I mentioned in this weekend’s newsletter that I’d spent a little quality pampering time in the Lower East Side gem of a nail salon, Hortūs Nailworks. The salon carries a whole range of five-free polishes, but at founder Jane Maccolla’s recommendation, I got one of the salon’s most popular services. It’s a little something we’re calling the bare manicure. No polish, just pampering.
+ Shape. When the aim is for a manicure sans-polish, Jane recommends shaping your nails to follow the natural curvature of your nail. She says: “It’s generally the most flattering shape especially when keeping nails bare and unpolished. This is what I would recommend since they are ‘naked’ and you can see the actual shape of nails.” So, no square or oval or round. Just do you.
+ Scrub. I tend to only really think about scrubbing my nails when they’re visibly dirty, but it turns out that whether I’ve spent the day potting up a window box or typing away at my computer, I should be keeping my nails clean. Noted. Jane recommends keeping a nail brush handy to use regularly when washing your hands. A brush keeps nails and cuticles free of dry skin and debris. She advised me to “be gentle and don’t forget to clean under your nails!” Bonus: Keeping nails scrubbed “allows for much better absorption of nourishing oils and creams.” (For the curious: a similar wooden nail brush.)
+ Moisturize. Speaking of oils and cream, Jane says that any “nice, high quality oils you have in your kitchen generally work great.” At home, Jane loves mixing organic coconut oil with olive oil and castor oil. She says, “the combination makes it fast absorbing and deeply hydrating.” She also recommends grapeseed, safflower, and sweet almond oil and suggests mixing them or using them solo. She says, “play around with the various consistencies and textures to find the one you like best.” Jane reuses glass bottles with pumps to make the oils more accessible and easier to use. To moisturize: Gently massage oils into your hands, cuticles and nails.
+ Buff. For the brave at-home manicurists, a natural buff is the loveliest finish to a natural manicure. I’d never had my nails buffed to a high-shine before and I marveled at the fact that the result was so much like a clear polish, minus the eventual chipping. Tip: If you’ve moisturized pre-buff, take a moment to remove excess oils from your nails. You can use non-acetone nail polish remover, or simple soap and water, just make sure nails are completely dry before buffing or shining. Word of caution: Don’t over buff! It can cause thinning of your nail plate.
Jane’s three recommendations for maintaining healthy nails?
1.) Avoid using your nails as tools! Treat them gently and wear gloves when cleaning, doing dishes, gardening, etc. This helps to keep your nails from breaking, splitting and drying out.
Hortūs Nailworks is a salon on the Lower East Side of Manhattan specializing in hands and feet care and sugaring. To ensure the highest level of quality, freshness, and effectiveness, Hortūs uses a carefully selected range of products for their services, including those handcrafted in small batches using food grade and organic ingredients.
Disclosure: I was treated to my manicure as part of my coverage for this story. Opinions are my own.