Having beautiful nails can really make a big difference in improving your look. But how do you know if you have healthy nails?
A Must-Read: How to Cut Toenails if You Can’t Reach Them
Clean, attractive, and beautiful nails are certainly something desirable. This is achievable with nail polish. They come in many different styles, colors, and shades that’ll surely attract attention.
But with sensitive nails, how exactly do you achieve this?
First off, let’s have a quick discussion on basic nail care.
Taking good care of your nails involves getting proper nourishment. This means avoiding excessive contact with damaging chemicals and taking due care while working.
Since our nails are part of our hands, it is also exposed to things that we handle every day. This can range from your dishwashing soap, your nail polish, and mechanical contact.
Household chores can be damaging to your nails because many of the solvents and cleaners that are used are not meant for your skin or nails.
It is a good practice to wear gloves while you are doing household chores, particularly when you are handling suspect material.
That is why you have to make an effort to keep your nails strong if you don’t want them ending up with dry, sensitive, and brittle.
So how can you ensure beautiful, healthy nails? Here are some effective solutions:
Massage is always the best solution to promote circulation in the area.
Give your hand the pampering that it needs by regularly giving it a massage.
To improve the strength of your nails, you can also focus your massages on the cuticle and the nail itself. Stimulate blood flow. This will result in oxygen and minerals being delivered to the area.
The main purpose of the cuticle is to protect the nail bed from swelling and infections. The proper way to remove cuticles is by first applying some cuticle lotion to soften the cuticles then soaking your fingernails or toenails in warm water. Using a cuticle remover, gently push the cuticles back.
Once this is done the pushed back cuticle will be raised over the nail bed. This is what we call the excess cuticle.
Use a nail clipper to cut the excess cuticle. Do not remove or pull the cuticles to try to forcefully remove the cuticles. Should you do this, you leave your nail bed exposed and susceptible to infections and inflammation.
After cutting off the excess cuticle, apply cuticle lotion or hand lotion so as to keep your nails and cuticles soft and moisturized. Once you develop their shape, apply cuticle remover at the bottom side of the nails.
Nail polish may certainly give that character to your nails, but you should also know that having them on for too long can result in eventual damage.
This can rob the nail from its shine especially if you choose brands that contain harsh chemicals such as formaldehyde or toluene sulphonamide.
Put a light coat instead and apply on some nail hardeners. If you have to wear nail polish, you are only allowed to change them up to twice a month to protect your nails from exposure to nail polish removers.
Avoid those that contain acetone.
Just like the skin needs lots of water to stay hydrated and moisturized, so do your nails. Hydration benefits us in a lot of ways, and getting strong nails is one of them.
First, it eliminates toxic materials from your body that compromises your immune system. These toxins eventually weaken your body, which will also manifest on your
Second, it improves the amount of moisture going to your nails.
Constantly hydrating your system can adequately hydrate your nails, too.
So it’s very important to take at least 1 liter of water a day but the recommended quantity is 2 liters or 8 glasses.
To keep your nails moisturized, invest in a cuticle cream or softener. Use it every time after using water to clean or do other chores.
Also, make sure you apply some lotion or hand cream before going to bed.
Dry, brittle, and sensitive nails can be a sign of certain vitamin deficiencies or conditions. If your nails easily chip, chances are you could be suffering from deficiencies in iron, protein, vitamin C, and folic acid.
This could also be an indicator of thyroid or kidney problems. So for the right relief, it is best that you seek the help of a physician so that you can be prescribed the right medications or supplements.
Just like you need to eat right for good hair and skin, you also need to eat right for healthy nails. Luckily, most foods needed for good nail nutrition are things that we eat on a daily basis.
These include apples, cucumbers, eggs, garlic, grapes, nuts, onions, soy, salmon and whole grains.
A diet rich in Vitamin A, Calcium and Phosphorous will help prevent your nails from being dry and brittle.
Foods rich in Vitamin A include apricots, carrots cheese, and broccoli. Foods rich in calcium include milk, yogurt, cheese & almonds. Carrot juice is rich in calcium and Phosphorous.
Hangnails are small strips of skin that separate from the cuticles. To prevent hangnails, take foods rich in protein, folic acid, and vitamin C.
Spirulina and kelp are very good diet supplements that help make your nails healthy and strong.
A diet rich in Vitamin B 12, which is found in foods such as eggs, fish, liver, beef, oysters, can prevent your nails from dryness, rounded nails, curved nails, and darkening of nails.
Overall, a diet rich in fruits and raw vegetables will result in very strong healthy nails since these foods are rich in Vitamins and minerals essential for your nail growth and overall health.
Just as olive oil
To prevent brittle nails, heat ¼ cup of olive oil and then let it cool down to a point where it becomes warm, then break a vitamin E capsule into it.
Rub this mixture onto your nails and leave it on for a couple of minutes. This will help moisturize the nails, keep it strong, flexible, and nourish it.
By doing this every day for a month, you can certainly notice an improvement in your nails, most especially if you are fond of getting a manicure or a pedicure.
File Your Nails
The manner in how you file your nails to shape them can also affect the strength of your nails.
Avoid doing it in a back and forth motion, but rather do it in one direction only.
Unlike cutting your nails which is best done after showers, this is not applicable to filing because doing so when the nails are at their weakest exposes it to break easily.
I know how much better nails look in gels, acrylics, and stick on’s; but what you may not know is how badly they damage your nail plate.
I’m not saying don’t ever put them on. All I’m saying is don’t make a habit of it. Once in awhile is not too bad.
The best way to keep your nails healthy is by keeping them natural.
Artificial nails contain chemicals and glue that could cause fungal infection on your nails.
The methacrylic acid used during the application of acrylic is corrosive and so if used in excess it can seep through the nail plate and cause damage to the nail bed. Avoid polishing your nails throughout. Leave them without polish for at least one full week in a month so as to avoid discoloration.
Avoid nail polish removers that contain acetone or formaldehyde. It’s better to use a polish remover that contains acetate.
While removing nail polish, use as little polish remover as possible and then wash your nails thoroughly with soap and water to remove all traces of both the polish and remover.
Clean & Short
Long nails may have been fashionable in the ’80s and early ’90s but that has changed and short nails are now trendy.
However, some like their nails long and polished. Long nails are hard to keep clean as they conceal a lot of dirt beneath them and they are also prone to breakage.
I’m an African woman and I find it totally ridiculous for an African woman to have long nails because we, at one point or another, have to do some household chores no matter how subtle.
Very long nails make it harder for carrying out tasks; be it household or otherwise. So keep your nails short and clean.
It’s classy, professional & trendy.
First, remove all traces of the existing polish from your nails. Apply a base coat first.
After this, apply two coats of the nail enamel. Make a few large strokes rather than several small strokes.
1. If you are already wearing a polish or not, before you apply nail polish, always remove the excess oils from your nails with nail polish remover.
2. To avoid cotton ball fuzzies stuck to your nails, use a makeup sponge with polish remover.
3. To avoid yellowing nails after your polish is removed; try buffing the tops of your nails. This will also smooth out the roughness of your nails.
4. Always, always, always use a base coat! This also will help eliminate the discoloration of your nails.
5. Water-based nail enamels, hypoallergenic, and unscented nail products are available if you have sensitive skin.
6. Choose a shade that enhances your skin tone.
7. Instead of shaking your polish, roll the bottle in the palm of your hand, your nail polish will last longer!
8. Don’t put too much polish on the brush.
9. When painting your nails, apply the polish to the tips of your nails and slightly underneath the tip of your nails.
10. Fast-drying enamels are fabulous, but they also chip faster!
11. Nail polish takes a full hour to completely dry without smudging.
12. Once your nails have dried enough, usually 10 minutes, add a topcoat.
13. To keep your nails looking glossy, apply a new coat every other day.
By following the above tips and making an effort to have healthy and beautiful nails, you will have better-looking hands.
You might also want to consider getting a hand massage. This will help boost circulation, encourage nail growth, and best of all pamper you, your hands, and your fingernails!