By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
The secret to the perfect manicure is a properly filed nail and the generous and correct application of six coats of polish.
So says Jessica Vartoughian, and she should know since she is the founder and CEO of Jessica Nails, the largest and most respected natural nailcare company in the world today.
“One of the biggest mistakes women make when having their nails done is letting their manicurist file their nails in more than one direction,” Vartoughian told Pulse News Mexico on Tuesday, Aug. 28, during a whirlwind visit to Mexico.
“You should never file the nails back and forth because this can harm your nails and make them splinter into layers. And never, never file the top of the nail. This will only make them thin and frail.”
The trauma of a repeated sawing motion can not only wear the nail down and make it more susceptible to breakage, Vartoughian said, but can also lead to peeling and splintering.
The ideal way to file nails is in a single direction, she said, staring on the side where the skin and nail meet, and carefully maneuvering toward the center in a smooth, fluid motion while lifting the file away from the nail.
Vartoughian, who began her now-global nail empire back in 1968 after having worked first as a manicurist and later as a product developer for Max Factor, also said that it is a mistake to cut your cuticle because this can lead to hangnails and torn skin.
Cuticles are intended to serve as a shield for the nail matrix, she said, and cutting them can leave this sensitive area open to fungal or bacterial infection, as well as other nail problems such as ridges, white spots or white lines.
“All of this has to do with nail health,” said Vartoughian, who in the late 1970s pioneered the concept of holistic nailcare through the introduction of the first line of commercial nail polishes that were formaldehyde-, DBP- and toluene-free.
“Healthy nails are beautiful nails, and nothing says more about a woman than how she cares for her hands. No matter how beautifully dressed she might be, if her hands are not well manicured, she just won’t look polished.”
Vartoughian said that instead of cutting away overgrown cuticle, it is best to use a wooden orange stick to gently push them back toward the root of the matrix.
The Romanian-born Vartoughian — who over the years has attended a pageant of celebrity clients from Lucille Ball to Jennifer Aniston in her sole Beverly Hills salon, and who, in 2016 was christened the First Lady of Nails by the New York Times – was equally adamant about how to apply nail color.
“Of course, it is important to use a quality nail polish,” she said.
“But it is also important that the polish be applied correctly.”
Vartoughian said she always applies six coats – two coats of base, two coats of color and two layers of topcoats.
She said that nail polish should be applied generously, making sure to wrap color around the tip of the nail.
“A properly applied nail polish should last between a week and 10 days without chipping,” she said.
By the same token, Vartoughian said that the nail polish bottle should always be full to the top.
“If the polish bottle is not full, the brush will not collect the polish correctly and the end effect will be an unsmooth application,” Vartoughian said.
“My suggestion is that when you buy a new nail polish, but two bottles of the same color so that you can refill the one you are using to the brim before each application.”
As for colors and styles, Vartoughian said that solid, understated colors are most appropriate today.
“Long nails are no longer in,” she said.
“Earthy nudes and muted shades are best in today’s world.”
Vartoughian, who is opposed to nail tips and decals, said that you should choose a hue that suits your particular skin tone and personal style, adding that regional preferences also come into play.
“In California, for example, women tend to favor brighter shades, while New Yorkers like darker, more somber colors,” she said.
Vartoughian likewise said that it is a myth that nails should be allowed to “rest” periodically without any polish so that they can “breathe.”
“Nails don’t breathe, and the part of the nail that is exposed is not even alive,” she said.
“A good coat of polish serves to protect the nail.”
Finally, Vartoughian said that it is important to incorporate having a weekly or fortnightly professional manicure to maintain good nail health.
“Nail care should be a part of your routine hygiene,” she said.
“Find a salon and manicurist you like and go there regularly. Beautiful, healthy hands project a positive image and express refinement and elegance.”