nail care routineCredit : Pexels/Angela Roma

Few joys in life compare to getting a manicure. Whether you prefer a minimalist look or like to go all out with nail art, there's nothing like looking down and seeing a fresh set. While a trip to the salon is always a treat, having a good nail care routine can give you that same feeling. It also ensures that your nails stay healthy and strong in between appointments. 

Nail care at home, beyond the occasional polish change, is often overlooked. But maintaining a routine isn't as difficult as it may seem. With the tips below, you can keep your nails looking salon-fresh year-round.

Leave your cuticles be

Well-groomed cuticles are the foundation of every manicure. Glossy tips are nice, but if your cuticles are scraggly, it can instantly downgrade your look. That said, it can get tempting to cut and trim them as they begin to grow. However, your cuticles need to stay put. 

Located at the base of your nail bed, your cuticles act as a barrier, keeping dirt and debris from penetrating beneath. It's common for them to get a little scruffy, but cutting them can be more harmful in the long run. Instead of reaching for the trimmers, invest in a nourishing oil to keep them from looking dry and cracking.

Trim and file your nails regularly

Trimming your nails may sound like a no-brainer, but many people neglect to do so. Even if you prefer a longer look, regular trims are important. Not only does it give you a polished and neat look, but it also decreases the chance of breakage. Filing also aids in keeping the edges of your nails from getting scraggly. 

Keep your nails dry

Yes, your nails need moisture. But that doesn't mean they need to be drenched in water. Too much water can weaken the protein structure of your nails and cause them to soften. While you can't completely avoid water, you can take extra caution. Try limiting the amount of time you spend soaking your nails. This will keep them from getting brittle and weak.

Invest in quality tools and products

The quality of the products can make or break your routine. For your nails, this goes double for the tools. A sturdy nail clipper is ideal for trimming and will ensure that your nails are cut carefully. 

Files are another tool that is essential to your routine. However, you don't have to break the bank to find a quality one. A disposable file with a medium 180 grit and a fine 240-600 grit will be useful for shaping and lightly buffing the nails to create a smooth surface.

Cuticle oils also have many affordable options. Just be sure to look for a formula with enriching ingredients. Apricot and almond oils are popular choices for softening and moisturizing both the cuticle and the nails.