A healthy nail care routine, like any part of your regular self-care regimen, will help keep your nails looking their best. Follow these simple steps, and you’ll be well on your way to having long, strong, beautiful nails all year round!
Step 1. Eat foods rich in collagen
Foods high in collagen, such as poultry and fish, help nail strength by supporting nail growth. Collagen is what our body uses to make healthy skin and nails; without enough of it, our nails may become brittle and split. A healthy diet that includes foods rich in collagen can go a long way toward protecting your nails against breakage. Try eating at least three servings of chicken or other poultry each week, along with fatty fish like salmon or tuna.
Step 2. Get your vitamin B12
B12 deficiency can cause serious, long-term issues with your health, so make sure you’re getting enough of it. Most people don’t get enough vitamin B12 in their diet because it’s only found naturally in animal products, so take a supplement if you find yourself falling short on your daily needs. Those at risk for deficiency include vegetarians and vegans, as well as people who suffer from celiac disease or Crohn’s disease.
Step 3. Moisturize your cuticles
Apply lotion or hand cream directly to your cuticles. If you’re working with clean hands, it should soak in pretty quickly. This may seem like an unusual step, but it’s important for preventing hangnails from drying out and splitting, says Ritchey. Don’t forget about your nails! They take a beating whether you notice or not, so apply moisturizer daily.
Step 4. Use hand cream after every wash
Using hand cream after every wash is essential for ensuring that you don’t get hard, cracked skin. Hand cream often also makes your hands look and feel softer than they would if you were using other products. Make sure that you use a moisturizing lotion or another product regularly so that your hands stay soft and smooth. In fact, you should use hand cream as part of your nail care routine every day.
Step 5. Drink water
Water is essential for healthy nails since your body will use it as an ingredient in producing them. In fact, nail care routines that include ingesting plenty of water are likely to produce healthier nails. Hydration also increases blood flow in your body, making sure it reaches even your extremities. Including your hands and nails. Without enough water, you could end up with dry or brittle nails that crack easily, so don’t forget to drink at least eight glasses of water every day.
Step 6. Go easy on the nail polish remover
A nail polish remover doesn’t just take away your mani, it also takes away your nails’ natural oils and makes them brittle. When you are removing nail polish, soak in lukewarm water for about 10 minutes before using a remover. It will soften your nails making them easier to remove without drying them out. Choose acetone-free nail polish that contains nourishing ingredients like vitamin E, jojoba oil and aloe vera for healthy nails.
Step 7. Paint in thin layers
Use just enough polish that you can still see your nails underneath. Thin layers of nail polish are much more forgiving than thick layers. If you’re not happy with how your manicure looks, you can easily cover it up with another coat. For best results, don’t skimp on base coats or top coats. While they may be clear and transparent in color, these essential steps help protect your nails from staining and chipping.
Step 8. Use non-acetone nail polish remover
When you’re at home, use non-acetone nail polish remover. Non-acetone removers are gentler on your nails and cuticles, while acetone can dry out nails and cause them to crack. When you’re in public and polish has been applied, take acetone nail polish remover with you so that you can remove it in case of smudges or spills.
Step 9. Check for cracks regularly
Whether you’re prone to cracking nails or not, regular visits to your nail salon will ensure that your nails are always in tip-top shape. Also, pay attention to any signs of chipping at home and have them fixed as soon as possible. Chipped nails can make your hands look unkempt.
Step 10. Watch out for signs of infection
Healthy nails are typically smooth and healthy-looking, but if you notice your nails becoming raised or discolored, that’s a red flag for an infection. The best way to avoid infections is by maintaining good nail hygiene: soaking your hands and feet in warm water for about 15 minutes every day, trimming your nails regularly and avoiding contact with harsh chemicals.
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