We need to talk Whybrows!

Ok girls, we need to talk….we really need to talk….EYEBROWS.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year or so you surely can’t have failed to notice the worlds most abysmal beauty trend. The “Whybrow”. So named because you continually need to ask yourself “why” anyone would find it remotely attractive. Basically a Whybrow is an eyebrow that has been waxed and plucked to oblivion and beyond and boldly stencilled back in where no brow has ever been before. No need to worry about the colour of your hair because these babies are anything but subtle. In fact, even if your hair is whiter than an Mother Theresa’s knickers then it’s perfectly fine to draw your eyebrows in with a ruler and a Sharpie!
They say you should never take advice from a girl with bad eyebrows and right now that probably equates to about 50% of the female population.
Now please don’t try to tell me that those black monstrosities complement your face because they don’t and I promise you that in 20 years time you’re going to look back at those bad boys and wish the ground would swallow you up. You’ll be about as embarrassed by them as my generation were by feather cuts, platforms and kipper ties.
Your eyes are meant to frame your face not overpower it and big black slugs just don’t cut the mustard.
Please please please no more sharpies! In fact girls we’re going to create a new term here, “Eyebrowsing”… when you can’t help but stare at someones really bad eyebrows and say WTF were they thinking?

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I need to let my nails breathe!

Ok, that old cherry again!

Backup_of_Hands over face

Now we don’t want you to worry unnecessarily but the truth is that your nails are already dead! We’re really sorry about this but it’s true. So, they can’t breathe, they won’t get tired and they can’t sweat. However, the good news is that the nail bed (matrix) and  cuticles are very much alive and growing so, like the rest of your body, they need oxygen and nutrition in the form of vitamins and minerals. Your nails actually recieve all the oxygen they need from your bloodstream, not the air, which means that oxygen deprivation won’t be the reason for your nail breaking or splitting.

Your nail plate is made up from many tiny layers of keratin cells known as  onychocytes, which overlap just like slates on a roof. When they get damaged or dry, they become white and sometimes peel off (splitting nails). There a 2 potential reasons for this:

1) Leaving nail polish on for too long causing keratin granulation (this is why your toe nails go white when you finally decide to remove last summer’s pedicure reminants….in October!)

2) Overuse of acetone. Acetone should be used with care as it is incredibly drying. Standard nail polish should be removed with an acetone free remover.

How do I prevent dryness and breakage?

That’s easy!………use the products reccommended by your Nail Technician. Strengtheners and hardeners can help the nails by working externally to protect the keratin in nails from harsh chemicals such as soaps and detergents. Just like the keratin in your hair, the external surface of nails can be conditioned. Cuticle oils and conditioning hand creams will restore moisture to the nails, making them less brittle and breakable.

My nail just popped off!

Firstly, can I politely point out that no it didn’t. I’m about as likely to believe that as I am to believe in spontaneous combustion! Like most other things in life the equation is as follows:-

Intention + Action = Consequence

Now I’m not saying that nail extentions don’t break or lift or come off because they do. But they don’t just fly off the fingertips on a whim and without warning. Usually they need a little help.

Most breakages that are not attributable to direct damage are the result of lifting. Lifting is every Nail Technician’s enemy and something that particularly plagues newly qualified techs.

What is lifting?

Lifting results when the nail enhancement system starts to lift away from the natural nail plate, usually at the edge closest to the cuticle (the eponychium) but occasionally at the tip and it looks like this…

Lifting   lifting 2

Lifting can have a number of causes.

1) Poor preparation which leaves debris on the nail plate is one reason. Whether applying acrylic, gel, gel-polish, or ordinary nail polish, it is critical that the nail bed is free of non-living tissue and oil so the product can adhere well to the nail.

2) Over filing is another reason for lifting. Excessive filing of the nail plate will leave it thin and weak, and it will not be a good platform for enhancements. If the nails have been filed down too thinly, the enhancements will not bond properly to the natural nail and lifting may occur.

3) Sometimes lifting can be caused by failure to use the correct primer for the system.

4) Another very common reason for the lifting of acrylic products is improper mix ratio of liquid to powder. Each brand is different, and it can take time to master the correct ratio.

5) Picking! Yes, ladies we know you pick, but please try not to. It doesn’t help your nails and in fact every time you do this you are pulling away a few layers of your own natural nail plate too.

What should I do about lifting?

Don’t ignore it that’s for sure. If it happens it needs to be tackled promptly and before it causes further problems. If you leave lifted product it is only a matter of time before bacteria manages to sneak its way underneath. And once it’s there, it’s in the perfect warm damp environment to allow it to multiply. Trust me on this one, bacterial nail infections are not pretty and they take a long time to grow out!

And finally…..”Can I glue my nail back on?”

Can you? Yes. Should you? Absolutely not!

It is almost impossible to re-glue an enhancement that has come off entirely as the surface will no longer be smooth. The result will always be a badly fitted nail which is likely to come off again and even more likely to grow a bacterial nail infection!

Met Office Weather Warning

A weather system is expected to slowly and erratically edge from the south during Thursday and bring the risk of widespread and disruptive snow across many parts of Wales. There are still some uncertainties regarding the finer detail but there is now increasing likelihood of significant disruption.

 

Outbreaks of light snow are expected in southern parts of Wales from early morning onwards and will gradually extend northwards through the day to affect many parts of Wales. Heavier snow is then expected to develop at times from late afternoon onwards with the snow continuing in many places through the evening and overnight. With time there is scope for a build up of significant amounts of snow, particularly across parts of the South Wales and Gwent LRF areas along with Powys. Here, up to 10 cm is possible quite widely by Friday morning with 20cm or more on the hills and notable drifting is also to be expected in the strong easterly winds. Elsewhere lesser amounts of snow are to be expected with 2 to 5 cm more likely but perhaps up to 10cm in places. There is also a risk of the snow turning to freezing rain at times during Thursday night and giving very icy conditions.

 

An Amber warning has been issued for the southern half of Wales indicating a medium likelihood of HIGH impacts and is valid from 1200on Thursday until 0800 on Friday although please note my comments that the risk of disruption in westernparts of Wales is lesser but will be kept under review. A yellow warning is also in place for the remainder of Wales indicating a low likelihood of Medium impacts.

 

Further light snow is expected on Friday. It will then become less cold over the weekend with a messy mix of rain, sleet, and snow at times and also an increased risk of icy roads.

Why do my nails break?

Why do my nails break?

Well if I had £1 for everyone who had ever asked me this question I’d be a very rich woman now. I’d be richer still if I had a perfect solution, but the truth is that there is no magic recipe, because nails can break, bend and split for a variety of reasons.

Let’s start with a simplified lesson on what a nail is and how it grows.

Your nail grows from the germinal matrix or root. This is located in the skin fold at the top joint of each finger (the distal joint). Everyone is genetically different and your matrix reflects this in the size and shape of the nails.

The nail plate itself is very similar to the outer layer of the skin (cornified layer of the epidermis). It is made mostly from flattened, dead, keratin filled cells. These cells form the layers of the nail plate. Unlike the skin however, these layers contain very little fat. The nail is 10 times more permeable to water than skin even though nails themselves have a very low water content. This is a critical fact in understanding why nails break. It might also encourage you to wear gloves next time you clean the loo!

As the matrix produces more cells, the nail plate is pushed forward with the growth. The nail plate continues to thicken until it reaches the end of the lunular (half moon).

It is now known that mineral salts and many drugs can pass into the nail plate from the matrix. This helps to explain how the adhesion of the nail plate to the nail bed can change rapidly when there is a change in the diet or an illness.

 

Generally speaking, your nails are a good indicator of your overall health. So, if you suddenly notice a change in your nails it is worth looking at your diet and recent medication. Even touline free polishes can dehydrate the nail plate if left for too long and this can cause brittleness.

Oral contraceptives and hormone replacements, some antibiotics, (usually sulphides), chemotherapy drugs, Lithium and other anti-psychotics, anti-convulsants and retinoids (often found in skin creams!) can all have an impact on how well the nail plate adheres to the nail bed. They can cause the nails to become thin and brittle or cause the nail bed and nail plate to separate (onycholysis).

What can you do?

First and foremost remember that since the nail is formed inside the body and is dead by the time it reaches the tip of the finger, any preparations or treatments applied to the surface will have little impact on how the nail grows. Nail strengtheners, UV Gel overlays and polishes can all add strength and durability but they won’t cure the underlying problem.

Take a look at your overall diet, if it is largely healthy then this isn’t the cause but if it’s full of processed foods then unfortunately you may need to make some changes. Have you recently had an infection that required antibiotics? Some antibiotics can deplete the body of Vitamin B so it may be worth taking a supplement (please check for drug interactions first1)

Could you be causing the problem yourself? Are you applying nail polish at home and leaving it on for weeks on end? Do you pick at your cuticles or your Gel polish? Are you using your nails to prize open tins? Remember we are Nail Technicians not magicians and nails aren’t meant to be indestructible so maybe you just need to take more care of them.

 

 

1 All of the B-complex vitamins can interact with the antibiotic tetracycline, so you need to take these pills at separate times. Niacin can interact with nicotine patches, blood thinners, cholesterol medications, blood pressure medications and anti-seizure medications. Riboflavin interferes with a cancer drug called doxorubicin. Folate can interfere with certain chemotherapy medications, including methotrexate, when taken in high amounts.