Fingernails. How much thought do you give them? If it only goes as far as what colour to paint them, you’re missing out on a whole lot of nail beautifying action. After all, if you don’t have healthy nails, even the best manicure won’t look its best. If your nails are weak, flaky and prone to splitting, it’s time to start giving them some much-needed TLC. Here’s how:
Adopt a nail-friendly diet
You are what you eat, so it makes sense to start with making sure you’re fueling yourself with good stuff that will do you good from the inside out. Eggs, oily meat, fish, nuts, pulses, leafy vegetables, avocado, fruit and dairy should all be part of a balanced diet that isn’t only good for your health, but good for your nails. Also, keep hydrated with plenty of water and you’ll be on your way to strong, moisturised nails in no time.
Keep it clean
You wash your skin on a daily basis, so why not your nails too? Our hands go through a lot every day, so it’s no wonder our nails can end up looking a little grubby and worse for wear. Ensure you remove any dirt or old polish thoroughly, yet gently – use soap on a soft toothbrush and an acetone-free remover (we like OPI None Acetone Polish Remover) then make sure you dry them properly. Leaving your nails to soak will only make them drier, so wear gloves if you’re doing the washing up.
Treat them right
If your goal is to work out how to strengthen your nails or how to grow your nails, listen up – you’ve got to start treating your nails right. If you want a product that does both, try Nail Magic. It turns weak, damaged nails that would rather break than grow into Rihanna-esque talons into healthy, flexible nails to be proud of. Oh, and it doubles up as a basecoat and topcoat, too. If you really want to target a problem, however, bring in the big guns. If your nails are so bendy you’d struggle to pick the sticker off an apple with them, you need to harden them – fast. Mavala’s Scientifique K+ Nail Hardener instantly penetrates and hardens the nail by strengthening the natural keratin bonds. If you’re mostly focused on how to grow nails faster, help’s at hand in the form of Mavala’s Mavaderma. Enriched with protein and vitamins, this oil boosts circulation to the nail which, in turn, stimulates growth.
Not just for hair – you need to keep your nails and cuticles conditioned to improve their flexibility and moisture retention. The best way to do this is by using a cuticle oil, such as OPI Pro Spa Nail & Cuticle Oil before locking in the hydration with Decleor’s Hand & Nail Cream.
Don’t remove your cuticles
They’re there for a reason! This is where your skin ends and the outside world begins, so they’re designed to defend against bacteria. It’s much better to soften them up with an oil, cream or a so-called ‘cuticle remover’ (like Naillux Erase Cuticle Remover) before pushing them back – gently – with an orange stick.
Perfect your filing game
You’ve heard the advice before – always file in the same direction – but are you actually doing it? You’ll get a smoother finish and you’ll create less stress for the nail edge, meaning less damage over time. Also, if you always keep an emery board handy, you can sort out any snags or rough bits on the go – stopping damage in its tracks.
Always use a base and top coat
This isn’t just an annoying step to slow down your manicure. A good base coat protects and conditions your nails alongside protecting them from staining and helping polish adherence, while a top coat helps prevent chipping, meaning you can leave your nails alone for longer. Use one of the nail treatments mentioned above, or try OPI’s Base Coat and Seche Vite’s Dry Fast Top Coat.
Go easy on the gels and acrylics
Go au naturel as much as you can – they really do damage the surface of your nails, however good they look at the time. Keep them for holidays or special occasions – if you can resist…
There you have it: if you need a helping hand to get your nails looking healthy and beautiful, these are the eight tips to follow. Enviable talons will be yours, guaranteed.