The Dark Side: Avoid Staining Your Nails

Cooler weather means deeper, darker shades in not only clothing, but also nail polish. If you like going over to the dark side, then you may be concerned about the effects those reds, browns and blacks have on your nails. Reds, burgundies, browns and oranges contain dark pigments that can stain. And those fashionable dark blues and blacks can leave your fingers looking like they belong to a Smurf. The most obvious way to get rid of stains is not to get them in the first place. Before you paint dark hues, be sure to use a high-quality clear base coat. It'll not only protect nails and cuticles, but also will fill ridges and irregularities in the nail's surface, giving you a smoother look overall. Manicurists recommend bringing the clear coat a little past the nail bed and onto the cuticles to keep the color away from them as well.

If you remove your polish and see that the color has stained the nail, there are a few things you can do. If there's just a spot or two of leftover color on the nail bed, then a drop of lemon or lavender essential oil dropped onto the spot and buffed out can help. Another solution is to take an unused toothbrush or small nail brush and dab a dot of peroxide toothpaste on - scrub out the stain gently. When removing polish, try applying a non-quick-drying topcoat before nail polish removal. Do not allow to dry - simply swipe off with a cotton ball soaked in nail polish remover. Swipe in one direction, from cuticle to tip. And if the nail is stained, then try mixing a tablespoon of Clorox in a cup of warm water and soaking only the tips of the fingers for 2-3 minutes. Another gentler alternative is to halve a lemon, squeeze out a bit of juice and place fingers in the lemon half for just a few minutes. Follow either treatment with a good scrub with a nail brush.