It’s good to keep your nails in good shape, whether you do it as an indulgence or just routine maintenance. Healthy nails require an investment of time, not just money spent at a beauty salon.
Apart from procedures and beauty products, the best route to stronger, longer nails is mostly through simple lifestyle habits. It also means getting rid of bad habits, such as using your nails as a knife or a tin/can opener. For good looking strong nails, follow these tips:
Moisturise your nails
Moisturising is a well-known secret to healthy skin, but it’s often overlooked in nail care. While dry, brittle nails can be the result of many factors, they’re ultimately a cry for moisture, so consider proper moisture the foundation of your nail care routine. So, when applying hand lotion, give your nails a little extra attention.
Leave your cuticles alone
It’s common practice to cut, push back, or try to get rid of cuticles altogether, but cuticles are not the enemy. In fact, the cuticle is the nail’s natural protective seal. Messing with your cuticles can do far more harm than good to your nails. It can also cause infection and injury.
Avoid contact with water
Pay attention to ways you can reduce the time your nails spend in contact with water because excessive water contact can weaken nail structure. Just as wet hair is especially vulnerable, the same caution applies to nail care, too. You may consider wearing gloves while doing the dishes or other wet work. Excessive water exposure can put significant strain on delicate nail cells (called onychocytes), which can lead to brittleness, peeling, and breakage. This is also why soaking nails before a manicure is bad practice.
The best nail care is gentle care, say dermatologists. It is not advisable to dig under your nails as it can separate the nail plate from the underlying bed and lead to a bacterial fungal infection. Never use your nails as kitchen tools – there are plenty of creative ways to open a can of soda. Also remember, when you peel off acrylic or gel nails, you’re really peeling off layers of the nail and that’s going to weaken your nails.
Treat your nails like your hair
It’s the new golden rule. Hair and nails are both composed of keratin proteins, so it makes sense that many of the same rules apply for both. Hair and nails can both become dehydrated and damaged from over-processing. Frequent polish removal, gels, and acrylics do to nails what dyes, chemicals, and heat application do to hair. Hair. Also, just as you would condition your hair with a conditioner, you can do the same with your cuticles to promote healthy, growing nails.
Watch the weather
Winter can be a rough time for skin, hair, and nails alike. Not only can cool, dry weather cause nails to get extra brittle, but the extreme swings in temperature from going outdoors to indoors can cause nail cells to contract and expand repetitively, resulting in a weakening between the cells, leading to breakage. So, it might be a good idea to wear gloves in the winter after moisturising your hand and nails.