I’ve never met a mask I didn’t like. It’s become a weekly ritual to cover my hair with one (either a homemade concoction or Kiehl’s Olive Fruit Oil Repairative Hair Pak). And even more frequently, I rely on a mask for my face to draw out impurities. For some reason, I never considered masking my hands until very recently. I admit that this was flawed logic and have tried to rectify immediately.
Nail masks, like a lot of other nail treatments featured on ITG, aim to repair ragged cuticles, strengthen shabby nails, or lighten up yellowed nails (an unfortunate side effect of dark nail polish). The masks themselves are pre-soaked pouches that look kind of like finger puppets. You leave them on your digits for 15 or 30 minutes, and then behold: nails worthy of a hand model (or at least close enough).
I’m a DIY-manicure kind of girl, and I don’t always give my nails the kind of attention that I probably should, so buying a few masks already felt luxurious in that I-don't-really-need-these kind of way. I've seen products like nail BB cream— Orly's BB Crème has made a big splash in my circles—and other paint-on treatments that are nice and all, but nothing beats the reaction you get when you try something along the lines of Sally's Box Friendly Milk Nail Mask or Kocostar's Nail Therapy Multivitamin Nail Treatment (both promised to strengthen and soften with the hero ingredient glycerin). For argan oil fanatics, there's Moisture & Nourish Fingernail Mask, too. After 15 minutes of wiggling my fingers around like I was about to put on a puppet show, my nails did look nice—dry cuticles gone and shiny! Plus, there was the extra relaxation of knowing you can't use your hands (read: touch your phone) for 30 minutes or so. It's also a pretty good excuse not to do the dishes (or whatever other chores you've got going on). See? Nail masks: useful on multiple fronts.
Photographed by Tom Newton.
Don't dry out your cuticles with acetone. Here's an all-natural nail polish remover that works double as cuticle oil.