14 Tips to Get Healthy, Gorgeous Nails
Who knew that diet, and filing habits had such an effect on your nails?
Keep nail beds hydrated
To keep your nails hydrated, rub a small amount of petroleum jelly into your cuticle and the skin surrounding your nails every evening before you go to bed or whenever your nails feel dry. Keep a jar in your purse, desk drawer, car—anywhere you might need it. Not a fan of petroleum jelly? Substitute castor oil. It’s thick and contains vitamin E, which is great for your cuticles. Or head to your kitchen cupboard and grab the olive oil—it also works to moisturize your nails.
Protect nails from wear and tear
Wear rubber gloves whenever you do housework or wash dishes. Most household chores from gardening, to scrubbing the bathroom, to washing dishes, are murderous on healthy nails. For extra hand softness, apply hand cream before you put on the rubber gloves. Slipping on some gloves will also protect your manicure.
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Treat cuticles gently
When pushing back your cuticles (it is not necessary to cut them), come in at a 45-degree angle and be very gentle. Otherwise, the cuticle will become damaged, weakening the entire nail, says Mariana Diaconescu, a manicurist at the Pierre Michel Salon in New York City.
Avoid ingrown nails
For healthy nails, trim your toenails straight across to avoid ingrown toenails. This is particularly important if you have diabetes.
Keep hands dry
Dry your hands for at least two minutes after doing the dishes, taking a bath/shower, etc. Also, dry your toes thoroughly after swimming or showering. Leaving them damp increases your risk of fungal infection and ruins healthy nails.
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Get shoes in top shape
Air out your work boots and athletic shoes. Better yet, keep two pairs and switch between them so you never put your feet into damp, sweaty shoes. This could lead to fungal infections.
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Find high-quality socks
Wear 100 per cent cotton socks. They’re best for absorbing dampness, thus preventing fungal infections. You can also use socks to cover up your messed up DIY toenail art.
Make your manicure last longer
Stretch out the beauty of a manicure by applying a fresh top coat every day, says Susie Galvez, owner of Face Works Day Spa in Richmond, Virginia, and author of Hello Beautiful: 365 Ways to Be Even More Beautiful.
Try these vitamins
To make your nails as strong and resilient as a horse’s hooves, take 300 micrograms of the B vitamin biotin four to six times a day. Long ago, veterinarians discovered that biotin strengthened horses’ hooves, which are made from keratin, the same substance in human nails. Swiss researchers found that people who took 2.5 milligrams of biotin a day for 5.5 months had firmer, harder nails. In a U.S. study, 63 per cent of people taking biotin for brittle nails experienced an improvement.
It’s great for healthy nails! Add a glass of milk and a hard-boiled egg to your daily diet. Rich in zinc, they’ll do wonders for your nails, especially if your nails are spotted with white, a sign of low zinc intake. A DIY mixture can also help with healthy nail growth.
File your nails correctly
To keep your nails at their strongest, avoid filing in a back-and-forth motion—go in only one direction. And never file just after you’ve gotten out of a shower or bath. Wet nails break more easily.
Try this finger massage
Massage your nails to keep them extra strong and shiny. Nail buffing increases blood supply to the nail, which stimulates the matrix of the nail to grow, says Galvez.
Keep ’em polished
Polish your nails, even if it’s just with a clear coat. It protects your nails, says manicurist Diaconescu. If you prefer color, use a base coat, two thin coats of color, and a top coat. Color should last at least seven days but should be removed after 10 days. It can be hard to always be walking around with fresh polish on your nails, completely incapable of doing… well, anything with your nails wet, but we’ve got you covered!
Avoid these polish remover ingredientsSoloTanja/Shutterstock
Avoid polish removers with acetone or formaldehyde. They’re terribly drying to nails, says Andrea Lynn Cambio, MD, a New York City dermatologist. Use acetate-based removers instead.
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