So, you’ve made the commitment to stop biting your nails – congratulations! Now you’re going to want to make sure that your newly rejuvenated nails stay healthy and in good repair. Unfortunately, even the healthiest nails can be prone to problems, so you need to know how to keep them in good shape. Here’s how it’s done.
Fix a Rip
Here’s where nail glue is your best friend. It’s not just for attaching fakes! If you have a ripped nail and you want to stop it from breaking off completely, use the fingers of your other hand to pull the nail up, very gently, at the point where it’s torn. Then, use a toothpick to deposit a very small drop of glue underneath. Press the two sides together and hold for about a minute. Now, use your nail file or emery board to smooth off excess glue. Voila! All better.
Protect Weak Nails
You’ve seen all the paint-on products out there that claim to harden your nails, but the reality is that nothing you spread on your nails is ever going to make them stronger. In fact, a lot of those supposed strengtheners actually work a little too well – they contain formaldehyde, which will harden your nails. It will harden them to the point where they become brittle, and even more likely to break. Your best bet for protecting weak nails is to take an oral vitamin supplement that contains biotin – it’s proven to help maintain healthy nails.
Prevent Peeling and Splitting
Your nails grow from the cuticle to the tip, and if you push them in the wrong direction, you’ll create fissures that result in peeling and splitting. So, when you’re looking after your nails, file in only one direction, and try to avoid maneuvers that cause your nail to press down on the tip. Keep the nails moist – the best way to do this is apply a moisturizer after you bathe or shower, while your skin is still damp. Rub it into your nails and underneath as well. The best lotions contain alpha hydroxyl acids.
Soak in Olive Oil
If your nails are think or weak, soak them in olive oil for ten to fifteen minutes every day.
Use Cuticle Cream
If your nails are brittle and your cuticles are dry, invest in a good cuticle cream. The best ones contain vitamin E. Massage it into your nails every night before you go to bed.
How often do you see a television ad for dishwashing liquid that claims to soften your hands? There’s the happy, smiling lady soaking her beautiful hands in dishwater. They use models for that! It’s not real! The reality is that any dish soap is going to dry your hands and cause your nails to peel and split, so wear rubber gloves. Also, wear gloves when you’re gardening or doing anything else that’s going to cause your nails to come in contact with anything abrasive.
A diet rich in biotin will thicken and strengthen your nails. Biotin is found in cooked eggs, liver, avocado, cauliflower and whole grains. If you’re not getting enough of these foods, you can always take a biotin supplement.
Treat Your Nails Gently
Your nails are not tools. Don’t use them to open that can of beer that you desperately need at the end of a hard day’s work. Anything at all that causes impact to your nails is going to increase the risk of cracking, peeling and splitting.
Minimize Your Use of Nail Polish Remover
Of course, you want a beautiful manicure, but constant use of nail polish remover can be very damaging. If you can, touch up your manicure instead of completely re-doing it. And when you must use nail polish remover, avoid the ones that contain acetone – it’s very drying and can cause a lot of damage to otherwise healthy nails.
Give Your Nails a Massage
Massaging our nails increases blood flow and promotes healthy growth. Use a good lotion, and massage your nails and cuticles. And always apply lotion after washing your hands.
You know that water is good for your skin, but did you know that it also works wonders for your nails? Drink up!
You Are What You Eat
These are words to live by. You can greatly improve the health of your nails by following a good diet.
Go nuts for nuts – walnuts and almonds are chock-full of omega-3 fatty acids, which not only protect your heart and improve your brain function, but also improve your nails and keep them from splitting. Just a handful in a salad or stir-fry, or added to your morning cereal can give you a huge nutritional boost that will benefit your nails in a large way.
Make sure, too, to include iron in your diet. It’s essential for healthy nails, and you can find it in whole grains, eggs, dark leafy vegetables, meats and legumes.
You also want to make sure that you’re getting enough protein. Your nails are made up of layers of keratin, which is a protein found in chicken, turkey, egg whites, cold-water fish, lean red meats, and dairy products.
For an additional boost, add flax seeds to your morning cereal. Just a tablespoon gives you 25 grams of protein. Keep in mind that they have to be ground up in order for your body to properly metabolize them.
The Final Word
There are a number of ways to fix damaged nails, but the best way of looking after your nails is to keep them healthy in the first place. So make sure you stay hydrated, and eat the right foods. And when you need to fix up a bit of damage, refer to the tips that we’ve outlined above.