Photo: Bonnie Tsang
Nail art can be very distracting—so much so that it’s easy to forget that there is actually keratin under all those layers of lacquer. But Olive & June, a newly opened nail salon in Beverly Hills, offers a friendly reminder via a nail-nourishing, skin-conditioning treatment (called The Dree). It's found right alongside not-so-basic basic and luxury services that end in a high gloss from the likes of brands like NARS, Essie, and RGB. So we tapped Sarah Gibson Tuttle, the woman behind the recently opened space, to point out the signs that indicate it's time to let your nails come up for air.
What are the golden rules of nail care?
Listen to your nails! If they feel or look dry, brittle, thin or damaged in any way, take a week or two off and use a special base or topcoat to restore them to health. For gel or acrylics, breaks are a must. I’ve seen so many people develop huge ridges in their nails from overdoing it.
What are your favorite products for maintaining strong, healthy, pretty nails?
Nailtiques was the pioneer of clear, glossy nail strengtheners, but these days more polish brands are getting into the game. I'm currently loving Butter London's Nail Fertilizer. It brings my nails back to life.
What are the most common “nailments” and what are the quickest fixes?
The most common issues people have are either weak or thin nails due to bad nail care—usually a bad gel removal—or ridges. Both problems require a time out from polish, gels, and acrylics. Let your nails breathe, then really nurture your nails back to health with a strengthener or ridge filler, or both.
What's the deal with cutting vs. pushing back cuticles?
I love this question! Everyone has such a strong opinion and I am no different. Clipping your cuticles makes your nails look way better but the problem is that a lot of places cut the cuticle AND a ton of the surrounding skin. My advice is to request your cuticles to be pushed back, unless you know and really trust your tech. Applying cuticle oil daily keeps your cuticles from drying out and helps prevent hangnails and nourishes your newest nail growth. My favorite is CND Solar Oil.
Which polishes make your nails look the healthiest and shiniest?
This is the toughest question because there is no single answer. Everyone has a different pH-balance in their nails and so they react differently to different polishes. The real key to shiny is the top coat. I'm a huge fan of two: Seche Vite, an industry favorite for a reason, never stops looking absolutely amazing and almost gel-like; and RGB's Top Coat, it's free from the five most common toxic ingredients found in some polishes and so glossy.
Is there anything people should avoid at all costs?
If you want great looking nails, you have to protect them. Doing the dishes, gardening, using your hands excessively makes for a disaster for polish. If I hear a client at Olive & June is very active with their hands, I encourage them to either go for The Dree, a nourishing manicure or pedicure that is all about really nourishing the nails and finishes clean or with a special top coat, or The Chrissy, which is our gel manicure which extra staying power that is named after my mom who was a nurse for 20 years and was constantly washing her hands.
Since we are transitioning from summer to fall, do you have any tips for treating your nails different in different seasons?
Cuticle oil and lotion! Continually using these products as we have less moisture in the air is key. Women believe they should come in for a weekly mani and their nails and cuticles will stay perfect for a week and unfortunately it's not true. The women with the best nails work at it by using cuticle oil and lotion in the interim so their skin and nails stay hydrated.