Five expert tips on how to get your nails looking their very best
Whether it's how to perfect the shape or get the ombre effect, many of us take to the internet for advice. Prudence Wade reveals the top questions that were searched for this year
With the help of long-taloned stars like Cardi B and Kylie Jenner, 2019 was arguably the year we really became obsessed with nails.
Whether you're the kind of person who's always at the salon getting the latest design, or more likely found doing your own at home on a budget, chances are you have a few questions about how to keep your nails looking their best.
Google Trends put together 20 of the UK's top-searched nail queries for 2019 and it makes it clear that we're all asking a lot of the same things; similar questions come up time and time again.
We've picked out five of the most common queries from the list, and enlisted the help of manicurist Joanna Newbold (joannanewbold.com) to answer them...
1. How to remove your nails
Whether it's how to remove gel, acrylic or other fake nails, this question popped up repeatedly.
When your pristine manicure has had its day, you want to be rid of it immediately - but it's not as simple as wiping it off. Most of us are too impatient (or lazy) to go to the salon to have it professionally removed, so need a good at-home remedy to prevent us from picking the polish straight off the nail.
"The safest, healthiest way to remove product from natural nails is to use pads soaked in acetone, covered in nail clips," says Newbold. "This should take between five and 10 minutes, then remove the clips and pads, and wipe away the dissolved product from the nails."
If there's anything left over, repeat the process until your nails are natural and fresh. Don't worry if you don't have special nail clips, wrapping tinfoil around your fingers to hold the pad in place can do just as well.
You're probably well aware that you really shouldn't scrape, peel or pick the product off your nails, but it bears repeating. Newbold says "this could cause dilapidation" - essentially, it can ruin your nails.
2. How to strengthen your nails
Whether it's growing out your nails or stopping them from peeling, stronger, healthier talons are in demand.
For Newbold, this means being more careful day-to-day. "Nails will benefit from being covered with gloves in cold weather, and when using detergents," she says. "Do not put your hands in anything you wouldn't put your face in."
To encourage strength and growth, Newbold recommends using a professional cuticle oil like Jessica Phenomen Oil (£9.50-£14.50, Jessica Cosmetics). "This product heals and nourishes dry cuticles and promotes strong nail growth," she says, and a lot of that is due to key ingredients like vitamin E, jojoba, sweet almond oil and rice oil.
3. How to do ombre nails
With more than two million tags on Instagram, it's clear the trend for ombre nails - where one colour gradually blends into another - isn't going away. But how can you achieve that yourself at home?
For Newbold, the easiest way is to use glitter.
First, you paint your nails the base colour you want, then "apply a tonal glitter to the tip and blend upwards toward the middle of the nail. This can also be done with polish or gel using a sponge".
4. Why your nails are yellow
Few things are more unpleasant than off-colour nails.
Unfortunately, it's easy for this to happen. "They are porous, so left bare they will absorb colours from food etc, and could become yellow or stained," explains Newbold. "Cover them at all times with a hybrid manicure or a nail polish, but be sure to always apply a base coat to stop the colour penetrating the nail plate."
5. How to shape your nails
Knowing how to shape your nail properly is key to keeping them strong and healthy, but are you doing it properly?
"I would recommend filing the nail using a natural file that is gentle on the nails," says Newbold.
"File from the outside of the nail into the middle, to form a beautiful round nail that complements the cuticle."