There’s a certain kind of power to having strong, healthy natural nails. It’s one of those confidence boosters, albeit less visible, like wearing your favorite fancy underwear for no reason or splurging on cute socks to wear under your boots.
Healthy nails, especially as a result of good nail care, is in itself an achievement for most women. Nail care is an investment that most people take as a form of self-care, a luxury, or just routine maintenance and upkeep. There are even some who express themselves through their nails.
Whatever the reason may be, one thing is clear: healthy nails require a sizable investment of one’s time, not money. Most people often forget that they don’t have to visit the salon regularly in order to have beautiful nails.
Healthy nails may be achieved even in the comforts of one’s home. Addressing the need for a simple, consistent nail care home routine, here are some tips to help you achieve and flaunt those natural nails.
1. Cleanse Before Anything Else
Nail care, just like skincare, should begin with a thorough cleansing. Keep your fingernails clean by washing your hands and nails thoroughly with soap to prevent bacteria from growing under your nails. It is also essential to let them dry afterward before proceeding to the next step.
Daily activities that require repeated or prolonged contact with water like dishwashing, sanitizing, and handwashing can actually dry out the skin and nail bed. They strip out the natural oils and weaken your nail structure, leaving your nails and cuticles prone to breakage, peeling, splitting, and cracking.
Use lotion or hand cream after washing your hands, and make sure to get your fingernails and cuticles, too. More often than not, dry, brittle nails are usually a cry for moisture, so give them a little extra attention in your routine. The cuticle, which is a naturally tough piece of skin, is also prone to drying out and cracking when it isn’t well-moisturized. Make sure you don’t overlook these parts the next time you apply hand lotion.
3. Reconsider The Length Of Your Nails
If you’ve ever had long nails, then you know how bothersome they can get. They may start cracking along the edges at first until they ultimately break. Not only are these broken nails annoying, but they can also be painful.
If you’re a person who has an active daily routine, you can prevent breakage by keeping your nails well-trimmed. Keep your nails to a length they can withstand. There’s no need for you to grow them out longer if you can trim and shape them weekly. Reconsidering the length of your nails can also help make them look flawless without the cracks and brittleness along the edges. Plus, there are no more painful broken nails to keep you from doing your dishes and some chores on the side.
You can use a nail clipper with a sharp edge to trim and shape your nails to your liking. Clip your nail three or four times, following its natural curve instead of just clipping it all at once. If you use a nail file, avoid moving it back and forth over the tip of the nail. This saw-like motion will create a frayed, uneven edge. You can instead file the nail in one direction using long, smooth motions to get that nice-looking edge.
4. Leave Your Cuticles Alone
Your cuticles protect nail growth from bacteria and infection. It’s basically the nail’s natural protective seal, so it’s important to keep them intact. Avoid cutting, pushing it back, or getting rid of it altogether because this may actually do more harm than good.
You can work your way around by carefully trimming any hangnails or loose skin around the sides of your nail, then rubbing on a bit of cuticle oil to keep everything nice and smooth. You can also use olive, almond, or coconut oil and put it around your cuticles before bed to keep them moisturized overnight. Remember, your cuticles are critical for nail health, and looking after them can significantly protect and strengthen your natural nails.
5. Paint Your Nails (Or Don’t!)
Standard nail polish often contains some seriously toxic chemicals such as toluene, camphor, dibutyl phthalate, dimethyl and diethyl phthalates, and formaldehyde. Fortunately, there are some polishes in the market that do not contain these chemicals, so make sure to read and inspect the label carefully before purchasing. Alternatively, you can opt for water-based polishes, which don’t last as long but are the safest option out there.
6. Eat Healthy, Drink Plenty
What you take in internally will always surface externally. Eating healthy is essential to maintaining healthy nails because as your body builds, nutrient-rich blood flows to your nails and nail bed. So, the secret to strong, healthy, and supple nails—a well-balanced diet.
Eating foods with selenium prevents whitened nail beds, while biotin reduces brittleness. Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial, so are proteins and calcium. You can get all these from a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, legumes, and nuts. More importantly, drink plenty of water to always keep yourself hydrated.
Healthy habits paired with patience and consistency will definitely pay off in nail care. Once you stop neglecting your nails and pay them a little more attention, you’ll start to see the difference in a month or two as your nails grow out.
Sure, pretty colorful nails might be nice, but nothing beats strong, healthy natural nails. The latter may require work and some of your time, but it’s an investment that will surely yield you a favorable result. Who knows, you might even acquire a skill or two while working on those natural nails.