Maybe it’s lockdown boredom (or maybe it’s the wealth of nail-art trends we’re itching to try), but it seems so many of us are attempting to grow our nails longer and stronger right now.
But if you’ve ditched the acrylics and taken a much-needed break from the gels, yet your nails are still brittle and flaky, we feel your pain.
On a mission to achieve the long, resilient talons of our dreams, we’ve tried out all the hacks – and enlisted some of the best experts – to reveal exactly how to make our nails grow longer, stronger and healthier for good. Stay with us for everything you need to know..
Strong, healthy nails can be an indicator of good health, but sometimes our nails aren’t as strong as we’d like them to be.
The good news is that we can always make changes to our lifestyle and habits to help strengthen nails and get them where we’d like. Here are some tips that you can use to help strengthen your nails in no time.
1. Use A Cuticle Oil Daily
Cuticle oil works by hydrating the cuticle and nail bed, which is why it's such an important step in nail care, whether you're growing your nails or simply want them to look their best.
You don’t have to spend a lot, and it doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but using a cuticle oil will really help the condition of your nails, cuticles, and surrounding skin. There is a huge variety of different oils, some with fun and funky scents, there’s no excuse to not be using one!
2. Minimize exposure to water
Too much soaking in water can cause your nails to become weak and brittle. Wear gloves when washing dishes, and try to keep your hands out of the water while taking a bath.
It’s impossible to always avoid submerging your hands, of course, but this is something to be mindful about.
With overhydration, our nail beds expand as water is absorbed, then contract as the moisture evaporates, leaving them noticeably flimsy and prone to peeling. To keep your nails from getting soft, always wear rubber gloves when you wash dishes, and minimize time spent in hot showers and swimming pools.
3. Avoid cutting your cuticles
I know a lot of nail salons will do this, but honestly people, cutting your cuticles is a big no-no. There are so many great alternatives out there, nail and cuticle scrubs, cuticle dissolvers, you could even take a rubber orange stick and push them gently back after applying your cuticle oil. Remember – healthy cuticles lead to healthy nails. Just saying!
4. Give your nails a break from polish
Along those same lines, although nail polish looks nice, your nails need to breathe. Constant use of polish, even nontoxic polish, can weaken the nail.
After wearing nail polish for a week or so, remove the nail polish with an acetone-free polish remover, and then let your nails be polish-free for a week.
5. Avoid Acetone
Admittedly as a nail blogger/ swatcher, a life without acetone just wouldn’t work for me, it makes life far too easy. But I always remember to put the moisture back into my nails and hands after using it, as it completely saps them dry. If you switch to non-acetone polish removers your nails and skin will thank you for it.
6. Change how you file your nails
Filing in one direction, lifting the file each time on the return stroke is the best method to prevent damage or breakage. The most important thing is to choose the right grade file. If you use a very high grain file, it’s going to cause breakage, but if you use a fine grade file (like 400 to 600 grit) and do not file aggressively, you can file in a back and forth motion.
7. Always cut your nails
As much as you might love the look of long, beautifully-shaped fingernails, it’s best to avoid growing them out if you want to make them stronger. “Keep your nails shorter, as the longer they are, the easier it is for them to get traumatized,” says Dr. Jaber. Short nails are far less likely to be broken in your everyday life. As an added bonus, it’s also much easier to maintain the appearance of nails when they’re short!
Pay attention to your nails
Our nails can send lots of messages to others, and weak or brittle nails may make you self-conscious. Thankfully, there are lots of things you can do to help strengthen your nails and improve them.
If you’ve tried various remedies and nothing helps, see your doctor. There might be an underlying condition causing thin or brittle nails, and only by treating the root cause will your nails be able to become strong again.
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