It’s a little ironic that I should be the one to give you advice on how to get more beautiful nails, considering that I’m not exactly known for my beautiful hands and flawless pedicure. Half my life (if not longer) I was chewing on my nails, until I finally managed to drop this stupid habit with a lot of discipline. Still, my hands betray that I lead a stressful life, a couple of scars make the point. That said, my hands are recovering, slowly but steadily.
It may be an age thing, at least in my case: I didn’t really think much about my hands or take care of them, but as I grow older I try to make sure that they always look well cared for. I also try to make sure I don’t leave the house with chipped nail-polish or anything like that (doesn’t always work, I’m afraid). A turning point for me was to understand that age starts to show primarily in the face and on the hands. Plus, it’s also true that bags and jewelry will always look that much more elegant when draped around a pretty hand!
So, first and foremost I compiled these tips for you, but also a little bit for my own benefit. This is a post I really have to take to heart myself :)
Remember: signs of aging will first become visible on your face and your hands.
1. Healthy nails come with a healthy diet!
As the saying goes: beauty comes from within. True story!
Healthy hands and nails need sufficient protein, calcium, silicon, vitamin A, zinc and biotin to grow strong and resilient. Ideally you’d take in the necessary amounts of all these components by eating dairy, nuts, beans and other healthy food, but it can also make sense to add special supplements to your diet. Biotin and silicon can both have quite amazing effects on your hair and nails.
2. The right technique to file your nails
The trick is: file in one direction only! This will minimize cracks and breakage. It will take up a bit of extra time, but you’ll get used to it fast.
3. Always cream your hands!
Hand cream is often a bit underrated, but your hands do need a lot of care! I use hand cream at least once per day, usually just before going to bed. It’s become a bit of an evening ritual for me, I keep the jar on my night table.
4. Use oil!
Hand cream is important, and so is oil, especially for the nails and dry cuticles.
Also worth mentioning here: never ever cut sensitive cuticles (rumors have it that there are in fact people out there who do that..). Instead, put some oil on them and push them back. I usually use special cuticles softener pens, which you can get pretty cheaply at regular drugstores.
5. Gel nails and shellac are no-go’s!
If your want healthy nails, don’t reach for artificial nails or shellac. These products will destroy your natural nails and make them sensitive. What’s more, you may be more prone to nail infections, which doesn’t look very nice and really hurts. I know what I’m talking about, I’ve tried it all, and it took ages for my nails to recover. So your best bet for healthy nails is to – quite literally – keep your hands off these artificial things.
6. The right nail polish remover
If you’re like me and paint your nails several times per week, it’s important you use a polish remover that’s not too aggressive. Ideally you’d reach for something without acetone – the substance has a reputation to dry out nails and to make them brittle. Whichever product you use, don’t overdo it! My favorite is the regular nail polish remover by Ebelin.
7. Careful when cleaning!
This is advice that I have to adhere to a bit more myself, to be honest. I often forget to wear gloves when I wash the dishes or clean something in the flat. The fact is, cleaning products are really terrible for your hands! Note to self: use those gloves!
8. Give your hands a break
This is advice that I really follow myself, and I recommend it from the bottom of my heart: give your hands a break from time to time and go without nail polish for a while. Let your nails and hands breathe, and they’ll recover (almost) automatically. Our habits of constantly wearing nail polish and to change colors so frequently are really damaging our nails. It’s not dissimilar to dyeing your hair – you wouldn’t want to overdo that either. An occasional peeling or treatment can work wonders for your hands, and you’ll see the effect pretty much instantly.