If you like painting on your nails to keep your hands looking their best, getting a manicure is not the only solution for a proper nail care. You may not know it, but your nails can also get damaged because of bad manicures, bad habits, or the wear and tear of everyday life.
Fortunately, practising good hygiene and proper nail care on a daily basis can help you achieve clean and healthy-looking nails. To guide you, here’s a comprehensive article about everything you need to know when taking care of your nails.
How to Take Care of Your Nails: Your Questions Answered!
Nails consist of a hard surface which protects the tips of your fingers and toes. Having nails also help people pick up objects and grasp them firmly. Here are some other facts you may not know about your nails.
Interesting Facts About Your Nails
- Nails are made of layers of a protein called keratin—the same substance your body uses to produce hair and the top layer of your skin.
- Fingernails grow slowly at an average of 3.5 millimetres (one-tenth of an inch) per month. And it will take about four to six months to regrow your nails completely.
- Your dominant hand’s fingernails grow faster.
- The fingernails of men grow faster than women’s nails. However, women’s hormones during pregnancy affect this growth.
- Fingernails do not sweat.
- Your nails need blood to survive. This is the reason why it can fall off after an injury as the lack of oxygen and other nutrients weakens the nail.
- Nails give clues of your internal health and wellbeing. Healthy fingernails are characterized by a uniform shape, a smooth surface without pits or grooves, a perfectly even and spot-free appearance.
Unfortunately, not all nail conditions are normal. Here are the telltale signs that you have unhealthy nails.
How to Tell if You Have Unhealthy Nails?
These lines appear when you’re suffering from stress or high fever. However, it can also be a result of jamming your finger on a hard surface.
Tiny white spots typically mean you’ve been biting your nails or applying polish too often.
Peeling, or splitting nails, can be an effect of dehydration or vitamin deficiency.
Red and Swollen Skin
If you bite or remove your cuticles, you could experience swelling or pain around the skin.
Changes in Nail Shape
Have curled or spoon-shaped nails? These could all be signs of iron deficiency and anaemia.
Consult a dermatologist if you are particularly concerned and unsure about your nail health. Fortunately, many of these undesirable nail conditions can be resolved by proper nail care. Here are 17 easy yet effective ways to get healthy and beautiful nails.
16 Foolproof Tips for Healthy and Beautiful Nails
1. Wash Your Hands Regularly
The first step of taking good care of your nails is to keep the areas near it clean. It’s important to wash your hands and feet regularly with soap to prevent dirt and bacteria from accumulating under your fingernails.
2. Brush Your Nails
To further get rid of harmful bacteria, it’s also recommended you scrub your nails and skin with a toothbrush. Doing so will remove and exfoliate any dead skin you might have without the need for harsh scrubs full of chemicals.
Tip: Avoid scrubbing your nails roughly as they are delicate and can easily be exposed to infection.
3. Try a Moisturiser
Unfortunately, regular washing and brushing of hands can lead to dryness of skin and nail bed. If possible, try to use a moisturiser after every wash and make sure to work it deep into your cuticles and nails. Nutrient-rich oils such as coconut oil also work well to bring back the much-needed moisture to your skin.
4. Trim Your Nails
Even though your nails grow slowly, regular trims are essential to keep them at their optimal condition.
Use sharp manicure scissors or clippers to trim your nails straight across while rounding the tips in a gentle curve. Generally, you have to clip your nails once every two weeks but it will all depend on how fast they grow.
5. Leave Your Cuticles Alone
Do not remove or cut your cuticles as they are important in keeping your nails away from harmful bacteria and possible infections. You are also minimising the risk of having those unwanted hangnails by leaving your cuticles alone. It’s also best not to tear the former as you might rip live tissue along with it.
6. Stop Biting Your Nails
Avoid biting your nails as it can make the tips of your fingernails look uneven and misshapen. You’re also exposing them to the saliva from your mouth which overall results in weak and brittle nails. Furthermore, by putting your fingers to your mouth, you are actually transmitting the dirt and germs usually found under your nails.
Did You Know? The oral compulsive habit of biting nails is known as Onychophagia.
Tip: If you want to minimise this bad habit, you can try applying a coat of clear gel o-n your nails to make them too thick to bite through.
7. File Your Nails
File your nails slowly and gently in one direction to smooth away any rough edges without damaging your nail beds.
Sawing your nails back and forth can weaken them causing it to break prematurely. It also blunts your tips which ultimately makes it harder to create the desired shape.
8. Go Natural
While elaborate nail arts with bold colours can look pretty, opt to go natural instead as polishes can dry and weaken the structure of your nails. It’s important to give them enough time to rest and repair for stronger, healthier nails.
9. Avoid Harsh Nail Polish
Couldn’t resist getting a mani-pedi every once in a while? Fret not as you can still indulge in such.
Just make sure to avoid nail polishes with toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, and toluene, as they can make your nails brittle and split. Read the labels carefully before purchasing one.
Tip: Water-based polishes, while not that long-lasting compared to other polishes, are the safest option for your delicate nails.
10. Place Importance on Nail Health Over Length
Even though long, painted nails are absolutely stunning, you should place importance first and foremost on the health of your nails. It’s recommended to keep them short (especially if you suffer from breakage or snags) and focus on strengthening them instead. For an added benefit, shorter nails are easier to manage and look professional and neat overall.
11. Steer Away from Gel and Acrylic Manicures
Many women swear by acrylic and gel manicures (as they are convenient and long-lasting) but it’s best to steer away from them because they can cause damage to the nailbed.
For instance, acrylic nails involve the application of both liquid monomer and a powder polymer to create a hard protective layer over your natural nails. This can cause separation because your nails are meant to have flexibility. On the other hand, gel manicure requires exposure to UV light in a drying device which ultimately dries and damages the skin around the skin.
Did You Know? Gel manicures can increase your risk of cancer because it exposes your skin to harmful UV rays.
12. Pick a Good Nail Polish Remover
Like your nail polishes, removers are also harsh on your nails. When shopping for a nail polish removers, choose one with an acetone-free formula.
This 100% Natural Nail Polish Remover from luxury nail care brand Kure Bazaar can completely wipe off any varnishes minus the harmful acetone and foul odour.
13. Use Gloves When Doing Dirty Work
Washing the dishes, cleaning the home with harsh chemicals, or gardening can all be harmful to your nails. Always use gloves when doing anything that involves soaking and dirtying your hands. You should also wear a pair of mittens when it gets chilly outside as the cold winds can result in dry and flaky skin.
14. Try Various Nail-Strengthening Treatments
You can try natural conditioning treatments to strengthen your nails. Conditioners such as nourishing nail oils can hydrate and nourish your brittle nails which ultimately makes them healthy and strong.
15. Eat a Healthy Diet
The secret to maintaining strong and beautiful nails is having a consistent, healthy diet. Make sure to eat foods rich in protein (for clarity and shine), zinc (to eliminate white spots), calcium (for strength), and vitamins A and C (to prevent dullness).
16. Drink Water Regularly
If you have nails that constantly break and peel, you might be suffering from dehydration. Combat these unfavourable conditions by drinking 8-10 cups of water every day. This will ultimately help promote nail growth.
These tips provide an overview of prepping your nails to be strong and healthy for your manicure session. If you want to achieve beautifully manicured nails, follow these general rules on what to do and not to do when painting your own nails.
Nail Care: Dos and Don’ts When Painting Your Own Nails
- Don’t Shake Your Nail Polish Do Roll It When Mixing – Have a nail polish that sat for far too long on your vanity? You might be tempted to shake it in order to fix the separated formula. However, avoid doing so because it can show up as tiny bubbles on your nails when you paint them. Instead, roll the nail polish bottle between your hands to properly mix the formula.
- Don’t Apply Polish to Wet or Oily Nails, Do Keep Your Hand Dry Before Applying Polish – Now that you know how essential hydration is to have healthy nails, you might think that applying polish over wet and oily nail beds is perfectly fine. In fact, the opposite is actually true. You should keep your hand dry as much as possible for a long-lasting manicure.
- Don’t Paint Your Nails With Thick Coats of Polish, Do Apply Thin Layers for a Smooth Finish – Coating on thick layers of polish results in an uneven and bubbly finished look. In addition, you’ll be wasting a lot of your time by waiting for the polish to dry and fully harden. As such, you should stick to two coats maximum for a smooth, professional and long-lasting manicured nails.
- Don’t Forget to Apply a Base Coat, Do Finish with a Top Coat – Doing so can protect your nails from hard-to-remove stains and can even intensify the colour of the polish with just one coat. Likewise, you should finish the look with a top coat. Adding this will give your nails a glossy finish and even minimise chipping to help you get the most out of your manicure. After all, who wants their perfectly-painted nails to peel away so quickly?
- Don’t Use Cotton Balls, Do Remove Nail Paint with a Fuzz-Free Paper Towel – Cotton balls are probably your go-to material (besides the nail polish remover, of course!) for removing the paint on your nails. However, this material eaves fuzz which can stick to your nail s and ruin it. Use a paper towel instead because they don’t leave behind fuzz.
It’s easy to neglect the health of your nails if you can paint on them for an instant glow-up. However, following some general nail care rules can help you achieve a better base for your bold-coloured nail polishes.
Keep yourself looking your best by reading more beauty tips found on our lifestyle magazine.
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