A Q&A with Robbie Tomkins

January 05, 2024 5 min read

A Q&A with Robbie Tomkins

We sat down with our brand ambassador Robbie Tomkins, celebrity manicurist extraordinaire and asked him all your burning questions.

1. Why Protein Formula?

I love that Protein Formula has taken its time to laser focus on creating a range of nail strengtheners that work. I love that they don’t claim to be everything to everybody. They are a nail strengthening brand so being able to create a product specifically and primarily within this sphere means they’re able to do it extremely well. The results speak for themselves.

2. What is it about Protein Formula that works better than other nail care products on the market?
The ingredients in Protein Formula are unique and each prescriptive nail treatment is focused on a specific nail issue. The differing active ingredients allow each treatment to be affective to that specific nail concern. I love that they haven’t created a ‘one product fits all’ as this simply doesn’t apply to all nails.

3. What is so good about crystal nail files vs other files?
The crystal nail file is a beautifully gentle yet effective nail file which helps avoid damaging and tearing the natural nail when filing. This type of file allows you to safely file using a ‘seesaw’ motion, where you go back and forth, unlike some traditional emery boards which can cause damage. One of the unique and rather fabulous plus points with a crystal nail file is that it’s easy to clean – believe it or not you can simply pop it on the top shelf of your dishwasher for a normal wash cycle and voila!

4. Why is hand cream so important in helping your nails? (There is science to prove that hand cream stimulates nail cells encouraging nail growth)
Using hand cream, especially as the seasons change, is super important to help keep nails and hands hydrated. One of the main causes of breakages in nails is dehydrated nail plates.

5. What are your top tips to strengthen nails?
Leading on from the above question, my main advice for strengthening nails is to keep them hydrated as much as possible. Apply hand cream and cuticle oil throughout the day, especially after handwashing and last thing before you go to bed. Adding moisture helps keep nails supple and avoid breakages.

6. What are your tips for maintaining healthy nails?
Moisture again is key in maintaining healthy nails whilst regularly using a nail strengthener such as Maintain by Protein Formula. Not only do the ingredients penetrate the natural nail plate but I personally also find the sheen reminds me that I have something on my nails, and in effect makes me more considered and aware of them.

7. What are your top tips for growing naturally long nails?
It feels counter intuitive but regular filing, with a gentle file such as a crystal nail file, helps nails remain strong by creating a porous free edge (where you file) which is then able to retain more moisture and avid flaking and cracking.

8. How do I define my nail type?
I would always recommend to anyone that asks that question to take the online nail diagnostics quiz on the Protein Formula website! It’ll help determine your nail type and recommend products from the Protein Formula range to try. 

9. Will my hands and toenails be the same / require the same care?
No – toenails are generally a lot thicker and stronger than fingernails; they grow a lot slower and depending on lifestyle don’t endure as much stress and exposure as fingernails. That said they also need some TLC from time to time so the same online quiz can recommend the correct treatment for toes.

10. What factors affect the health of our nails? (i.e. weather, menopause, hormones)
So many factors can affect nail health that it’s almost impossible to list them here, so my advice to anyone concerned or worried about their nail health is to seek the advice of a qualified professional or even your doctor.

11. How long does it take to heal damaged nails?
This obviously depends on the damage caused and where it has occurred on the nail plate. Fingernails take between 4-6 months to fully regrow depending on the individual and toenails a little longer taking 6-8 months.

12. What are your essentials for anyone doing an at-home mani? And how often should this be done to keep nails at optimum health? Anything people should avoid (i.e. cuticle cutting etc)
My essentials for an at home mani are a good quality crystal nail file (Protein Formula’s Crystal Nail File for example!), a good base coat or Protein Formula’s Maintain, as that is the foundation of everything else applied afterwards, gentle non-acetone nail polish remover, a cuticle pusher, a good quality hand cream (again Protein Formula’s Enriched Hand Cream) and cuticle oil. File nails whenever needed and aim to gentle push cuticles back with an orange wood stick (or the new Protein Formula crystal cuticle pusher) daily which helps avoid splitting and the need to trim them.

13. Is there anything that will weaken nails? (i.e. over filing, weather, exposing them to washing up, having them in water a lot - hair dressers for example)
Nails are affected by numerous factors ranging from nail extensions, diet, climate, and seasonality. My advice is to keep looking at your nails & don’t be afraid to change your normal nail routine to accommodate for these changes. It’s important to recognize how these changes are affecting your nails and focus on what you are seeing instead of sticking to what you know.

14. Any specific tips for caring for nails in the summer / winter months?
Hydration is key in the winter months. Winter can have a huge effect on nails in the same way it affects your skin. Winter-proofing your nails to protect them from the harsher conditions and the drastic changes in temperatures between inside & out can help. In the first instance I'd suggest wearing some warm gloves when venturing out into freezing weather and cold weather and shield dry & dehydrated nails with Protein Formula Hydrate but make sure to take the nail diagnostic quiz to see if that is the correct formula for your nails. I also recommend using a good quality hand cream over a lotion as its thicker and provides ultimate hydration for dry chapped hands. Protein Formula’s Enriched Hand Cream, packed full of moisturizing ingredients such as D-Panthenol & rich in vitamins & antioxidants, is perfect for this.

15. Does gel / acrylic really damage my nails? (Is it safe to wear them long-term / is it worth having a break / does it make a difference if people are having them done all the time of just for occasions / is it more about the application and removal etc)
All enhancements are safe IF they are applied and removed by an experienced qualified professional. Damage occurs when clients take enhancements off themselves or have them taken off aggressively and quickly by an inexperienced professional.

16. Can I use Protein underneath regular nail polish / gel / acrylics? (no – so why and what would you recommend to these clients)
If you can’t bear to be without a colour on your nails but are interested in improving and maintaining nail health, then Maintain can be used as a base coat. The only kick back is that the system is designed to be applied for three consecutive days so applying a colour means the additional layers won’t penetrate however the base layer will still aid in nail health, the process will just take a little longer.