Whether your nail care is a form of self-care, an indulgence, or just routine maintenance, keeping your nails in tip-top shape is a worthwhile investment. Here are some tips to keeping your nails longer and stronger.
Moisturize Your Nails
Moisturizing 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 every nail care routine. When applying hand lotion, give your nails a little extra attention.
Avoid Contact with Water
You know how soft and bendy nails get after a long bath? The nail is like a sponge. It is 1,000 times more absorptive of water than the skin. Excessive water exposure can put significant strain on delicate nail cells, which can lead to brittleness, peeling, and breakage. Don’t avoid washing your hands, but do pay attention to your nail exposure to water.
The best nail care is gentle care. You should resist the urge to use your nails as replacement tools—no matter how convenient it may be. When indulging in an acrylic or gel manicure, proper removal is important. When you peel those nails off, you’re really peeling layers of the nail, the nail plate, and that’s going to weaken your nails. Always consult a professional on the best way to remove acrylic and gel manicures.
Treat Your Nails Like You Treat Your Hair
Hair and nails are both composed of keratin proteins, so many of the same rules for treatment apply. Both can 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. Just as hydration can help repair hair issues such as frizz and split ends, it can help improve dry and brittle nails. Like you would condition your hair with a leave-in or rich conditioner, you should condition your cuticles as well 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 extreme swings in temperature from going outdoors to indoors can cause additional damage. The shift from a heated home or office to the chilly open air can cause nail cells to contract and expand repetitively, resulting in a weakening between the cells, leading to breakage. It’s smart to always wear gloves in the winter and frequently moisturize your skin and nails.
Rethink Your Products
Nail files: Instead of those old-as-time emery boards, opt for a glass or crystal nail file. Traditional emery boards create microscopic tears in the nail that lead to splits and peeling.
Nail polish remover: In the best-case scenario, you would avoid nail polish remover altogether, but since most of us aren’t going to entirely give up the joy of a nice manicure, it’s better to instead use non-acetone removers that contain hydrating oils and ingredients.
Nail brush: Instead of digging under your nails with a filer, use a gentle nail brush to clean out dirt. Or you can use an extra toothbrush you have lying around.
Be patient with Nail Growth
If you’re a chronic nail-biter, you know the victory of finally growing your nails out past your fingertips. Healthy habits plus patience pay off in nail care, but the primary focus should be on figuring out how to strengthen your nails, not solving the puzzle of how to grow nails fast. Stronger nails can lead to longer nails if you practice good nail care, but it all takes time. If you battle brittle nails and constant breakage, it’s smart to keep your nails clipped short until they regain strength; then they’ll have the foundation they need to grow longer.
To schedule your next manicure/pedicure appointment please call (910) 484-9922.