Invest In A ‘soft’ Nail File
You might have heard that glass nail files are better for filing with, but while they’re pretty, longer-wearing and easy to clean, it pays to invest in a ‘soft’ file, according to Session Manicurist, Ami Streets.
‘To get the best finish from your filing, always opt for a soft file to prevent tearing or splitting your nails,’ she says. Her top picks? ‘Orly’s nail file is probably one of best I’ve used because of the durability and the way it gives the smoothest finish really fast.’
‘Pro products are always best and usually more hard wearing. I really like the Natural Nail Company because you can choose a file depending on whether your nails are soft or hard, and there are even options for acrylics.’
What’s more, you really need to nail your filing technique. Back and forth see-saw motions will only cause the nail to splinter, so always file in one direction, using long, swift but gentle strokes.
Pro Tip: ‘Start from the outside edge and move into the centre,’ advises Streets. ‘This technique will give you a smooth finish and more control over the shape you’re trying to achieve.’
Improve Your Diet To Boost Nail Health
Eating healthy food, or consuming a well-balanced diet in general, is an essential part of maintaining overall good health, including the strength of your nails.
It is also good to know that certain food groups can boost nail health and prevent them from becoming weak and brittle. Modify your diet to include these healthy foods to help overcome and prevent the problem of weak nails.
Some nutrients essential to nail health are:
Consider The Use Of Supplements
If weak nails are caused by an underlying nutrient deficiency, such as an iron deficiency, you can consult your doctor on the use of supplements.
The following supplements are often suggested to improve nail health and can be taken upon consultation with a doctor:
- Vitamin B9. Also known as folic acid, vitamin B9 can be found in legumes and whole grains and is essential for cell repair and therefore in restoring nail health. Consumption of vitamin B9 supplements can help strengthen your nails and lower the chances of peeling or breakage.
- Keratin. As discussed above, keratin is a protein needed for nail strength. Therefore, the use of keratin supplements and even keratin oil can boost your nail health.
- Biotin. This water-soluble vitamin has been shown to boost nail strength. It is suggested to consume about 30 µg of biotin every day, and the requirement can be met with the help of supplements. Biotin supplements can improve nail health in 49 months of use.
You May Like: Taking Out Contacts With Long Nails
Try A Keratin Supplement
Keratin is not just a hair treatmentit’s actually the main protein that makes up your nails. So taking a keratin supplement could help build strength and resiliency, much in the same way it works on your hair. Taking it orally or applying it topically as an oil may bring you one step closer to long and healthy nails.
Strong Nails Make Strong Shields
Nails are made primarily of keratin, the same protein that makes up hair and skin. Fingernails and toenails may seem useless. But nails actually protect the very sensitive fingertips from injuries. Toenails are thicker as the foot is larger and contains more blood vessels and tissues. Humans may not use nails anymore for digging or climbing like other animals. But keeping nails healthy is still vital.
Recommended Reading: Does Vitamin E Kill Nail Fungus
Vitamin B12 And Nail Health
Vitamin B12, or cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin that also plays a role in the metabolism of fat and protein. It’s involved in the creation of red blood cells, neurological function and the production of DNA. Additionally, B12 is associated with skin health, and low levels may manifest in alterations in the nails, according to a review published in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology in February 2015.
B12 deficiency is more common than biotin deficiency, and certain groups have a higher risk of low B12 levels. These include the elderly, vegans and vegetarians, people with pernicious anemia and individuals who have gastrointestinal problems or who have had gastrointestinal surgery.
B12 deficiency results in a condition called megaloblastic anemia. In addition to nail and skin changes, symptoms include fatigue, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite, weight loss, numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, poor balance, depression, confusion, dementia and a sore mouth and tongue.
The recommended daily intake of B12 is 2.4 micrograms for men and women, 2.6 micrograms for pregnant women and 2.8 micrograms for breastfeeding women. Vegans and vegetarians have trouble getting enough of the vitamin because there are no plant foods that are reliable sources. However, some plant foods are fortified with the nutrient. According to NIH, the best sources of B12 include:
Choose Your Nail Products Wisely
The use of different nail polishes to increase the appeal of your nails is a common practice. However, nail polishes that contain toxic chemicals must be avoided as they can weaken your nails and make them brittle. These chemicals include camphor, formaldehyde resin, TPHP, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, and xylene.
Moreover, the use of nail polishes is often coupled with the frequent use of nail polish removers such as acetone. These products can strip the natural oils from your nails, leading to weak and brittle nails. The chemical-laden nail polish removers can also dehydrate your nails and cause discoloration, keratin granulations, splitting, and peeling.
It is suggested to use alternate products such as acetone-free nail polish remover pads for this purpose. This also eliminates the risk of gamma-butyrolactone poisoning, which usually happens when children accidentally ingest acetone-based nail polish removers that contain this harmful compound.
Another common nail beauty product to stay wary of is acrylic nails and acrylic gel manicures, especially from unlicensed salons. This artificial nail technique can increase the risk of nail and cuticle infections and conditions such as contact dermatitis.
Recommended Reading: Nailer Reviews
Push Your Cuticles Back
As mentioned, cuticle care is crucial. But beyond oil, Lim mentions regularly pushing your cuticles back can keep them from overgrowing. “When becomes thick and overgrows onto the nail, it’s tough to push back. You don’t want to ever get to that point,” she says. “When that happens, your cuticles are prone to cracking and infection.” Ouch.
You don’t have to get too meticulous about it a great tip is to gently push them back every couple of days after stepping out of the shower, as the nails will be softened from the spray. Not to mention, pushing your cuticles back helps your polish last longerjust in case you’ve decided to go for an at-home mani.
Commit To Monthly Maintenance
Which brings us to our next point: monthly maintenance. Whether you opt for a DIY manicure or take a trip to the salon, a regular tuneup is key to keeping those tips strong. Your nails can tell you a lot about your overall health, so use that time to make regular check-ins as well. “When you take your nail polish off, check your nail color and the strength of your nail plate before you go ahead and apply polish or treat your nails,” says Lin.
If a bare nail is more your thing, Lim still recommends proper nail hygienethat is, keeping them clipped, cleaned, and filed. “Take your fingernail and raise the free edges to see if there are any snags, and you can smooth them out. That’s a great way to maintain your nails,” she says.
Don’t Miss: How To Apply Acrylic Nails Professionally
Moisturize Your Hands And Nails Regularly
Frequently moisturizing your nails and the surrounding skin with a hand cream can prevent further impairment of the integrity of the nails, says Philadelphia-based dermatologist Rina Allawh, MD. Ointments, such as Aquaphor Healing Ointment and Vaniply Skin Protectant, pull a double-duty by nourishing your nails and protecting them from future damage by locking in moisture.
Cuticle oil helps to repair, nourish, and moisturize weak nails as well, says North Carolina-based board-certified dermatologist Sheel Desai Solomon, MD. I recommend LOccitane Shea Nourishing Nail & Cuticle Oil, she says. Its formulated with a high concentration of shea oil to help soften cuticles and nourish nails.
Nuts And Seeds Including Almonds And Sunflower Seeds
Snacking on nuts and seeds provides a hefty dose of healthy fats that your nails might be craving. Registered dietitian Ashley Koff explained to Health magazine that almonds are a pretty great source of protein and magnesium, adding, “Vertical ridges in your nails may be a sign of inadequate magnesium.” So if you’re seeing those, you may want to start snacking on some almonds.
And sunflower seeds are also the perfect antidote to weakened nails, according to Vivian Goldschmidt, a nutrition expert. Aside from plenty of magnesium, she says, “sunflower seeds contain the trace minerals manganese and copper, which are essential for the synthesis and production of connective tissue in bones and cartilage,” thus also strengthening nails.She adds, “These crunchy seeds also contain Vitamin B6, zinc, and Vitamin E. All of these minerals and vitamins contribute to healthy fingernails and strong bones.”
You May Like: What Vitamin Makes Nails Stronger
Wear Gloves When Doing Dishes
We’ll say it again: Whenever you’re cleaning with harsh chemicals, gardening, or doing anything that involves soaking or dirtying your hands, you need to wear rubber, vinyl, nitrile, or plastic gloves some of which have a cotton liner. Cleaning dishes in hot, soapy water sans gloves can weaken the nails, while getting them caked with dirt from gardening will require a level of cleaning that you want to avoid wherever possible.
Similarly, when weather is chilly, remember to wear a pair of mittens or gloves so that the cold air and wind don’t undo the hard work you did moisturizing, leaving you with dry, flaky, scaly skin.
Foods For Amazingly Strong Nails Are You Eating Them
Did you know that theres a relationship between your fingernails and your bones? Believe it or not, they are so closely connected, that your fingernails actually give you a visual glimpse of the condition of your bones.
Nutrition plays a very important role in strengthening both nails and bones, so today Im going to share six delicious Foundation Foods that do just that.
Don’t Miss: Why Do My Dip Nails Pop Off
When To See A Doctor
Nail health generally can be improved with proper, constant care, but always consult a doctor if the problem persists as it may signify an underlying condition.
Consider consulting your doctor if you notice the following symptoms in your nails:
- Dark streak under the nail
- Pink and white gradation of nails
- Detachment from the surrounding skin
Banking On B Vitamins
Two essential B vitamins help with strong nail growth. Biotin, or vitamin B7, helps strengthen nails, skin, and hair. In one study, women who took biotin for 6-9 months showed improved hair growth. Other clinical trials showed improvement in strength and thickness of nails when taking a B7 supplement. Other B vitamins like B12 and B9 also help with nutrient absorption and blood cell growth.
Also Check: How To Get Out Contacts With Long Nails
Dont Overdo The Hand Sanitizer
Because hand sanitizers are typically alcohol-based, constantly applying the stuff can dry out your nails and leave them super brittle. If you have to use hand sanitizer, try not to get it on your nails, and dont overdo it, says Dr. Solomon. Using hand sanitizer wipes can make it easier to avoid the nail area during applicationor if you prefer the liquid variety, make sure to slather on moisturizer afterward to balance the scales.
Read The Labels On Your Polish
Just as with makeup and skincare, not all nail polish brands are created equal, so make sure you’re buying or using a good product. Dr. Debbie Palmer urges you to steer clear of polishes containing toxic chemicals like dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde, and toluene, as these toxins can contribute to brittleness, splitting, and cracking.
Read Also: Varisi Reviews
Use Gloves Whenever Needed
Excessive hand washing can be damaging to your nails as constant exposure to soapy or hot water can soften your nails, making them brittle and weak. In addition, constant contact with water can cause nail splitting, which may lead to a condition known as onychoschizia.
Similarly, nails exposed to the dry winter weather often become brittle. This happens especially when temperature fluctuations occur while moving indoors to outdoors or vice versa. Your nails expand and contract periodically according to the temperature they are in. These repetitive changes can weaken the cells, making the nails prone to breakage.
Therefore, wear gloves to protect your nails from water- or weather-caused damage. Use cotton-lined rubber gloves while working with water, such as during gardening, doing the dishes, or housecleaning. Wearing gloves also prevents dirt from getting into your nails, preventing infections.
Additionally, make sure to wipe your nails dry after swimming or showering to keep them dry and prevent bacterial growth.
Take Breathers Between Manicures
Bottom line: Your nails need to breathe. Constant use of polish, even non-toxic polish, can weaken the nail, says Dr. Solomon. If you find that your nails have become especially fragile , give them a month off from nail polish to allow them to grow and strengthen. Applying a keratin treatment between manicures, such as CND RescueRXx, can help nourish your nails during the hiatus.
Read Also: Vitamin E For Toenails
Avoid Using Nails As Tools
The role of the nails is to protect the soft skin underneath them. It is not a good idea to use them as tools to get things done.
A person can easily break or chip their nail if they use them to open a can, for example. So to protect nails, try using a flat object or the pads of the fingers to pry it open.
Not using nails as tools can help prevent damage and improve nail strength.
Shorter nails are less likely to become damaged. When a person has very long nails, they are more likely to break, chip, crack, or catch on something and rip off.
Keeping nails trimmed can help avoid accidental breakages and maintain their strength.
Things To Eat For Strong Nails
Whether you prefer your nails long or short, we can all agree that our first priority is to have our nails healthy and strong. Its common for your hands and nails to feel dehydrated and weaker than usual in the winter months. In fact, weve gotten many questions from new members of our community with worries of peeling, brittle, flaking, chipping, breaking, and even bending nails.
Our first recommendation on your journey to healthy and strong nails is to stay hydrated by drinking lots of water daily. Hydration starts from the inside out, but there are other things we can do to help our skin out ASAP. We recommend nourishing your hands, cuticles, and nail beds with a cuticle serum. Cutting out any harsh chemicals you may be putting on your nails, like acetone, will also make a huge impact on the health of your nails! Our soy polish remover is a soothing and effective alternative to regular acetone-based products.
Now, if youve taken all of these steps and youre wondering how you can make long-term changes within to strengthen your nails, the answer is simple: vitamins and nutrients! There are so many delicious plant-based foods that hold the key to healthy and strong nails. Weve put together 10 highly nutritious foods that you can start adding to your diet today for perfect nails:
2. Red Bell Peppers
5. Dark Green Veggies
8. Beans & Lentils
10. Citrus Fruits
You May Like: How Much Money Do Nail Techs Make
Foods For Strong Nails
We dont, however, eat nutrients. We eat food. So, a nutrient-rich diet that provides an array of the nutrients above would logically help support strong, healthy nails. Top foods for strong nails include:
Become A Nail Filing Master
Go with a soft nail file to keep the edges of your nails smooth, says Dr. Klein. With rougher grains, you run the risk of making tears in the nail, which can lead to peeling and hangnails.
File your nails in one direction, using long and swift strokes. Back and forth see-saw motions will cause the nail to splinter, says Dr. Solomon, who recommends using the Deborah Lippmann Smooth Operator 4-Way Nail Buffer.
The micro-fiber material its made from is very gentle on the nails, but still manages to achieve a clean shape, she says.
Read Also: How Much Is A Nail Tech Course