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Untitled Blog | Are Manicures Bad or Good for Your Nails?

Are Manicures Bad for your Nails?

In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, self-care often takes a backseat. However, one indulgence that not only adds a touch of glamour but also contributes to overall nail health is a well-done manicure. But in order to keep your nail health in tact, we have compiled an extensive list of what to look for when choosing a salon & nail technician.

Don’t get us wrong, of course we are strong advocates for manicures & pedicures. However there IS a difference between the types of manicures, the types of products used, and the skill of the technician. All of which can contribute heavily to whether your manicure lasts, your nails become damaged, or even worse- an infection occurs. 

Tip 1: Know What You're Asking For

If you aren’t sure what any of these terms mean, you can click here, and read more about each service & what they entail. – We know, it seems scary at first! That’s why we’re here to help you.

  • Gel Polish Manicure (Shellac Manicure)
  • Regular Polish Manicure
  • Clean Up- Manicure
  • Gel Overlay Manicure
  • Polygel Manicure
  • Structured Manicure
  • Dip Powder Manicure
  • Russian Manicure
  • European Manicure
  • Acrylic Manicure/ Fill
  • Solar Gel Manicure/ FIll

Tip 2: Understand Your Nails Current Health

Our nails are more than just a canvas for trendy colors; they are windows into our overall health. Dry, brittle, or discolored nails can be signs of nutritional deficiencies or underlying health issues. Regular exposure to environmental factors like harsh chemicals and frequent handwashing can also take a toll.

Nails are made up of a protein called Keratin (the same protein that makes up our hair, and the outer layer of our skin). Meaning if your nails are dry, brittle, cracked, etc when booking your manicure- one manicure will not magically change the state of your nails for the better. Rather, a series of manicures & proper at home care can help them to grow out healthier, BUT there may be other reasons why your nail health is suffering.

Tip 3: Sanitation & Disinfection Protocols

First things first let’s break down the difference between sanitation and disinfection, and sterilization.

Sanitation= Removes bacteria from a surface.

Disinfection= Kills the harmful bacteria and viruses from surfaces.

Sterilization= Kills any and all microorganisms from surfaces. (done in an autoclave)

To put it nicely, not all nail salons are created equally. Although a salon might look busy, and have high reviews on Google- that does not mean they are a salon that follows proper sanitation, disinfection, or healthy nail practices.

In Canada it is not required to sterilize reusable tools, but it IS required to sanitize and disinfect all reusable tools.

It is crucial to your overall health that a place is disinfecting and sanitizing their station & tools properly, every time. If not done you are at risk of infection, fungus, or worse in extreme cases. Obviously nobody wants that.

Reusable Tools:

Reusable tools that must be disinfected after each use:

  • Cuticle nippers or cuticle scissors
  • Cuticle pushers
  • Dremel bits
  • Metal files 
  • Tweezers

1-Time Use:

Items that MUST be thrown away after each use:

  • Files (any that are not metal)- if it looks used or is used, that is a giant NO
  • Buffers- none of these are reusable as they are not sanitizable.
  • Orange wood sticks- the little pointy sticks sometimes used to clean up a cuticle are after painting, or used to get dirt out from under the nail.
  • Cotton 
  • Throw-away sanding bands
  • Gloves

Reusable Tools:

Cuticle Nippers
Cuticle Scissors
Cuticle Pusher
Dremel Bits
Metal Files

1-Time Use:

1-Time use
1-Time use
Orange Wood Sticks
1-Time use
1-Time use
Sanding Band
1-Time use
1-Time use

Tip 4: Techniques

This is a tough section to say is black and white. Because many amazing nail techs have their own techniques that work for them, and don’t do damage to the clients nails. 
But there are some general rules to follow to ensure your nails are kept healthy.

  • Never allow a technician to pry your current set off with anything- another nail tip, their tool, an orange wood stick… nothing! The tension created against your natural nail can and will cause damage. As well as take layers of healthy nail with it.
  • Never use the dremel at a high speed on the natural nail, and ensure the sanding bands/cuticle bits are kept parallel to the natural nail and not too much on an angle. If done too deep or angled, it can cause rings of fire- which tend to burn as it’s happening, but also leave a divot on the surface of the nail as it grows out. 
  • Do not allow an over application of product to be applied on the skin surrounding the nails. This overexposure can lead to allergies, and painful reactions long term.
Nail prep is also a huge difference between your nails lasting, vs chipping and popping off in under a week. Proper nail prep should not hurt, or cause damage to your nails…. but it will aid in the adherence of the products, and of course the overall look of the finished product.

Tip 5: Allergens

When someone has a reaction to nails, it’s usually because of a chemical called HEMA (hydroxyethyl methacrylate) which has become quite the topic of conversation lately. Although not bad for you in small doses, overexposure can pose a risk of creating an allergy. A lot of gel polishes nowadays are HEMA free, but it is something to look out for if you have ever noticed your skin cracking, red, or irritated after getting your nails done. 

Tip 6: At-Home Care

The best way to ensure your nails stay as healthy as possible is to also care for them from home.

  • Put on cuticle oil daily- or several times a day.
  • Wear gloves when gardening or doing the dishes
  • Do not re-glue your artificial nail to your natural if it lifts. You can trap moisture and bacteria in the glued space.
  • Do not wait too long to get a fill, as the more your nail grows with the enhancement, the weight of the enhancement can place unnecessary pressure on parts of the nail.
  • See a professional if unsure about any abnormalities


Getting your nails done is not bad for the health of your nails. So long as you take care of them at home, and you’re going to a reputable technician that cares for the health of your nails.

Ensuring the right products are used for your lifestyle, and length of nails is also an important way to keep your nails healthy.

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