Unfortunately, developing strong and healthy nails is not on the top of a lot of people’s “to-do” list. After all, many of us don’t even know where to start. The first step to understanding where nail care begins is realizing that your nails are alive and need to be taken care of in order to look their best. Don’t ignore your nails because you don’t feel they are as important as your hair or face. Make the time for your nails too.
While manicures and pedicures are great for your nails and leave them looking fantastic, they are only a temporary fix. After the mani or pedi your nails will eventually return to their previous state. Depending on how you treat your nails, they will either be splitting and weak, or healthy and strong.
How do you give your nails the treatment that they deserve? Here are 12 simple tips that will lead to naturally beautiful and healthy nails.
How to Trim and File Nails
Using sharp manicure scissors or clippers, trim your nails straight across. Try your best to keep your nails even because chipped edges can lead to further damage. Use your file to round the tips of your nails. When you file, only move the filer in one direction. If you go back and forth it can wear on your nails and make them brittle.
Clean and Dry Nails
Washing your hands is great for your nails because you can clean out all of the junk hiding under and around your nails. You also rid yourself of the bacteria living on your nails. Be sure to dry your hands after you wash and make sure your hands don’t over dry. You may need to use moisturizer (read next tip).
When you keep your hands clean and dry you prevent fungi and bacteria from growing under your fingernails. Wear dish gloves when you do the dishes or clean using any chemicals. Hot water from cleaning can begin to weaken your nails over time. Keeping your nails submerged during a long bath is also a bad idea.
Moisturizing a couple of times a day will keep your nails hydrated. Be sure to rub the moisturizer into your cuticles as well. It will keep them soft and looking great. Any kind of body lotion, hand cream, or cuticle oil will work. Moisturizing will help keep nails from breaking due to excessive dryness.
Old habits are hard to break, but this one has got to stop! None of the steps that you take to have great nails will help if you keep chewing them off. We all know that chewing causes splits and cracks in your nails, but you also need to realize that it can cause infections. Your nails, teeth, and overall health will be better off if you can kick the habit. If you are having trouble avoiding nail biting, you can try sitting on your hands or putting hot sauce on your fingers. Its better advice than it sounds like. If you can make it a week without biting your nails, you will be amazed at the improvement and that will make quitting much easier.
The healthier you eat, the healthier your nails will be. Foods rich in Vitamin A and calcium can help give you the strong nails you are seeking. Foods like apricots, carrots, milk, cheese, and almonds are all great for developing healthy nails. Of course, drinking lots of water will also contribute by keeping your body and nails hydrated. Carrot juice is often recommended to those who want to strengthen their nails because it contains large amounts of calcium and phosphorus.
Leave Your Cuticles Alone!
While cutting or pushing back cuticles used to be common practice, things are now changing. Your cuticles are there for a reason; to act as a natural barrier to fungus and bacteria. By cutting or pushing back your cuticles you will end up with red and swollen cuticles prone to infection. These types of infections can harm the nail bed and lead to permanent damage to your nail.
Easy on the Nail Hardeners
Nail hardeners are often much more destructive than they are helpful. Healthy nails should be flexible, but nail hardeners make them brittle and ridged. These products are not tested scientifically, so there is no credible evidence to support claims of their effectiveness. It is recommended that people with exceptionally weak and fragile nails take biotin supplements (see directly below).
Some people have especially weak nails that a healthy and balanced diet will not be enough to fix. Fortunately, there is help out there. Research has shown that taking biotin (a B vitamin) supplements can increase nail thickness and prevent splitting and breaking. So whether you have particularly weak nails, or just want an extra boost to your nails health; biotin could be a solution for you.
No Acetone-based Polish Remover
Acetone-based polish removers have been shown to weaken nails and cause them to become very brittle. Most dermatologists would agree that acetone-based polish remover should be avoided in order to keep nails healthy. If you already have brittle nails, the polish remover will only compound the problem.
Don’t use Full Nail Extensions
It is generally accepted that nail extensions are bad for your nails. They can lead to fungal and bacterial infections and even permanent damage. While tip extensions are still bad for your nails, they are considerably less risky than full nail extensions because they cover less surface area. Neither tip or full extensions are recommended for healthy nails.
Use a Nail Brush
Not using the proper cleaning tools on your nails can lead to damage and infection. Don’t use sharp tools to scrape and clean underneath your nails. One little slip and you could be in a lot of pain! Aside from the risk of a wound, you may also be risking infection by creating a gap between the nail and the nail bed. A nail brush is the perfect tool for cleaning your nails. The bristles are firm enough to clean your nails thoroughly without doing any damage. Just be sure to scrub gently.
Your Nails are Not Tools
Your nails can be very useful tools for a number of tasks like opening letters or tearing open bags or packaging. Unfortunately, if you want your nails to be healthy you will have to settle for using a pair of scissors or a knife instead. You don’t want to waste the nails you’ve worked so hard on by bending or tearing a nail while ripping open an envelope. After all, there is probably a letter opener nearby.
There are many more ways to take care of your nails than I have listed here. If you have any questions about your nails, contact the nail experts at Threads. They will have your nails looking their best and feeling their strongest.