Taking care of your nails is just as important as taking care of your skin. A healthy set of nails reflects the health and youth of the person. Whether you like to decorate them with crazy, funky designs or prefer keeping them simple and classy, it’s important to get the basics right.
A manicure is all well and good, but there are things that you can and must do yourself on the daily, at home, that will help in keeping them in the best possible condition. Here are 12 tips and tricks for nail care that will help to keep them healthy and looking on point:
1. Keep Them Clean & Dry
Keeping your nails clean and dry is the key to keeping them healthy and beautiful. An unclean nail is the ideal breeding ground for things like bacteria and germs, so make sure to minimize that possibility at all times. Soak your nails in a little water (not for long), and scrub with a soft toothbrush using a little salt underneath them.
2. Protect Them
If you’re using your hands to work on something that could potentially be harmful to them, always make sure to wear gloves. For example, you’ll need to protect them while doing things like washing dishes, gardening, etc. Substances like sand and dish soap, although not harmful to your hand, can get under your nails and that’s not good!
3. Don’t Bite Them
Our mothers have been telling us this since the dawn of time, but it’s not just bad manners, it’s unhygienic too. Biting your nails will leave them all damaged, weak, and ragged. Not only this, you are also at the risk of getting sick, as any germs in your fingers could be transferred to your mouth. A good way to keep yourself from impulsively biting your nails is to use a bitter-tasting formula on them – just until you get used to it.
4. Your Nail Isn’t a Tool
How many of us have broken a nail while using them to do something that we already know we shouldn’t, like opening a can, or scratching an itch? Your nail is not a tool, so get the appropriate equipment for it! Not only can it snap, which is quite painful, you are also presenting more opportunities for germs to get under them.
5. Appropriate Footwear
It’s not just the fingernails we should be worried about. When it comes to toe nail care, one of the most important things is to make sure you have the right footwear for the right occasion. For example, wear closed shoes when doing things that could cause your feet to get dirty, but in wet places like the pool, you must wear flip flops because it prevents the growth of fungus. Also, always make sure to wear the right sized footwear, because your nails could get squished and break otherwise.
6. Trim Them Regularly
With both, fingernails, and toenails, it’s important to trim them regularly, at least once in two weeks. This will get rid of the weakest part of them, help them grow, and keep them from getting too long (which can cause injury). And make sure to finish your trim by using an emery board to file away the rough edges!
7. Cuticles Are Cute
The cuticles are there for a very important reason. They seal the base of the nail and protect it against injury and infection, so removing them can cause more harm than good. If you absolutely must remove them, then nail care experts suggest applying a bit of oil or cuticle remover on them (not water), gently pushing them back using an orange stick, and wiping with a soft tissue.
8. Polish It Up
When applying nail polish on, don’t skip the base and top coat. The base coat will help protect your nails from getting damaged and/or stained. The top coat helps protect the actual nail polish and makes it last longer. You can even reapply the top coat every couple days to help your manicure stay on longer. Both of these coats will definitely make your nails look a lot better!
Another thing to consider with nail polish is to buy the right brands. Choose those with natural and chemical-free ingredients, and stay away from the ones filled with paraben and sulfate!
9. Oil-Based Manicures Are Best
When choosing the kind of manicure to go for, try and avoid gel, acrylic, or water-based ones. The problem with the first two is that the process involves the use of a UV light that is harmful to the skin. With water-based manicures, it’s less about health and more about effect. Water makes your nails expand; when they dry, they shrink back, causing your fresh nail polish to crack and chip. Considering all this, an oil-based manicure would be the best choice.
10. Carefully Remove Polish
Never try and scrape back your nail paint, as nothing could be more damaging to your nails! Also, use nail polish remover tissues instead of cotton balls. When picking the brand of remover, try and pick one that has the least amount of chemicals and is sustainable.
11. Go Nude
If you’re someone that loves painting bright colors and cool designs on your nails, that’s great! But going from one bright color to the next constantly without a break can wear your nails out. They can become dry, get stained or become weak and brittle. So, save your crazy cool nails for the weekend or a special occasion and go with a nude gloss during the week to give your nails a much needed break.
12. Eat Healthy Foods
Just as with anything else in our body, our nails are also affected by what we choose to put inside of it. A good diet is key to maintaining healthy nails. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, magnesium, iron, zinc, Vitamin E & D are particularly good for them. So you should be eating plenty of foods like green vegetables, nuts, beans, lentils, beetroots, whole grains etc.