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So, what are finger nails anyway?

Finger nails are actually the created by living cells of your finger. There are 3 main parts that you see: your nail plate (finger nail), the nail bed (under your finger nail) and the cuticle (the rim or base which hugs your nail).

Your finger nails are made up of a hardened protein called "keratin" (which also forms your hair). Did you know that the average person's finger nails grow 1 cm every 100 days? Nails generally grow faster in young people and in males! Did you also know that your finger nails grow faster than toe-nails - and - your finger nails grow faster on your dominant hand?

Should I choose shellac/gel/bio gel? Or Acrylic? Is there a difference? Yes! Is one better than the other? Well, it depends on what your short and long term goals are - how healthy your nails are, etc.

Starting with Acrylic...

Acrylic nails are a two-part, air drying formulation which cures in about 45 seconds. The nails are very strong and stick to your natural nail. Well maintained acrylics can last some time and they tend to be inexpensive. They get a bad reputation though because the fake nails can cause damage and sometimes bacterial and fungal infections on your natural nails if not applied and maintained correctly.

Gels: Shellac, Bio-Gel

UV Gel is applied just like regular nail polish to your natural nails and is cured using a UV light. The nice thing about this is there is no "down" time while you wait for your nails to dry. You can go ahead and pick up your purse and shoes with no fear of ruining your manicure! Gel is also sometimes known as shellac , which is actually just the brand name, just like Bio-Gel is (think how we say Band-Aid instead of bandage).

They both come in a plethora of colours and promises to remain chip free for up to two weeks (although many clients can make it last three with proper home care!). This is a great for those who already have thicker, healthy nails as it's a product that will help to shield the existing nail and offers an extended life compared to a manicure and pedicure with regular polish, which usually only lasts a few days.

Some swear by shellac/gel as part of their regular beauty routine, while for others it's a great choice for special occasions (weddings, vacations, etc.) for its durability and lack of required upkeep.

Good Nail Health and Hygiene

Last but not least, regularly scheduled manicures and pedicures are a great way to maintain your health. Always make sure you have clean, neat finger and toe nails and be sure to keep hang nails trimmed down. You should see a doctor if you notice any changes in the shape and/or colour of your nail such as curling, dark spots, white streaks, etc. If your nail texture changes, becoming brittle or wavy, if your nails swell or become painful or begin to separate from your skin. These could be symptoms of larger more worrisome health conditions.

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