Since my Instagram explore page is so heavily saturated with nail content (that happens when you're a beauty editor), it's rare that I stumble upon a manicure that makes me do a double take. This week, though, I came across an epic nail transformation in which a woman's damaged digits were brought back to life by her manicurist, and I had to know more about how it was done. Luckily, the brilliant artist behind the look was willing to share her secrets.
"My client suffers from biting her nails habitually, which is far more common than most people realize," Rachel D, nail artist and owner of Sugar Beauty Studio in Raleigh, North Carolina, tells Allure. "It's uncomfortable for them and, of course, can make them feel very self-conscious about their own hands, so I was so humbled and happy she trusted me to take care of her."
Rachel says she started by cleaning and sanitizing her client's hands before getting down to business. "I then carefully, with implements and filing, removed the dead skin around the nails, and I also had to remove the peeling portion of her nails as well," she explains. Since her nails soft and peeling, Rachel says, she didn't soak them in water because it could have made them too sensitive to work on.
After removing the lingering dead skin, Rachel decided on using Apres Gel X, as she believed this would be the safest way to give her client's nails coverage and strength. "This system is great because we use a gel full-cover nail and adhere it to the nail bed using gel," she says. "I love that this system goes on easily and doesn't damage the client's existing nails." Another benefit, she says, is that it can be removed by soaking it off, so no further damage is done to the nail bed during future appointments.
Rachel used gel polish to give her client's nails added strength and longevity, and then she finished by applying nourishing cuticle oil and some moisturizer to her nails and hands. "I recommend clients use cuticle oil and hand creams daily especially since we wash our hands so frequently now," she says. "The client was really pleased and even with her nails being extremely delicate, she had no discomfort during this major transformation... I highly recommend any clients with nail issues of this nature to allow a professional to treat them to avoid any further damage."
Suffice it to say, if you also struggle with nail-biting or a similar issue that damages your nails, definitely try to see a professional rather than attempting to transform them yourself. That being said, it can't hurt to slather on some cuticle oil and hand cream to keep the skin and cuticles moisturized.
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Originally Appeared on Allure