Maintaining healthy natural nails is not
as complicated as many may think. As with hair, nails are usually their
healthiest in their natural state, requiring a bit of nail polish for
protection and regular applications of hand cream as a moisturizer.
In fact, many argue that using natural nail strengtheners, which
chemically cross link the nail plate, is actually a bad idea. Although they
do make nails more rigid, they also make them less flexible and thus more
prone to breaking on impact. It is actually more important that nails are
kept flexible and moisturized.
Frequent nail splitting can also indicate dehydration. In such cases drink
more fluids and use an oil designed to penetrate the nail plate. Then
follow up with a moisturizing cream.
Several coats of nail hardener will help minimize chipping and peeling of
the nail enamel. The trick is to find something that protects AND
moisturizes. Nail hardeners with nylon fibers are also very affective.
(This will be discussed in the Product Top Picks area.)
By the way, regular use of nail polish can cause a yellowing discoloration
of the nails. This is not considered damaging, but is useful to keep in
mind if you prefer the "natural look" but use color
Below are some useful nail care tips:
Never clip nails to shorten them. Use an emery board to file nails down to
Apply a top coat almost daily to help protect the tips.
Use nail polish remover as infrequently as possible - especially those
containing acetone. Most nail polish removers will dry nails out. Many
specialists suggest using nail polish remover no more than once a week.
Apply a hand cream or lotion after washing hands since soaps tend to cause
nails and skin to become very dry. Cuticles should remain moisturized with
Vaseline or a moisturizer such as Moisturel or Aquaphor. (Tip: Apply
moisturizer before going to sleep each night.)
Never peel or scrape off nail polish or use metal instruments on the nail
surface to push back the cuticles. This can scrape off the protective
cells of the nail surface.
Break the habit of nail biting - it is very destructive to both the nail
and the cuticle and can lead to infections that can actually deform the
An excellent time to do your manicure is after a shower, bath or the
dishes. These activities will remove dirt from under the nails as well as
soften dry nails.
The cuticle protects the nail root from bacteria. Instead of cutting the
cuticle, push it back gently with a rosewood stick or rubber-tipped
cuticle-pusher. However, should the cuticle be hard and dry and sticking
up, slightly trimming it is justifiable, but never remove the whole thing.
Strong cuticle growth can be controlled with a cuticle softener or cuticle
Keep your nails out of your mouth! Biting nails can damage the nail and
the cuticle leading to a deformed nail shape or uneven nail growth. You
can also transfer harmful organisms to the nail that lead to infection or
even increase one's chance of catching a cold or flu.
If you have a diet that is rich in oils you will have beautiful hair and
nails. This is because virtually any kind of oil contains vitamins that
are great for nails.
DO's & DON'T's for nail care:
Do not put your hands into any kind of washing up liquid
Think about a leftover bowl of a chicken casserole and what happens when
you squirt one bit of detergent on that. Now consider what that's doing to
the natural oils in your hands and the natural oils in the fingernails
which is the only part holding the finger nails together. It's totally
It's dangerous to cut the cuticles of your nails
The cuticle is a natural seal where the skin bonds with the nail. If you
open a cuticle up, you allow bacteria to have access straight into the
The cuticle solution
Cuticles should be removed with cuticle removing solution. Also, every
time your hands are in the bath for a long time, rubbing the cuticle and
moving it back removes the dead cells. They must be very soft to do that
and be in the water for 15 minutes.
Beware of fast drying nail polishes
Fast drying nail polishes today have a high percentage isopropyl alcohol
(IPA). This tends to make nails dry and crumble. Once the polish dries up
it become brittle, flaky and begins to chip off. A nail polish that bonds
really well is also the type that takes a while to dry. So it's a
People tend to point their fingernails when they're filing, which leads to
filing away the sides of the nail. Because the sides is what gives the
fingernail strength, pointed nails will tend to give you splits in the
sides. Pointed nails break much easier. They should grow until there is at
least an eighth of an inch of free edge before you start to point them.
People started to wear their nails square (particularly in the USA) out of
necessity because they needed the side wall of the nail to give it
Every thing you touch
... is an emery board. If you have the slightest snag on the ends of your
nails, it will cause your nails to rip. Every time you touch something,
fingernails bend. Fingernails are meant to bend but every time you do,
that snag will open up more and eventually turn into a split. How do you
avoid this calamity? Use a very gentle file, never a metal file.
Best beauty tip in the world
Use a thick hand cream, smother your hands in it, wear cotton gloves, then
rubber gloves and then do the washing up. The heat will melt the cream,
releasing the natural oils and in two weeks even the roughest hands will
look like a baby's bum. The transformation is amazing.
And it's a way to beat the household blues! It will make the fingernails
grow too. The natural oils in the fingernails is what holds them together.