healthy natural nails with hortūs nailworks.

healthy natural nails with hortus nailworks | reading my tea leaves


I mentioned in this weekend’s newsletter that I’d spent a little quality pampering time in the Lower East Side gem of a nail salon, Hortūs Nailworks. The salon carries a whole range of five-free polishes, but at founder Jane Maccolla’s recommendation, I got one of the salon’s most popular services. It’s a little something we’re calling the bare manicure. No polish, just pampering.


Jane explains why she recommends it: “I love the natural look of well manicured nails with a high shine buff. It’s such an elegant and polished look; long lasting and works great on just about everyone!” 
To get bare nails looking good, nails are cut, shaped and cuticles are cleaned and detailed. (Yes: like a car!) Hands are then deeply moisturized with a hydrating massage. To finish off, the manicurists at Hortūs use a two sided buffer. One side has a very fine grit to gently even out surface, and the other side is smooth, which creates the super shiny finish. They top off the buff with a few drops of nourishing nail and cuticle oil.
Since this kind of manicure leaves your nails exposed, it’s important to keep them tidy and well groomed. I asked Jane for a few of her favorite tips for at-home maintenance:
healthy natural nails with hortus nailworks | reading my tea leaves
 + File. I’ll admit I’m not a regular nail filer, but Jane explains that regular filing keeps nails “smooth and snag-free” and after seeing how nice my natural nails could look, I might just be a convert. To get the job done, Jane recommends a crystal or glass file since they’re “very gentle with a super fine grit.” Even better, the files are washable, so it’s easy to keep them clean and sanitary. Jane mentions that with care, a crystal file will last a long time, making is a great sustainable choice. To note: Always file dry, clean nails to avoid splitting or weakening. (For the curious: My new file.)healthy natural nails with hortus nailworks | reading my tea leaves

+ Shape. When the aim is for a manicure sans-polish, Jane recommends shaping your nails to follow the natural curvature of your nail. She says: “It’s generally the most flattering shape especially when keeping nails bare and unpolished. This is what I would recommend since they are ‘naked’ and you can see the actual shape of nails.” So, no square or oval or round. Just do you.healthy natural nails with hortus nailworks | reading my tea leaves


+ Scrub. I tend to only really think about scrubbing my nails when they’re visibly dirty, but it turns out that whether I’ve spent the day potting up a window box or typing away at my computer, I should be keeping my nails clean. Noted. Jane recommends keeping a nail brush handy to use regularly when washing your hands. A brush keeps nails and cuticles free of dry skin and debris. She advised me to “be gentle and don’t forget to clean under your nails!” Bonus: Keeping nails scrubbed “allows for much better absorption of nourishing oils and creams.” (For the curious: a similar wooden nail brush.)healthy natural nails with hortus nailworks | reading my tea leaves


+ Moisturize. Speaking of oils and cream, Jane says that any “nice, high quality oils you have in your kitchen generally work great.” At home, Jane loves mixing organic coconut oil with olive oil and castor oil. She says, “the combination makes it fast absorbing and deeply hydrating.” She also recommends grapeseed, safflower, and sweet almond oil and suggests mixing them or using them solo. She says, “play around with the various consistencies and textures to find the one you like best.” Jane reuses glass bottles with pumps to make the oils more accessible and easier to use. To moisturize: Gently massage oils into your hands, cuticles and nails.

+ Buff. For the brave at-home manicurists, a natural buff is the loveliest finish to a natural manicure. I’d never had my nails buffed to a high-shine before and I marveled at the fact that the result was so much like a clear polish, minus the eventual chipping. Tip: If you’ve moisturized pre-buff, take a moment to remove excess oils from your nails. You can use non-acetone nail polish remover, or simple soap and water, just make sure nails are completely dry before buffing or shining. Word of caution: Don’t over buff! It can cause thinning of your nail plate.


Jane’s three recommendations for maintaining healthy nails?


1.) Avoid using your nails as tools! Treat them gently and wear gloves when cleaning, doing dishes, gardening, etc. This helps to keep your nails from breaking, splitting and drying out. 


2. Keep your hands and nails clean and moisturized.
3. Drink lots of water and practice a clean and well balanced diet.

healthy natural nails with hortus nailworks | reading my tea leaves

Hortūs Nailworks is a salon on the Lower East Side of Manhattan specializing in hands and feet care and sugaringTo ensure the highest level of quality, freshness, and effectiveness, Hortūs uses a carefully selected range of products for their services, including those handcrafted in small batches using food grade and organic ingredients. 

To make an appointment, visit Hortūs Nailworks


PS. Hortūs offers a Happy Hour special on Monday-Wednesday from 11am – 4pm: A manicure and pedicure for $50. (Cash only for Happy Hour!)



Disclosure: I was treated to my manicure as part of my coverage for this story. Opinions are my own.

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