10 Natural Nail Care Tips for Healthy Nails
When your nails look beautiful you feel beautiful too. Even if you head in for a manicure once or twice a month there are some healthy nail habits you can incorporate into your daily and weekly routine. Here is how to keep your natural fingernails strong and looking their best.
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1. Ditch Your Bad Habits
The first thing you must do is ditch your unhealthy fingernail habits. The top two culprits are biting your fingernails and using your fingernails to scrape things. Also think beyond your nails and stop pulling at hangnails, which should only be clipped away with clean, stainless steel fingernail clippers.
I’ve had a bad habit of doing all of these things. I used to bit my nails years ago. It left my nails looking too short and damaged. In order to let your nails grow longer and healthier stopping this habit is a must. Pulling at hangnails is something I have to stop myself from doing even to this day. Clipping them is not only better, but also less painful.
2. Keep Your Fingernails Clean
Next up, you want to wash underneath your fingernails at least every other day. This can be easy to forget when you are wearing colored polish. Even if you don’t have any visible dirt or anything caked underneath, invisible bacteria can grow under your nails. All you need is soapy water and a fingernail brush.
3. Apply Cuticle Oil
Cuticle oil will nourish and moisturize your nails and cuticles so apply a thin layer at least once a day. If you have a natural hand lotion that contains a bit of oil, be sure to apply it to your nails too. And yes, you can apply cuticle oil and hand lotion if you have polish on. Use jojoba, grapeseed, or almond oil or invest in a cuticle oil formula like OPI Pro Spa. This is a perfect night time routine before you pop on your moisturizing gloves.
Cuticles that are dry and peeling can be painful and will only get worse if not taken care of. This has happened to me many times when I used to neglect my nails. So paying attention to your cuticles is very important.
4. Proper Weekly Care
You should trim or file your fingernails at least once per week. Even if you are trying to grow your nails longer, this will ensure that they grow evenly and in your desired shape. File in the same direction to minimize breakage. Gently push back your cuticles if they are long, but never removed them—even when getting a professional manicure. If you aren’t wearing polish buff your nails, so they are smooth and shiny.
My nails tend to grow pretty fast and as they grow they start to get a little out of shape if I don’t keep them filed on a regular basis.
5. Apply A Protective Polish
Once you have trimmed or filed your fingernails you want to apply a protective coat. Essie All in One will help keep your nails strong and healthy and provide a bit of a shine. If you will be applying polish on top, use this as a base coat. To keep your polish from chipping reapply a top coat every other day.
If you are anything like me applying nail polish can be a challenge. Nail Polish gets everywhere it shouldn’t be and I can never get that salon perfect look. Because of this I usually just use a clear top coat on my nails. One way that I found that can alleviate this problem is applying nail polish strips. Using nail polish strips eliminate the mess that usually happens when applying nail polish at home.
Nail Shack is a company that creates beautiful nail polish strips. They have a monthly subscription box where you get 4 different nail polish strip colors each month, so you can switch up your nail polish weekly if you wanted to. Click here to try this subscription box and make painting your nails a lot easier.
6. Wear Gloves
Our nails weaken when they come in contact with chemicals or if they are wet for an extended period of time. To protect your nails and hands, wear gloves when cleaning and washing dishes. If you are tempted to scrape at stuck-on things while you clean, this will minimize the temptation. To remove all temptation, invest in cleaning and dishwashing scrapers which do a better job removing stuck-on food.
7. Never Pick Polish Off
As your nail polish begins to chip off you must avoid the temptation to pick it off. While it might sound harmless as you need to remove it anyway, picking off your polish will also remove the top layer of your fingernail. This will weaken and damage your nails. Instead, use your preferred nail polish remover. If you have time to wait in between applying more polish, remove your polish at night, then apply cuticle oil or wear moisturizing gloves while you sleep.
8. Consider A Daily Supplement
There are a variety of beauty supplements to choose from. Nature’s Bounty Hair, Skin, & Nails contains biotin and collagen for whole-body beauty. If you already use a daily collagen supplement or want a targeted approach to your nail health, you may opt only for a biotin supplement. Also, make sure you have enough protein in your daily diet.
9. Keep Your Cuticles
We mentioned this earlier, but let’s talk a bit more about why you must never remove your cuticles. Cuticles play a vital role in nail health, protecting your nail root from bacteria. If you remove your cuticles you are more susceptible to infection. That being said, cuticles can overgrow, and get dry and damaged. This is why you want to gently push them back with a stainless-steel cuticle pusher and apply cuticle oil. Wood cuticle pushers are more prone to bacteria and stainless steel will last for many years.
I know cutting your cuticles look neat and more appealing but the health of your nails is way more important. Once you use cuticle oil and keep your nails moisturized your pushed back cuticles will look great.
10. Clean Your Nail Tools
Finally, something most of us forget to do, which is to clean our nail tools. In-between weekly use, wipe your stainless steel clippers and cuticle pusher clean with rubbing alcohol. Your fingernail brush can be soaked once a week in a solution of half vinegar and half water. Most emery boards and clippers can’t get wet, so be sure to only use them on clean fingernails.
As a precaution I usually don’t let other people use my nail tools. In the rare instances that I do I make sure to clean my tools after they use it. Everybody has their own germs and we never know what can get passed from someone’s fingernails/skin to our nails. This can potentially cause an infection. It doesn’t always happen, but it is best not to take that chance.
What Should I Eat To Strengthen My Nails?
You can aide the health of your nails by using the steps mentioned in this post, but essentially the health of your nails comes from within. What you consume affects the health of your nails. One thing that is very import is to stay hydrated. Drinking water daily will help keep nails and skin hydrated.
As mentioned earlier biotin is a vitamin that helps hair, skin and nails, so making sure you get adequate amount of biotin will help strengthen your nails. There are many foods that contain biotin, so it shouldn’t be hard to find something you can incorporate into your diet. Some of these foods are nuts, eggs, legumes, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, salmon and avocados.
How to Repair Damaged Nails After Acrylics?
If you have ever had acrylics or gel nails you would know that it leaves nails thinner and rough which is anything but visually appealing. But there is hope. Eventually your nails will get back to their normal state, but it takes a while for that to happen. While you are waiting for that to happen there are ways to get your nails back on track. Most of the steps for repairing your nails are similar to the steps listed earlier.
- First you want to use cuticle oil
- Massage your hands and fingernails often. This increases blood flow to the nails and can speed the process of growing out your nails. I give my hands and nails a brief massage every time I apply lotion. Who doesn’t like a massage right?
- Keep hands and nails moisturized after washing your hands. Frequent hand washing can really dry out your hands and nails, so it’s a good idea to keep lotion in the bathroom so that you won’t forget to apply after washing.
- You can use a nail strengthener like ISDIN SI-NAILS Nail Strengthener. Some people have seen a good amount of improvement in the first week of using this product.
- Give your fingernails a break to get back to normal. It’s a good idea to not keep applying acrylics and gel to your nails back to back. Your nails will become more and more damaged after each time, so it’s good to take a break between applications.
Once you have your nails back on track then use the 10 tips listed earlier to take care of your nails moving forward.
Try these nail care tips out and see improvement in your fingernails.