Maybe it’s lockdown-followed-by-lockdown boredom, but it seems so many of us are attempting to grow our nails longer and stronger right now. A lot of us have taken the time to go nude too – ditching the acrylics and taking a much-needed break from the gels – but annoyingly, our nails are still brittle and flaky. So how can we give them a helping hand (lol!) in the lead up to summer? Read on, for some of our top tips for your strongest, healthiest nails ever…
Hydrate, and hydrate again
Hydration is key when it comes to growing nails – and that goes beyond drinking your eight-plus glasses of water a day. To have strong nails, they need to be healthy – and to be healthy, they need to be hydrated. Cuticle oil works by hydrating the cuticle and nail bed, which is why it’s such an important step in nail care, whether you’re growing your nails or simply want them to look their best. You don’t need to break the bank when it comes to this step either – even simple jojoba oil can make a real difference to your nails.
When your nails are brittle, the last thing they need is the kind of hardcore filing – and files – like the professionals use. A softer file is essential, as well as nailing (pun intended) your filing technique. Back and forth, see-saw motions will only cause the nail to split, so always file in one direction, using long, swift but gentle strokes. Start from the outside edge and move into the centre, which gives you a smooth finish and more control over the shape you’re trying to achieve.
Take it off naturally
When your manicure shows signs of chipping, it’s all too easy to pick up any old bottle of nail polish remover. But those containing high concentrations of acetone (the potent solvent that is responsible for dissolving nail polish quickly) are extremely harsh on fragile nails and can dry them out almost instantly – cue peeling, flaking, and splitting. It’s also going to dry out the skin around the nail, which when we’re all washing and sanitising our hands more is definitely NOT ideal.
So, go acetone-free. These formulas might be gentle, but don’t underestimate their ability to leave your nails perfectly clean – even after a dark navy mani. Kester Black’s Water Based Nail Polish Remover is our pick, and it even comes scented with white peach! Both acetone and acetate free, it is also non-flammable and has a lengthened evaporation period (for those of us who forget to put lids on things).
Go natural with your polish
We highly recommend giving ‘free from’ varnishes a go, which purposefully exclude any potentially toxic chemicals. In terms of natural credentials, the scale runs from “three-free” all the way up to “13-free”, which means that brand does not have any of the most commonly used chemicals that have been identified as harmful in their varnishes. Our pick is once again from Kester Black, whose polish shades are extensive and always chic, and they last and last.
When your fingertips are exposed to water for a long period of time they become a bit waterlogged, and the same goes for your nails. When nails absorb too much water they can weaken and become dry, which leads to breakage and cracks that stunt growth. So, any time you’re doing dishes be sure to protect your hands and nails with rubber gloves, and after hand washing try and smooth on a quality hand cream to put a little goodness back like Nuori Vital Hand Cream.
Just add Collagen
A quality collagen supplement will do wonders for growing and strengthening nails, and Imbibe’s Miracle Collagen is a fave. Scientifically formulated to plump and firm your skin from within, its bio-active formula with 18 amino acids (both essential and non-essential) is designed to transform and stimulate collagen synthesis and skin elasticity from the inside out. Every molecule is the 100% bio-active collagen, so get ready for your dewiest, most radiant hair, skin, and nails ever!