Top 7 Tips for Pretty, Healthy Nails
I have to admit - sometimes when I take off my nail polish between manicures, its a little disheartening to see the condition of my nails if I haven't been treating them well. My nails have actually gotten stronger as I've gotten older, but also drier. I work hard to make sure they stay moisturized.
It doesn't matter how amazing your nails look when they are done if they aren't healthy underneath, so lets take a peek at 7 top tips for pretty, healthy nails.
Our diets can play a big role in the health of our nails, and I don't know about you, but I certainly don't eat well enough regularly to think that I've got my nutritional needs covered in the nail department. Most of us are going to need supplements to keep our nails healthy and strong.
There's a lot of noise out there about special vitamins for nail strength and health, but the most effective will always be plain Biotin. I actually used to take Biotin for another unrelated endocrine disorder I have, and my nails had never been stronger! A small but well-run study showed that 2,500 mcg of biotin daily for 6 to 9 months increased nail thickness by 25% and reduced the tendency of nails to split.
Other great supplements to add include zinc, vitamin C, and folic acid.
2. Stop biting your nails!
I know, I know, this one seems obvious, but its a bad habit that a lot of people have that really needs to stop if you want to keep your nails in tip-top shape.
Most people things nail biting is innocuous, but when you bite your fingernails too often, you can create long-lasting inflammation in your nail bed, which can affect how your nails grow in the future. You can also get infections from biting your nails, which can cause permanent damage!
3. Care for your cuticles
One of the most important things you can do for your cuticles is to keep them moisturized! If you do nothing else at all for your nails, do this. Find a good quality cuticle oil and use it at minimum once, preferably at least twice, per day. I use Young Living's Rose ointment in the morning after my shower and at night right before bed for deep moisturizing, and my cuticles have never looked better. Find one you love and use it often!
You should also never work with cuticles that are dry. Only push back cuticles that have been soaked or thoroughly moisturized to avoid tears that can cause damage. Always be super gentle when pushing back your cuticles, and NEVER cut them! Their job is to protect your nail beds from infection.
Also consider making the switch to acetone-free nail polish remover. Its extremely drying not only to your cuticles, but to your nails as well. I promise, you can still get that glitter polish off without the acetone!
4. Use the right nail polish
Did you know that the EPA classifies conventional nail polish as household hazardous waste and recommends it be disposed of at a hazardous waste disposal site? And we are supposed to put that on our nails?? That definitely explains the smell in nail salons.
Luckily for us, there are lots of safer options out there! Zoya, Piggy Polish, Ella + Mila, and Color Street are all much healthier options and will be much nicer to your nails.
5. Moisturize nails
In the same way you need to keep your cuticles moisturized, your nails need moisture too! Depending on how dry your nails are, there are a few different ways you can up the moisture level in them.
The simplest way is to use whatever cuticle oil you are already using and massage that into your nails as well, once or twice a day. For an extra boost in the dry winter, scoop a large amount of thick moisturizing butter or cream on your hands and nails and pull on some cotton gloves before you go to bed.
For extremely dry, brittle nails, try soaking them in olive oil for 10-15 minutes every day for a month, then twice a week after that. It sounds extreme, but the oil soaks into your nails and nail beds really nicely and can make a huge difference.
6. Stop using chemicals on your hands
Between all of the things you use to clean your house, soften your skin, and make yourself pretty(ier), you might be surprised how many toxic chemicals are getting into your skin and nails all day. Phthalates, Sodium Hydroxide, Chlorine, Quats, Triclosan and more are just a few of the toxic yuck that is wreaking havoc on your nails and causing problems. I noticed a huge difference in the health and strength of my nails when I kicked all of the toxic cleaning and personal care products out of my house and switched to safer alternatives. Young Living is my favorite trusted company. They allowed me to know that I was safely replacing everything in my home from mulipurpose cleaner to deodorant, to lotion, and even my complete makeup collection.
7. Try natural solutions to common problems
Most nail problems you might have can probably be either completely fixed or vastly improved by using natural solutions instead of harsh chemicals. To fight nail fungus, try tea tree essential oil. For flaky, brittle nails, up your intake of essential fatty acids in your diet; things like avocado, fatty fish, and flaxseed should do the trick. Puncture the capsule that Vitamin E comes in and rub on your nails for a quick, hydrating boost to split nails.