Hand & Nail Care: All The Hottest Tips To Make Your Manicure Last

Queenie Nguyen has been doing my nails FOREVER.

Since quarantine hit especially. She’s the best, she has all the celeb secrets, she works with everyone who is anyone & is just so MAJOR at nails.

Normally I go for a square shape but lately Queenie has been convincing me to grow my nails a little longer. We’re getting there.

I’ve invited Queenie to the blog today to share all her tips & tricks for nail care at home. Like, we’re all still at home a ton, so why not take care of your nails, right?

In this post you can expect to hear Queenie’s tips for making your manicure last, the #1 thing that’s most important when it comes to caring for your hands & nails, plus her favorite nail polish brand.

With that, let’s welcome Queenie to The Skinny Confidential.

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Introduce yourself & tell the audience your background when it comes to nails. Give us all the details, we want your whole life story.

Queenie Nguyen: My name is Queenie Nguyen & I’m a professional manicurist & creative nail artist based in Los Angeles, CA. I started doing nails when I was 17 years old in which I attended High School during the day & Cosmetology School at night, simultaneously. My whole family works in the nail industry & one of my aunts owns a nail salon in Los Angeles. I was lucky to be able to have the additional knowledge from family & a place to watch & practice. I got my license when I was 17 & have worked as a nail tech ever since. I love watching how passionate my mom & my aunts are at nails & it inspired me to pursue the same career path. 

After 10 years of working in a salon environment, I was ready for more so I started freelancing in 2018 & broadened my career path into editorial projects as well as some red carpet events. I find it rewarding to be able to do what I love every day & to have the opportunity to meet & work with so many amazingly talented people in the beauty industry. 

Currently, nail art has become such a big trend in the market & people are obsessed with it. I totally get that but I pride myself in keeping my clients’ nails healthy by not using heavily fumed products with lots of chemicals as well as limiting too much enhancement.

Because of that, I usually lean towards more minimal & modern hand-painted nail art instead of those that involve a ton of rhinestones & 3D embellishments that will require heavy duty drilling to remove. 

Everyone is in quarantine, what’s the first first thing you should do for their nails?

QN: Right now, during quarantine is the perfect time to take a break from all things that you were doing to your nails normally. I’m sure a lot of us wear gel polish or some sort of enhancements on our nails because we usually claim that we never have time for a break, which is probably true.

With everyone in quarantine now, this is a great time to remove your gel, trim your nails shorter to remove any damages & condition them. 

You said buffing your nails isn’t that great. Is there something else we should be doing?

QN: Shiny buffing is still a form of buffing so the more you do it, the more you’re slowly stripping away the top surface of the nails. Reason being, you have to roughen the surface of the nails before you shiny buff them so that they can be extra shiny.

It might not be bad once in a while, but I don’t recommend shiny buffing your nails too often. Especially right after you remove your gel polish because your nails are quite soft & brittle. It is best to not add more forceful activities on the nails. I highly recommend giving yourself a natural manicure, condition the skin around your nails & treat them with a nail straightener.  

How can we really be using this time at home, in quarantine, to take care of our nails?

QN: I think this is a great time to learn to do your own manicure so that you can best maintain your nails on a regular basis. It takes time but it can be relaxing if you dedicate time for self care. Don’t rush so that you can take the steps necessary to give yourself a proper manicure. 

Nail treatment is highly recommended & it can be in the forms of cuticle oil, cuticle balm, hand cream, hand exfoliator, hand mask & nail strengthener. Use this time to condition your nails to promote nail growth & nail health.  

Tell us about press on nails?

QN: Press on nails are great alternatives to nail enhancements during this time. They come in different lengths, shapes & designs so you have a lot of options to choose from.

Some can be requested for custom design by a specific artist but tend to cost more. They can be applied using sticky tabs which last about 2-3 days through washes or with nail glue which lasts up to 7-10 days. Because these are short term temporary alternatives, they will not damage your nails as much compared to actual nail extensions. 

Some of my favorite press on nail brands are: Static Nails, imPress, Salon Perfect

 

What nail trends do you see emerging after quarantine?

QN: Minimal nail art: Minimalism has always been trendy in the nail community but it will continue to become trendier after quarantine because of how easy it is to achieve by oneself. Many artists were & are still teaching simple nail art tutorials on social media because a lot of people are still nervous about the idea of going back to the nail salons. 

Regular polish in place of gel: Regular polish is easier for removal so many will opt for regular polish post quarantine. 

Gradient manicure: So simple & can be easily achieved by anyone. Choose 5 colors of the same family & go from light to dark. 

Natural: With everyone being home for so long, self care has become even more important & so besides opting for more natural products, people will also lean towards more non-toxic nail polishes.  

French tip: A classic nail trend that made a huge comeback last year will continue to be very trendy post-quarantine. With summer around the corner, it is a great way to rock neon colors subtly with it being on just the tips of the nails. 

What’s your best nail hack?

QN: You can mend a crack on your nail with a tiny cut out piece of a tea bag & nail glue. Once dry, you can buff with a nail buffer to smooth out the surface & VOILA! Nail fix! 

If someone wants to give themselves a gel manicure what products do they need & what steps should they take?

QN: I don’t usually recommend doing your own gel manicure at home because gel will only stay on longer than regular polish with proper preparation. It is really hard to prep both hands at home with one hand being the non-dominant.

However, if necessary, I would recommend using a really simple at-home gel system like Le Mini Macaron. Their kit comes with everything needed from removing wipes, to buffer, to nail polish & their one step mini LED lamp that can be plugged straight into your laptop with the USB it comes with.

They also have a ton of nail tutorials on their website showing you how you can do your own gel manicure in the comfort of your own home or office. 

The steps for an at-home gel manicure is very similar to how you would give yourself a classic manicure. Cut, shape, cuticle prep ( this is very important so the gel can stick on the nail & not the cuticle so make sure to push back the cuticle completely ), polish with gel polish & cure in the LED lamp. Once done with everything, you can moisturize your hands afterwards. Be sure the nails are fully dehydrated before applying the polish so leave all the moisturizing products to the end of the manicure.  

How can a man take care of his nails in quarantine?

QN: Men usually have their nails short so that’s half the battle. However, they tend to cut their nails unevenly so I would highly recommend keeping a nail file & buffer handy so that they can shape their nails to avoid sharp edges.

Also, lots of men develop hangnails & ingrown nails because their skin is very dry so I recommend using cuticle oil & hand cream to moisturize. I think the best time for men to moisturize is right after getting out of the shower because otherwise, they will forget to do it. 

What should we NOT be doing to our nails in quarantine?

QN: Do NOT peel your gel or your acrylics off yourself as this will cause extreme damage to your nail surface.

For gel, take your time to soak them off yourself with foil & cotton & wait for about 15 minutes for everything to come off your nails. For acrylics, they’re thicker so I suggest cutting them short to remove the fake tips & then soak them like gel but in sections. This means that you check for several minutes to push off the acrylic & re-soak for the rest to come off. Do not rush the process! You’re not forcing anything to come off roughly. 

How can we preserve our nail polish or gel?

QN: Nail preparation is the most important key to preserving nail polish, regular or gel. You need a clean & dehydrated nail plate for the polish to stick on. Also, be very careful to polish only on the nail plate & avoid touching the cuticle causing polish to chip. 

My tip to maintain regular polish is to reapply the shiny top coat every 3 days to preserve the polish. 

Wear gloves when you do household chores so that the polish does not start chipping at the tip causing the rest of the nail to chip polish as well. 

What are your top 5 tips when it comes to nails?

QN: My top 5 tips are: 

+ Moisturize: I think I can’t express enough how important it is for us all to keep our hands & cuticles moisturized. This is the number one trick to promote nail growth as well as avoid those painful & annoying hangnails. 

+ Products: It is vital that you invest in the products that you use on your hands & nails. This can range from tools to polishes. Do research into the products as well as the salons that you are planning to go to for your services so you can make sure they carry the right products for your needs. 

+ Gel or Acrylic break: Take a break in between gel manicures or other types of extensions so that your nails can be conditioned & treated for hydration & natural growth.

+ Be consistent: No nail miracle can happen overnight. Be patient with the process whether it’s a nail treatment at home or a consistent appointment with your nail person in order to achieve the nail look that you want. 

+ Nail vitamins: Research & take nail vitamins like Biotin or collagen to help maintain the health of your nails. 

What’s your favorite nail polish brand & why?

QN: This is a hard question as I work with so many different brands but if I have to choose just one brand then I will have to say Nails Inc. for regular polishes. I love that their polishes are highly pigmented & last a very long time. I especially love their “Nail Pure” line which includes a wide range of colors that are vegan.

Some vegan polishes tend not to last very long because of the lack of certain ingredients like Formaldehyde, Toluene & Dibutyl Phthalate & many more chemicals. They’re also known for their popular NailKale Superfood Base Coat & other rehab products post-gel removal. Additionally, Nails Inc. is also a very trendy & fashion forward line of polishes so consumers will always get the most unique colors for the collection. 

How can we moisturize our heels & hands so they don’t get cracked & dry?

QN: I personally am a huge fan of exfoliation. Without exfoliation, your moisturizer will not absorb to your skin & hydrate it. I highly recommend you exfoliate your hands & feet at least twice a week in order to get rid of the dead skin, then while the pores are open, apply a thin layer of body oil & massage it on your hands & feet. I also mix a body serum with body cream to apply on top of the body oil for additional hydration. 

For the ladies who exercise a lot, the callus will build up under your feet naturally so I recommend keeping a pumice stone in your bathroom & scrub the callus area on the daily to soften it up before moisturizing. Additionally, invest in a great sock mask that you can put on before bed to add moisture to the bottom of your feet. 

I would also use a hand cream that has SPF in it in order to protect your hands from the sun. My current favorite hand creams that have SPF are Revive Fermitif Hand Renewal Cream ( SPF 15 ) & Supergoop Hand Cream with Sea Buckthorn ( SPF 40 ). Both of these hand creams provide great moisture without being too greasy. 

Where can everyone find you? Pimp yourself out.

QN: You can find my work on magazine covers, fashion campaigns, red carpet, editorial shoots, magazine trend articles & more. Follow me on Instagram @nailartbyqueenie & let’s continue this fun journey together! 

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Be sure to check out Queenie on Instagram @nailartbyqueenie. You’ll see all her fab work from Cosmopolitan & Vogue magazine shoots, to hot celebs, Prada & Valentino. 

Would love to know what you’re doing for your nails while you’re stuck at home? Are you going all out & trying new things or letting your nails breathe? Tell tell tell.

uryn x, lauryn

+ check out what happened when I tried baby foot peel.

++ skincare 101: tips for organizing your bathroom.

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