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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Try these nail care tips out and see improvement in your fingernails.
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