Image by Julia Diogo
With our saved folders brimming with nail art pictures and #nailinspo saved for our nails technicians, we have never been so obsessed with how our nails look, but how about how they feel? Without breaks and taking the time to nurture our nails, we may be damaging and weakening them without even realising. Thin, brittle, dry or splitting? Or do you find that your nails are dotted with white spots, have horizontal grooves or have skin swollen around your nails?
These are all signs that your nails (and cuticles) need some TLC. That may come in the form of supplements, taking longer breaks between nail appointments or booking in with your medical expert (as it can also be a sign of iron deficiency or anaemia). Remember, self-care and luxury goes much further than pretty nails; it also means taking care of every part of you, including your nailbeds. Strong and healthy nails are the priority whether you are a die-hard acrylics fan, live for your gels or stand by a perfectly polished manicure.
There are a plethora of ways and methods that you can introduce to help strengthen your nails, but these are just 3 to try to lengthen, strengthen and maintain healthy nails:
Consider cuticle oil
We wouldn’t go weeks without oiling our scalps (I hope!), so why do we neglect our nail conditioning? Between the regular use of hand sanitiser, constant washing and daily life tasks, our hands and nails can go through it. Taking a few minutes once a day or a couple of times a week to apply cuticle oil is the little self-care task you’ll want to thank us for later.
Pro tip: Some of the best cuticle oils are heavily formulated with hydrating fruit and nut oils like jojoba oil and sweet almond oil. But, look out for vitamin-enriched cuticle oils, especially vitamin E and B, with natural conditioning properties; they’ll help keep both cuticles and nails strong.
Invest in your vitamins
Excellent health starts from within; that doesn’t just mean your skin. Your nails could also lack the vital nutrients needed for stronger and healthier nails, and supplements might be missing from your line-up. Biotin has proven studies showcasing the benefits for both your hair and nails. If you find that your nails are brittle or constantly peeling and breaking, biotin helps to strengthen your nails by increasing their thickness by 25%. Other beneficial vitamins to consider are vitamin E and fish oils. Whether you introduce that in your diet with rich foods like beans, fish and nuts or in supplement form, once you commit to a regular and recommended intake, your benefits will be healthy, strong tips.
Pay attention to the tools
While breaks between nail sessions are recommended, we know some of us deem our manicures as part of our self-care, time to switch off and enjoy treating ourselves. So, if you don’t want to take a break but still want healthy and happy nails, then pay attention to the tools that your nail technician uses. Upgrade the polish to chemical-free options, use acetone-free gel nail polish remover or even use a glass file or ‘soft’ file with gentle, swift and long strokes to avoid nail splitting. The art is in the technique, and your nail techs must have your nails’ best interest at heart. If we’re freeing our nails from constantly facing unnecessary chemicals and toxins and taking a kinder approach with our manicures, we can guarantee it won’t compromise our nail health.
Pro tip: Consider applying SPF to your nails before and after your nail appointment to avoid UV exposure from the gel lamps. Yes, they speed up the drying time, but the UV light also exposes our skin to premature ageing.
There are no set rules for improving the health of your nails, but I can guarantee by investing the same time and energy that we do with other sections of our beauty routines, you’ll be saying hello to healthy nails in no time.