In the Salon
Regular salon visits (generally 2-3 weeks for fingers and 4 weeks for feet) will help keep your hands, feet, and nails in good shape.
Quality manicure services include safe, gentle cuticle work, shaping, and often a nail coating. For healthy, strong nails, any of the gel products I use will be a great option. For weaker, softer, or peeling nails, a thicker gel, like Akzentz or Bio Sculpture, can help support and strengthen.
Pedicures should include shaping and cuticle work, along with gentle callus smoothing. Calluses should not be completely removed, as they exist for a reason. If you reduce them too quickly, they will hurt and can blister. Problem calluses can be addressed in a pedicure series.
Home care should include regularly pushing back your eponicium (the live tissue at the base of the nail, often called cuticle). This can usually be easily and gently done with a rubber or wooden pusher, following a shower, and should be done at least weekly. Keeping the skin pushed back will help keep it from becoming stretched out, leading to splits and hangnails. It is absolutely not necessary to trim, and, in fact, I don't ever recommend trimming anything at home besides hangnails.
Regular exfoliation of the soles of the feet, including calluses, helps keep feet smooth and soft. This can be easily done at the end of your shower, before getting out. Run a sandpaper style foot file over your feet, about 30 seconds per foot, to remove any excess skin. You don't need to file excessively, just a brief scrub.
Additional moisture is often necessary, particularly in the Northwest. Feet become dry and can crack. Before this happens, use a quality foot cream daily to keep feet soft. If you already have cracks, I recommend using Gehwol’s medicated Salve for Cracked Feet. It is a fantastic moisturiser with healing ingredients, as well.
Nails can also become dry, leading to an assortment of symptoms and problems. These can range from ridges running the length of the nail to white patches, from peeling to product failures. Cuticle oil is the answer for most of these cases. Your gel polishes will actually do better if you regularly apply cuticle oil. There are many cuticle oils available on the market. My favorite is Solar Oil, from CND, because it smells like almonds and hydrates very well. However, most cuticle oils are very effective, and everyone has different opinions on scent.