How Healthy Are Your Nails? 6 Tips for Stronger, Healthier Nails

Happy Friday lovelies! So I have a confession to make. I have not been taking as good a care of my nails as I should be. Life has gotten busier for me and while and my normal routine for nail care has fallen by the wayside. It's one of the reasons (the other being the change in the weather, which always wreaks havoc on my nails) why I experienced two major breaks within a week of each other. It was a wake up call to me to get back into my daily nail care habits. I'm sure I'm not the only one experiencing this at the moment and so today's post has some helpful tips for nail health during the Fall/Winter seasons.

 

1. Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize

I really can't say this enough. The fall and winter season wreak havoc on our skin and our nails are no exception to this. If you are like me and have naturally dry nails to begin with, this is even more true. I tackle this in three steps: Cuticle oil. cuticle balm and hand cream. In that order. In the mornings and evening I use cuticle oil and gently push back my cuticles ( I do this while my hands and nails are still damp from washing my face). I then follow with hand cream. When I get to work, throughout my day I apply cuticle balm and/or oil and again gently push my cuticles back. I apply hand cream after every time I wash my hands. I recommend staying away from hand creams that have fragrance. Fragrance generally equals a high alcohol content which will only further dry out your skin and nails in the long run. 

2. Keep Your Nails Painted

Some people think they need to give their nails a break from polish so they can "breathe". This is unnecessary because, like the hair on our head, the only living part of our nails is the at the ends of our nails under the epidermis (skin) - which is why cuticle care is so important! Painting your nails keeps them protected from the elements and from any dings and bang they may get during our day to day lives. If you want to give yourself a break from colored polish then use a clear base and top coat as protection.

3. Take a Biotin or Fish Oil Supplement

Now I recommend taking Biotin with caution. I took a biotin on and off for a few months and experienced massive breakouts on my face. I know others who have experienced the same and some who had no issues at all. It's really the luck of the draw. You have to drink MASSIVE amounts of water to stay hydrated and prevent this from happening. I drank a ton of water and still experienced breakouts. But - my nails and hair were both stronger during that time. So like I said, proceed with caution. If your skin is sensitive and prone to breakouts like mine is, I would avoid it.  Fish Oil supplements were actually recommended to me by my eye doctor to helps with my dry eyes. They also help with keeping hair, skin and nails hydrated. I was awful about taking them but have gotten back into taking them on a regular basis along with my multi-vitamin.

 
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4. Stay Hydrated

This one should go without saying but I know a lot of people who simply do not drink enough water. But it's a necessity. And if you're wondering why your skin, hair and nails are dry and dull you may want to take a good long look at your water intake. I drink water everyday. I keep a bottle on my desk. But I simply wasn't drinking enough throughout the day and my skin and nail began to suffer for it. Now I try to stay aware of how much water I'm taking in. Breaking it up into parts of my day helps: I try to take in 16 ounces in the morning with my breakfast. Another 16 ounces from late morning to early afternoon. 16 ounces with my lunch and 16-18 ounces from when I get home and with my dinner. 

5. Avoid Using Acetone to Remove Polish

This may sound like a bit of a contradiction since I added acetone as one of the must haves in my nail supply arsenal. And it still plays and integral role in my weekly nail care and nail art routine. I use it for clean up and to fix any mistakes I may make. But I no longer use it to remove my polish. At least - not in it's 100% pure form. It is incredibly harsh and strips your nails of their natural oils,  making them drier and more brittle - and therefore more prone to breaks. I started using Zoya Remove awhile ago and I highly recommend it if you're looking for a strong remover that won't strip the nails. It is an acetone-based remover that has oils and moisturizers in it that prevents the nails from being dried out. You can also make your own version of Zoya Remove. There are quite a few DIY recipes online that show how to do this. It's relatively easy and affordable to do. 

6. Avoid Acrylic Nails

Now this is a controversial tip. There are tons of nail artists who will tell you that if acrylic nails are done right they do not have an adverse effect on the health of your natural nails. I personally can only go by my own experiences and I have never found a time when they didn't have an adverse effect on my nails. After wearing acrylics my nails were always thinner, weaker and more prone to breaking. So, I say if you can, simply avoid them or wear them sparingly. Wearing tips as opposed to full nail extensions can also help limit the damage.. I've used tips in the past both professionally and by DIY-ing them and though my natural nail tips were weaker when I removed them, the nail itself was okay. 

 

I hope you find these tips helpful! If you have any tips or tricks that you use to keep your nails looking their best let me know in the comments!

 

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