DIET First and for most an important part in keeping your nails strong and healthy lies in a varied diet. I would be lying to you if I said that I always eat healthy and drink 8 glasses of water a day because I don't. I'm a very picky eater and have always been. I do take multi-vitamins that contain iron, calcium and niacin along with Vitamins A & C. Luckily, I've always had pretty strong nails which I think I got from my mom. There are a lot of great websites that tell give you a lot of information on what you can eat to improve the health of your nails like here.
PREVENT You want to make sure you protect your nails while doing activities that can ruin them. I like to wear gloves if I'm cleaning or doing dishes,etc. Water and cleaning products can really make your skin dry plus the gloves will prevent your nails from scratching up against things. Try not to use your nails as tools, I learned this one the hard way by opening up a can of soda. My nail broke right in half, so now I'll always use a fork or have someone else that do it lol. FILE
This might sound crazy but I always file my nails before I take off my nail polish. For me this is the easiest way to get my nails even, I noticed if there bare I tend to follow my nail beds (that aren't always even) or the white tip of the nail. Then I would end up with different shaped nails (annoying)! After using emery boards and regular nail files for a while, I switched to glass files bc there very fine and cause less tears or chips. Plus there made to help you easily get the shape you want. I always file in one direction only and smooth the sharp edges if needed. Be patient when filing your nails, bc if your in rush you might end up tearing your nails.
I use the rougher side of a 4 way file (like the picture above) if I want to take down the length a bit. You can use this for buffing your nails too. I personally don't like to buff my nails unless I have ridges that need to be smoothed out. Buffing your nails too often will cause them to become thin and weak. I like using these 4 way nail files better than the regular buffer. *When buffing your nails, do this after removing your nail polish, but you probably already knew that lol. If you see any dust from buffing your nails then you know you've buffed your nails too much and if you are going to buff your nails just remember not to be too rough!
I always use a simple nail polish remover that contains acetone with cotton rounds to remove my polish. The acetone helps to remove the polish easier but make sure to wash your hands write after using it to remove all the acetone from your hands. If you have very dry skin or nails I would recommend using a non-acetone nail polish remover. I moisten the cotton round then press over my nail for a few seconds to soften the polish, then in a firm motion move the cotton from the base to the tip to remove all polish. Depending on the kind of polish you had on you might have to repeat the step twice. If you've had glitter on, soak you nails in warm water for a few minutes to soften the glitter.
Soaking your nails in warm soapy water helps to soften the cuticles so when you go to push them back its easier and this helps to break up any dirt underneath your fingernails. I only soak them for about 5 minutes.
After I use Sally Hansen's Gel Cuticle Remover (Enriched with Jojoba & Kiwi Extract) I've heard of people using hair conditioner or even just plain hand lotion so I guess it depends on how bad your cuticles are. Mine have never been to bad, but I still like to use the remover every other week or so. I apply a thin layer and after a minute or two grab my cuticle pusher (or you can use an orange stick) and gently push back my cuticles and remove all the stuff that comes off. Then I wash my hands to get rid of any residue. I don't prefer cutting my cuticles because it can cause thickening of the skin and cuticles eventually.
In my opinion moisturizing your nails and hands is probably one of the most important things. You should pamper your hands, cuticles and nails as much as you can. After pushing my cuticles back I use Sally Hansens Vitamin E Moisturizing Nail and Cuticle Oil. I brush a little on my cuticle area and on my nail then thoroughly massage the oil in. It does make your nails feel a little greasy but just wash your hand afterwards. The directions say to brush on nails & cuticles nightly until fully absorbed and if you use it before applying nail polish make sure to remove any traces of oil with soap an water. I really do like this product, I've been using if for a while now and it seems to keep my nails and cuticles moisturized.
As far as nail lotion I've recently been using Vaseline's Healthy Hand & Nail Conditioning lotion. I apply this before getting ready to paint my nails and I try to remember to use it after I wash my hands. I love this stuff it makes my hands and nails feel really soft and its only $4.99 at CVS.
My new all time favorite nail hardener is Sally Hansen's Complete Care 4-IN-1 TREATMENT. I started using this a few months ago and have noticed a big difference. I practically cringed when I had to hand over $15 to buy it, but now I'm glad I did. This 4-IN-1 TREATMENT includes: (back of the box information)
- 1. Ridge Filler Base Coat- it helps to smooth out imperfections in your nails while also making your nails grow out smoother and less ridged.
- 2. Bio- Strengthener- It has sea minerals, natural plant extracts and vitamins to help restore strength. It protects and reinforces nails to resits break, splits or cracks.
- 3. Growth Treatment- Triple Protein Complex and Active Botanical nourish and revitalize nails.
- 4. Mega Gloss Top Coat- creates an incredinlily durable, scratch-resistances shield of chip-proof protection with high-gloss shine
PLUS: An enriched complex of Avocado Oil and Natural Plant Extracts helps re-hydrate, condition, and restore flexibility to dry and brittle nails. I use this as a base coat, top coat, a strengthener, hardener, ect. It was worth every penny, just to be able to use one nail polish for all these things. So if your looking for something like this I really recommend it! I'm sorry if this post is a little long but I wanted to show you the products I use and what my nail care regimen has been. I hope you enjoyed this post. Please let me know what you do to keep your nails and hands looking healthy.
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