I know I’m not the only one who smiles from ear to ear when my nails are freshly painted. It’s an instant mood booster! It’s important to care for our nails not just for the looks, but for health. Here are 4 ways to to care for your nails.
Apply Cuticle Oil
Nails are porous; meaning they are like sponges and have the ability to absorb. They are constantly taking in water while we do things like washing our hands, doing dishes, taking a shower, etc. In addition to water, applying cuticle oil is very beneficial to the health of our nails.
1. Helps with flexibility
Applying cuticle oil regularly moisturizes our nails and encourages them to be more flexible. Increased flexibility means less cracks, breaks, and chips. When our nails are more flexible, polish can last longer because the nail plate is more hydrated.
2. Prevents hangnails
Not only are hangnails unsightly, they can become an entry point for unwanted bacteria and infection. The main cause of hangnails is…you guessed it, DRYNESS. Cuticle oil isn’t just for moisturizing cuticles, rub that goodness on the skin surrounding the nail. Rub it on the hands, too!
Other factors that can contribute to hangnails are (but not limited to): harsh chemicals, biting your nails and cold weather. Wear gloves when necessary and moisturize as much as you can.
3. Keeps cuticles soft
When it comes to pushing back cuticles, it’s much easier to do so when they are soft. Applying cuticle oil daily keeps them conditioned, which prevents them from getting hard and adhering to the nail. A lot more force is needed when treating severely dry cuticles and this can lead to damage of the nail plate.
Shape Your Nails
Keeping your nails shaped can enhance their appearance, but more importantly keep them from breaking. Weaker nails benefit from a shorter length and rounder shape, while stronger nails can manage with a longer length and a variety of shapes (almond, square, coffin, etc).
Regardless of length and shape, the ends of our natural nails are the oldest part of our nail. Which means it is naturally weaker and can be more prone to chipping and breaking. Use a nail file for natural nails (180-220 grit) and lightly file the ends of the nails to help with strength. You can do this weekly without harming a polish or light-cured polish application.
Ideal for weaker nails:
Length: Short, medium
Shape: Round, oval, soft square (square with rounded corners)
Ideal for stronger nails:
Length: Medium, long
Shape: Round, oval, square, almond, coffin, stiletto
Keep Nails Coated
Applying a coat of strengthener, polish, or gel is a great way to add a layer of protection to the natural nail. This is especially beneficial for weaker nails that want to break, split, or crack easily. It’s incredible to think about how much our hands and nails do every single day; the work is endless! Even if your nails are blessed with strength, it doesn’t hurt to keep a thin coat of polish on to truly enhance their resiliency.
In addition to adding protection, nail strengtheners are filled with proteins, calcium, vitamins, and oils to nourish the nails with vital nutrients. Depending on the product, the application can vary from applying twice daily or every other day for a certain amount of time. Some of these products can also double as a base/top coat in combination with a polish application.
DIY Brown Sugar/Olive Oil Scrub
Dead skin has a way of piling up and dulling our skin’s radiance, fast. Try this easy exfoliating treatment on your hands and nails by using a couple of ingredients you probably have in your kitchen.
All you need is:
- ¼ tbsp olive oil
- ¼ tbsp brown sugar
- Mix together in a small bowl and fully cover your hands and nails in the scrub
- With circular motions, moisturize the scrub into the cuticles and the skin surrounding the nails. Work your way down each finger, back of the hand until you get to the wrist
- Repeat on other hand
- Finish with a nourishing hand cream
Be sure to do this treatment over the sink to avoid making a mess. Or take it a step further by making a bigger batch and using all over your body in the shower. Your skin will love you for it! You can do this treatment weekly or bi-weekly. For more sensitive skin, lessen the amount of sugar and do less frequently.
By exfoliating, we eliminate the dead skin that can leave our hands looking dull all while helping to soften the cuticles. When cuticles are dry they tend to adhere to the nail plate, which can make it difficult to push back and remove when it comes time for a manicure.
2. Improves Appearance
By removing dead skin cells, we expose our fresh skin underneath. This skin is vibrant, smooth, and overall has a fresh look to it. Imagine if you had a layer of dust on everything in your room. It would look grey and dull (not to mention dusty). After a deep cleaning, everything looks fresh! Dead skin cells are basically dust that we need to clean off.
3. Adds Moisture
The oil component in this scrub automatically moisturizes the skin and nails, giving it a boost of hydration. Your skin will instantly look and feel oh so soft. Going back to exfoliating, once the dead skin cells are gone, lotions and oils are able to penetrate the skin better which improves moisture absorption.
I know this seems like a lot of steps to incorporate into your routine, but once you start seeing results, it will become second nature. You’ll actually want to do it and it may even become relaxing and therapeutic! You can always multi-task and take care of those nails (and hands) while you binge watch your favorite shows.
Nail Color seen in photos: Gelish- All About The Pout