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Nail Down a Cure for Winter-Ravaged Cuticles

It's time to give those chipped nails and cracked, dry skin some tender loving care. And manicurist Sonia Goncalves will tell you that it’s all about one thing – moisture.

To get it back into your hands, Goncalves, of Allura Salon & Day Spa of Greenwich, recommends cuticle or baby oil with an exfoliate. "If you are doing something at home, it is very important to exfoliate your hands," she says. "You can use a hand exfoliate, oatmeal or regular sugar. It will help take the dry skin off and help moisturize your skin better."

Or you can get a manicure. It may sound frivolous, but there's verity in this vanity. The word manicure is rooted in Latin, manus (hand) and cura (care), literally care for the hands. Lack of care, especially in the colder months, can result in unattractive, cracking, sometimes painful skin. WebMD , the online mecca for medical information, chalks all this flaky awfulness up to one thing: "Lack of moisture."

For those prone to cracked fingertips, Goncalves says, "You can put Neosporin and a liquid band aid over it. It will help keep the moisture in."

Now that your skin is soft and supple again, what to do about that gorgeous plum-colored nail varnish that's chipping after two days? Goncalves suggests Shellac by CND , a new trend in manicures that is popping up on beauty blogs everywhere.

"Shellac is a gel manicure and similar to regular polish," Goncalves says. "You won’t damage your nails anymore because there isn't any buffing involved. The great thing about it is, if you're traveling, it will last up to two weeks without chipping." It is briefly set with a UV light and only takes about as much time to complete as a standard manicure.

One thing Goncalves says to be careful of is using too much nail polish remover. "Salons use a lot of acetone to take polish off, which dries your nail out," she said. "The best thing is to put cuticle oil on the nail then wipe a bit off and put the polish on top. Leaving the oil on replaces the natural oils in your nail."

Allura Salon & Day Spa is located at 23 W. Putnam Ave.

Have you tried the new Shellac treatment? How do you keep your hands healthy in the winter? Send an email to

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