coat primer:Base coats: These are standard, no-frills nail primers. They provide some strengthening, but they are primarily used to help nail color glide on smoothly and to keep darker colors from staining nails. When a base coat features ingredients that create an extra hard finish, it is called a nail strengthener.Ridge fillers: These are base coats that contain silk, talc, or other types of particles to fill in depressions. If your nails have any kind of depressions, ridges, or peeled-away layers at the tip, ridge fillers can provide a smooth finish.Anti-microbial or anti-fungal base coat: These products are formulated with ingredients that help kill harmful microorganisms that can cause infection.Nail fortifier or nail-growth formula: These are growth formulas and consist of clear polish infused with epoxy or formaldehyde resins and polyvinyl butyral (some also contain things like calcium). They are meant to be painted on nails daily for 7 to 10 days. Nail fortifiers can be used under and over your favonte nail colors, or they can be worn alone. Why do they work? Supposedly, the products' resins and polyvinyl bind with nails' keratin, actually creating stronger nails. Of course, I have heard plenty of people say that nail fortifiers are useless - but you know what? I've tried all kinds of base coats, and nail fortifiers are the only ones that strengthen my nails enough so that they can grow without splitting or breaking.Matte-finish base coats: Instead of the customary shiny finish, these offer a non-glossy, natural finish, and give added strength to nails.