NailMania – Top tips for healthy strong natural nails

Im editing this post in early January 2020 as Ive just taken off SNS nails and am doing my best to get my nails back to their great condition. I thought this was a great opportunity to revisit this post and update it a little.

While I’m no professional here are a few tried and tested tips  as well as some of the products that keep my nails looking good and ready for my biweekly polish routine.

Cuticle care

Take care of your cuticles! The skin around your nail is there to protect your nail bed. If you don’t take steps to care for them you will most likely end up with dry, cracked skin around your nails and even worse the dreaded “hangnails” When giving yourself a manicure don’t forget to treat your cuticles with a medicated remover such as a cuticle removing products such as this one from Manicare before pushing the cuticles back very gently with a tool such as an orange stick.

If your cuticles are in poor condition you might be tempted to use a  cuticle trimmer to get rid of the worst of the problem. While these certainly get rid of the physical evidence of neglected cuticles I tend to avoid using them unless its to remove a particularly painful hangnail as over trimming and poorly sterilised tools can lead to bleeding and infection.

Finally, invest in a good hand cream and cuticle treatment. Cuticle treatments are often in the form of nourishing oils and are designed to be used after your manicure to moisturise your cuticles and make the manicure look more finished. There are lots of options on the market from the high end Dior to Lush as well as generic balms such as the cult fave from Lanolips

A good hand cream is a handbag, workstation and bedside essential not only to keep your hands nice and soft but also to keep the nails supple and flexible.  If you’re after something super rich and emollient give the L’occitane range or Lanolips Rose Balm Intense for something lighter   try the fruity range from The Body Shop,  from the drugstore Jergens Hand and Nail cream  is great and you can’t forget the cult favourite of Soap and Glory’s Hand Food.

Nail hardeners and treatments

There are dozens of different nail treatments and hardeners on the market in a multitude of formats and formulas.  Some are designed to strengthen the nail by strengthening the essential building blocks of our nails (keratin) such as the Revitanail strengthening serum, others like the Sally Hansen 18k gold hardener use tiny gold particles to create a barrier. Nail Tek can be purchased from nail salons and helps to bond the nails and protect against splitting. Its designed for damaged nails and is recommended after shellac or acrylic nails have been removed. You need to find what works for you. Ive used all these products and really like the Revitanail and Sally Hansen systems. Manicare also do some amazing products that are readily available and affordable.

Take care!
Avoid using your fingernails as household tools (or weapons). Using your nails to pick and dig at things is a sure fire way to bend, split and damage your nails.
Treat them well, avoid biting and picking at your nails. If there is a snag in the nail take care of it as soon as possible with a file rather than picking at it and making it worse, you know the old saying a stitch in time saves nine? Trim or file the splitting nail as soon as you can before it gets caught on a piece of clothing and rips off painfully leaving you with a tender little nub.
When cleaning protect your nails (and manicure) from harsh, drying chemicals or excessive water by wearing gloves.
Make your nail care part of your regular weekly routine, its not too time consuming and can be done while watching tv. Give your nails a file and buff once a week whether you feel like you need it or not it will help to minimise snags which then turn into breaks. Trim them often; shorter, clean and healthy looking nails are far more attractive than long, ragged and uneven ones.
If your nails are peeling and damaged keeping them polished will help to hide the damage and will help you to avoid day to day picking and fussing over the damage (which often makes it worse) A couple of layers of polish (especially if you use one with nail hardeners) will create a protective barrier over the nail and may help to avoid bad breaks.
Invest in a good nail polish remover and remove your old nail polish as soon as it starts to chip otherwise you will pick at it and damage the nail surface or cause splitting or peeling.

Keep Healthy

Your fingernails along with your skin are a reflection of your overall health. Weak, thin or peeling nails might be a sign that there is a vitamin or mineral deficiency in your system. Even with a healthy and varied diet sometimes our bodies need a little help to keep them working properly. A vitamin supplement containing Vitamin B, Calcium and Silica will help to keep your body producing healthy doses of the keratin that your hair and nails are made from. There are even specific diet supplements on the market that are particularly aimed at improving nail and hair health.

Lipstick 'n' Linguine
About me


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