You’d be surprised just how much you use your nails every day. We nibble them when we’re bored or nervous, peel fruit with them when we’re hungry and open cans of drink with them when we’re thirsty. That’s a lot of hard work for something that is made from the same protein as our hair. Our nails help us on a daily basis. It’s time to give back and keep them fighting fit with these top tips for getting strong, healthy nails.
Keep them squeaky clean
Before you do anything with your nails you should make sure that they’re clean and free of any old nail varnish. To thoroughly remove any dirt, apply soap to a toothbrush and gently scrub your nails and the surrounding areas. This will remove any dirt and dry skin without the need of harsh chemicals that could potentially be damaging.
You should also clean under your nails regularly to remove dirt that could lead to infection. No fancy tools are needed, get yourself a good, sturdy nail brush keep the underneath of your nails clean without risking damaging the nail bed.
Always use base and top coats
Doing your nails yourself at home doesn’t mean that you should skip important steps such as using base and top coats alongside your coloured nail polish. Adding a clear base coat before painting your varnish stops vibrant colours from staining your nails and makes the colour appear brighter with only one coat. After painting your nails adding a top coat seals in the colour and adds a glossy, salon-esque finish. If you really want to keep your manicure looking it’s best, add a top coat every three days. This prevents chipping and will make your colour last much longer.
Even though our nails do a lot of hard work, they are in fact very delicate. Remember, they’re made out of the same proteins as your hair so scrubbing them too hard can cause lasting damage.
Your nails are at their weakest after being soaked in hot water for a long period of time. Avoid filing them straight after a shower or bath to avoid splitting and to promote healthy nails. You should also avoid filing in two different directions. Going back and forth with your nail file can also weaken nails, causing them to break.
Trim your nails Regularly
Regular cuts are as important for your nails as they are for your hair. Taking time out of your day once every two weeks to neaten up your nails can vastly improve their health. You may find that your nails grow quicker or slower than average and so may need more or less regular trims to keep them looking their best.
Kill Two Birds with One Stone
As with many other parts of the body, a healthy, balanced diet can have a dramatically positive effect on your nails. Adding vitamins, supplements and protein rich foods like biotin, vitamin E, beans, fish, and nuts to your diet can improve them greatly by increasing strength, adding shine and promoting growth. Not all of these things will work for everyone, however, so you’ll need to find the right combination of vitamins, supplements and protein rich foods that help you grow strong and healthy nails.
Both our hair and nails are made out of the same protein, Keratin, and so improving your diet can help to improve the health of both!
Long nails can look great but are harder to keep in a healthy condition. If you find that your long nails are constantly snagging, breaking and splitting, you should consider cutting them shorter. Nails that are short and rounded are more manageable and allow you to focus on their condition. Once you’re happy with the health and strength of your nails, you’re ready to re-grow!
Don’t cut the cuticle
Cuticles are important as they seal the area at the base of the nail. If you cut or remove them, it could leave you open and exposed to bacteria which could lead to infection. The less you touch your cuticles, the happier your nails will be. At most, you should gently push them back once a week with a wooden tool just after showering. Follow this by rubbing cuticle oil or a thick, creamy lotion into them to keep them fresh and moisturised.
Take pride in your tools
Disinfecting your nail tools in between uses is just as important as regularly shampooing your makeup brushes. This keeps your metal nail tools bacteria free and helps to prevent your nails from becoming infected. To clean nail tools effectively:
- Rinse with hot, soapy water
- Leave them to dry on a clean, dry towel
- Finish by rubbing down with rubbing alcohol
If your tools have seen better days and are beginning to look tired, replace them. Using old, worn out tools could cause more damage to your nails as they won’t be as sharp as they need to be to do their jobs efficiently.
Always read the label
Not all nail products are made in the same way and some contain chemicals that can harm your nails. Steer clear of brands that use toxic substances such as dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde, and toluene. Keeping away from these will prevent your nails from splitting, cracking and becoming brittle. With such an array of nail products readily available on the high street, it can be difficult to choose the safest brands. Julia Horniacek, beauty writer for Best Products shares her picks of the best, non-toxic nail brands to try this year to make things a little easier for you.
Moisturise Moisturise Moisturise
Many of us religiously moisturise our skin before going to sleep to hydrate our bodies and keep dry, chapped skin at bay. Why do we always forget to do the same for our nails? Massaging a drop of coconut oil into nails before your beauty sleep will keep them looking healthy and hydrated. Although famous for it’s skin perfecting qualities, you don’t have to use coconut oil. You can use any nutrient-packed oil, moisturiser or hand and nail cream to get hydrated, healthy nails.
Gardening, washing up and cleaning can all involve harsh chemicals that cause havoc with our hands and nails. Wearing gloves when carrying out these kinds of jobs can help to prevent any unwanted damage. Washing up in hot water can weaken the nails while gardening will leave your whole hands in need of a good scrub if you don’t wear gloves.
We don’t just need gloves for protection from dirt and chemicals. With winter still in full swing it’s important to keep your hands wrapped up warm to prevent dry, scaly, itchy skin and to keep your perfectly manicured nails in tip top condition.
Our top tips are perfect if you work in the beauty industry and provide nail treatments to your customers. Advising them on the best ways to get healthy nails at home between their salon visits gives them confidence in your services and knowledge. Gaining trust from your customers is a great way of building lasting relationships and encouraging them to return to you.
At Brentwood, we’re passionate about helping people to look and feel their best, whether they work in the industry or not. Adding a few of these simple steps into your at-home manicure routine will soon give you happy, healthy nails at a fraction of the price of a salon visit. You don’t need any expensive, specialist tools to keep your hands and nails looking their best, especially during the harsh winter months.