Fingernails: You’re not likely to think much about ‘em unless you’re picking out a polish, right?  Yet it seems as if many of us are attempting to grow our nails longer and stronger during the lockdown. 

So, if you’ve ditched the acrylics and taken a much-needed break from the gels, but still have brittle and flaky nails, we feel your pain. Thing is, whether you’re the type of person who religiously paints her nails as a form of self-care, or someone who’s constantly biting and picking at their cuticles; we all yearn for healthy, perfectly manicured nails.

There’s a special kind of power in having healthy, strong nails, whether you work the nail colours or go polish-free. It’s a confidence booster, like wearing fancy underwear or a great new haircut. The good news is that healthy nails require an investment of time, not money.

We have expert advice on how to get your nails in tip-top shape:

  • Moisturize them. Treat your nails like you treat your hair. Hair and nails are both composed of keratin protein, so it makes sense that many of the same rules apply. Hydration is the foundation – condition your cuticles to promote healthy nails. Use a nail oil every day to keep your nails nourished and hydrated. And, when applying hand lotion, give your nails some love too. Also, when cooking with coconut oil or olive oil, don’t forget to rub some into your cuticles.
  • Leave your cuticles alone. The cuticle is the nail’s natural protective seal. Messing with your cuticles can do far more harm than good, even if a nail technician is doing the handywork. A compromised cuticle can leave the nails vulnerable and at risk of infection.
  • Be gentle. Wear cotton-lined gloves when washing dishes, cleaning, or using harsh chemicals. Excessive water can put significant strain on delicate nail cells which can lead to brittleness, peeling and breakage. Don’t dig underneath your nail with a nail file. It can separate the nail plate from the underlying bed which might cause a bacterial infection. Also, your nails are like jewels, don’t use them as tools.
  • Follow a nail-loving diet. Nutrients rich in salmon, chicken, eggs, coconut oil and green vegetables are great for keeping nails healthy. Take it to the next level by adding foods that encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria such as kefir, miso or live yogurt. Talk to your GP about adding a biotin supplement to your daily regime.
  • Switch to a non-acetone nail polish remover. There are heaps of gentle, yet effective formulas out there with the muscle to whip off nail polish in seconds.
  • Nail your filing technique. File straight across, then round the tips gently. Always use the file in one direction.
  • Never peel or pick at an acrylic or gel manicure. This type of manicure should be done sparingly and should be removed by professionals. When you peel them off, you’re actually peeling off layers of the nail.

That’s it! The best route to stronger, longer nails is mostly through simple lifestyle habits.

Life is not perfect right now, but your nails can be.

Source: elle.com, womanshealthmag.com, cosmopolitan.com, mayoclinic.org, realsimple.com, peoplemagazine.co.za, goodhousekeeping.com

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.