Nails are such a neat party trick: they make you look presentable and ready for the occasion even when you feel like you aren’t. From professional, nude nails to extravagant, colourful party nails, there’s something for everything. And what’s more? They make you feel cute and good, too. Often, though, we forget about the importance of healthy nails. Not only do healthy nails equate to stronger nails, but you also get fewer hangnails, lower chances of ingrown nails and nails that don’t chip easily.
Here are five quick, easy tips to take care of your nails:
Load up on the protein!
Yes, you heard right. Eating is the way to take care of your nails. (We love that, don’t we?) Our fingernails are made up keratin; the same protein that is responsible for the clarity of your skin of the shine of your hair. With vitamins and protein-rich foods like beans, fish, and nuts, you are bound to get stronger, clearer nails.
Give your nails a break.
Love painting your nails? You’re not the only one, but remember to give your nails a break. Excessive nail paint can dry out your nails, turn them yellow and over time, weaken the structure of the nail. Nail polish removers also contribute to this. Instead, choose to forgo nail paint and let your nails be free naturally. If you would still like some shine on your nails, a great alternative is to buff your nails. Take the time to trim, file and buff your nails, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results. (Pro tip: always file your nails in one direction, from the outside edge of the nail inward. Filing back and forth can weaken your nail too.)
Don’t skimp out on the base-coat and top-coat.
If you’ve decided it’s time to dress up your nails, the best gift you can give yourself is to take the time to apply a base-coat and top-coat. Base-coat prevent your nails from getting stained. Similarly, apply a top coat to protect your nail polish. In fact, it’s recommended that you touch-up on your top-coat every few days or so, to keep the manicure lasting. This prevents you from having to do regular touch-ups, which is more damaging to your nails. It also lets the colour last longer and keeps it more saturated.
Have a handy-dandy DIY nail-strengthening treatment.
Gill Deacon, author of There’s Lead In Your Lipstick, suggests this recipe to take care of your nails. Mix 2 teaspoons of castor oil, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of wheat germ oil. Keep it in a sealed bottle after mixing, and rub a small amount onto your nails when you have the time. wipe it off after 3 to 5 minutes. The recipe makes for 20 to 30 applications.
When rubbing lotion or oil into your hands, spend a few seconds working it into your cuticles and nails as well. Soap and sanitisers can dry out skins and nail beds quickly, so extend the effort into your nail bed. Coconut oil is a great moisturiser for nails and cuticles!
And it’s as easy as that! Nails seem too inconspicuous to focus on, but they play a huge part in first impressions. Shaking hands, greeting hello — these are all actions that involve hands and one’s perception of them. Whether it’s a meeting with a client or a friend’s birthday party, taking the time to have nice nails shows the other party that you have made the utmost effort for themselves. Alternatively, it’s also just a good way to feel good :).