Regular manicures, a protein-rich diet, and moisturizing are essential to maintaining healthy, natural nails. (Photo: Gallery Stock)
If you are tired of having tired-looking fingernails, it is time to address the issue once and for all. Too many gel manis? Not enough biotin? Obsessive nail biter? Here are seven need-to-know tips and tricks for keeping your nails alive, thriving, and up to par.
Hydration is at the top of the totem pole when it comes to caring for your nails. “Think of your nails and hands like your face. You wouldn’t wash your face and not apply a moisturizer, but so often we wash our hands over and over again without applying hand lotion,” says Deborah Lippmann, a veteran nail expert and founder and creative director of her own insanely popular nail polish line. You can simply upgrade the status of your nails by keeping a hand lotion like Deborah Lippmann Rich Girl Broad Spectrum SPF Hand Cream with you at all times to keep your nails hydrated even while on the go.
Related: What Are Your Nails Trying to Tell You?
Have some garlic
DIY lovers rejoice! You can make your own hero concoction with as little as one main ingredient: garlic. Yes, it may seem like just another old wives’ tale, but there are more than enough YouTube videos with before-and-after results that have shown significant nail growth and healthier looking nails after a short period of time with the assistance of, yup, garlic. Try rubbing a few cloves on the beds of your nail surface weekly or take it a step further by adding minced up garlic bits to your favorite base coat of polish. Plus, the pungent smell will probably keep you from doing any impulsive nail biting.
Care for cuticles
Over-snipping and aggressively pushing your cuticles back too hard can actually do more damage to your nails than you may think. Contrary to popular belief, cuticles have a significant purpose, and that is to protect your nails from outside bacteria or, even worse, a yucky infection. Lippmann suggests gently massaging in an exfoliating cuticle treatment daily. She says, “A cuticle oil is not a cuticle exfoliator. Oil hydrates your cuticle and an exfoliator removes dead skin cells. Imagine using moisturizer to exfoliate your face; it’s not going to provide results.”
What you consume on the inside is just as (if not more) important as any topical treatment you would put on the outside of your nails. Protein-rich foods such as fish, eggs, and nuts work on the backend, promoting not only healthy hair growth but also strong nails. But as diet plans are forever trending and changing, it is a great idea to reach for supplements that give an extra dose of the essential vitamins needed to nurture nails from within. Try chewing Vitafusionon Gorgeous Hair, Skin & Nails Multivitamin Gummies, loaded with biotin and antioxidants — plus they taste pretty yummy.
Related: The Best Beauty Boosting Supplements
Wear gloves while washing
While we cannot give you a pass from washing your dirty dishes, we do advocate protecting your nails while doing so. As stated earlier, hydration is a crucial factor. Every time you stand at the sink busting a load of suds down with your bare hands, you are pretty much zapping life out of your nails. So pick up a pair of dishwashing gloves to protect your nails from unnecessary moisture loss.
Dare to go bare
Even though there are so many uhhh-mazing colors to rock every season, you still need to let your nails breathe. Just like you wear makeup on your face during the day and make sure to wipe it squeaky clean at night, your nails need that same kind of break to fully absorb the full benefits of any topical solutions applied or to receive proper hydration directly on the nails. If you cannot stand the thought of going completely nude, swipe on a coat of Butter London’s Sheer Wisdom Nail Tinted Moisturizer, available in six natural shades to compliment every skin tone.
Related: Fall Beauty Trend: Low-Maintenance Nude Nails Are Here to Stay
Make manis a must
“Above all, make nail care [shaping, buffing, cuticle grooming, and treatment] a weekly priority by using the proper techniques and hydrating products,” says Lippmann. If you need to save a few extra dollars and skip out on a salon manicure, give your nails a little extra attention at home on a weekly basis. It’s not rocket science, but it needs to happen if you would like to maintain the health of your nails — especially considering that our hands are one of our most used body parts.