Ask An Expert: How to Nail It!


Nippers, buffer blocks, buffer files, top coats, base coats, lacquers, polishes, gel colors. Nail care can be confusing at times.

 Recently, I had the chance to ask an expert my most pressing questions about nailing it in life.

 Read on for tips and tricks from Sherry Vincent, Spa Manager at Atera and one of the best in the business for more than 20 years.

Q: What is one of the biggest mistakes clients these days make with nail care?

A: Not using a base coat. Skipping a base coat is like wearing foundation without a primer or moisturizer.

You can extend the wear of your manicure by at least a couple of days just by adding that first proper layer. Also, using topcoat as a basecoat doesn’t work because it’s thicker, it takes longer to dry, and it doesn’t have the properties that a base coat does.

Q: Chipped nails…what’s your secret for avoiding them?

A: First of all, make sure your nails are clean, with no residue from previous polish and no grease. Our nails produce natural oils which lifts the polish off, so to prevent this happening as much as possible you need to make sure there is no oil there to begin with.

OPI has a pretty amazing product called Chip Skip which preps your nails for polish application. Capping each layer is my all time secret for longer lasting manicures.

Q: Gel polish or regular polish? And why?

A: I prefer regular polish because I like to change my lacquer color often. However, if traveling on a business trip, I’m more likely to have gel polish, just so my hands look great for the duration of my travel.

Atera Boutique Spa at Limegrove Lifestyle Centre in Holetown, Barbados.

Q: Let’s talk more about gel polish for a minute. How often should I get a gel mani or pedi?

A: Typically, gels on the hands last for 14 days, longer on the feet. I’ve noticed that many people opt for just gel removal and gel application without having a full manicure or pedicure. Cuticle care and maintenance is an important part of great looking hands and feet. I recommend monthly manicures and pedicures.

Q: Is there a right or wrong way to remove gel color from the nail?

A: There surely is a right way to remove gels. If your gel starts to peel, please refrain from peeling it off. This practice damages the nail.

Q: What about acetone? Good idea or no?

A: Acetone is not a good choice for removing gels, acetone is a very drying chemical, which will leave your nails dry and brittle after repeated use. There are gel removers that have been designed specifically for removing gels. They cost a bit more but are well worth the investment.


One of my favorite nail care product collections, OPI.

Q: What’s the best way to maintain hands and feet between spa visits?

A: For hands, I’d have to say, using cuticle oil at bedtime along with a great hand moisturizer. Our hands are one of the areas on our bodies that age the quickest, so if we start taking care of them early, chances of anyone guessing our age by looking at our hands will be virtually impossible.

For the feet, scrub your heels with a good callus file and use a moisturizer specific to the feet between spa visits.  All lotions are not created equal. A moisturizer that is silicone free is a great place to start.

Q: What are the top three products in your personal hand-at-foot-care routine, and where can we get them?

A: My OPI Crystal File for natural nails; OPI Nail Envy Nail Strengthener  (Original Formula); OPI Callus File–this is a bit of an investment but once you try this, you will never go back to an average foot file.

Atera Boutique Spa is one of the best in Barbados and located at Limegrove Lifestyle Centre, Holetown, St. James.

To shop any of the products mentioned in this post or to book a nail care appointment, visit or dial +1 (246) 271-8220.



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