Great Nails: Tips on how to get healthy and long nails
Everyone wants great looking nails. Healthy and sexy nails can be the polish to a great outfit, the mood lifter to a bad day and/or a turn on to those who find you attractive. I became very much aware of my nails about 8 years ago after I saw the damage that acrylics were doing to them. I no longer wanted to keep up with the bi-weekly expense and I felt it made no sense to pay to ruin my nails. I admired the look of long, polished nails. There was something classy and elegant in it which I never thought I would achieve naturally. Apart from this, I ventured into the process and after all these years I can say that I will never do acrylics again! Having nice looking nails is feasible and all it takes is patience and some care. Here are a few tips to guide you along the rode to immaculate fingernails.
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1. The first and most important tip is drink LOTS AND LOTS of water. Everyone knows how important water is to the body, the same goes for your nails. You should at least be drinking 8 glasses of water each day. It will keep your nails hydrated and prevent dryness and breaking.
2. Cut and trim your nails frequently. Even if you are trying to grow out your nails, this rule holds truth. You can file them instead of using nail clippers. Just remember to file them in one direction. Filing them back and forth will cause the nail to become weak and inevitably damage them.
3. Keep nails and cuticles moisturized with cuticle oil. Like drinking water, this prevents dryness. Where water will help the nails grow internally, cuticle oil will have a more direct effect externally. I have found that cremes do not work as well as oils. Oils get absorbed better into my cuticles and it softens them considerably. I use Sally Hansen Vitamin E Cuticle Oil. I apply it twice a day. Once in the morning and then again before I go to bed. It's good to apply on the cuticles put then spend a few minutes massaging it into your whole nail. The massage will stimulate blood flow and help them grow stronger.
4. Keep your nails the same length and shape them semi-square to oval. Too square will be more prone to breakage. Having them a little rounded at the edges will cause less nicks and splits.
5. Use a top coat and base coat. A base coat serves many purposes. Using a base coat will not only prevent your nails from turning yellow when using nail polish but it will also help your manicure last longer. There are a wide variety of base coats in the market but I like to use one that also provides some strength to my nails. I have discovered a few years ago a product called Nail Magic. It is a nail hardener that strengthens your nails while at the same time promoting growth. It has worked many times for me. After I cut my nails the same length, I would apply Nail Magic as a base coat and proceed with my usual polish. I use it differently from what the instructions state but it works nonetheless. I apply Nail Magic about once a week but I believe the instructions state to apply it about 3x a week. I recommend to follow instructions in the beginning of your nail regime but once you have had successful results you can switch to once a week. A top coat is essential because it works as a sealer. After you apply your desired nail polish, a top coat will help your nail shine and your polish stay on longer without chipping. A manicure usually lasts 5-7 days but can last longer if you brush on a top coat every 1-2 days. I also find it helpful to apply the top coat to the ends/tips of your nails and at the edges. It ensures extra protection.
6. Be aware of your nails. Don't use your nails as tool such as trying to remove something from your teeth or using them to open soft drinks. This will apply pressure to your nail which is something you are trying to avoid.
7. Wear vinyl gloves when doing household chores. Harsh chemicals that are frequently found in house cleaners will lead to splitting and peeling. These solvents could strip your hand and nails of natural oils if gloves are not worn. Also, try to avoid too much exposure to water for long periods of time. This will soften the nail and make it very easy to bend. Immediately after cleaning, try to lotion hands to regain moisture.
8. Applying garlic to your nail will greatly improve its strength. You can do it in numerous ways. One way is to pierce the clove with your nail and leave it inside for a couple of minutes, about 15 minutes. Afterwards you can wash. You can do this up to a few times a week. This is a quick way of giving your nail the garlic treatment. Another way is to strip bits of garlic and combine it inside a clear nail polish bottle. Let the mixture sit for about 5 days and you have your own nail hardener. The smell wears off after a while and you can't really smell it. Apply your home-made hardener up to twice a day.
9. Avoid using 100% (pure) acetone nail polish remover. Your nails will be dehydrated and cause them to be brittle. There are non acetone based nail polish removers that can be used as a substitute. Although these are not as strong and can make it more difficult to remove some designs and decorations (like rhinestones), it is beneficial because of the minimal damage it inflicts.
10. Don't pick or cut your cuticles, doing so will leave them at risk of bacteria entering the nail bed if the skin is cut. You can push back your cuticles gently if need be. Use a cuticle pusher at a 45 degree angle to achieve this.
Following these simple steps can help you have healthy and long nails in a few weeks. I am a mom and with a toddler running around, I still manage to have decently long nails that I am proud of. Although they occasionally break from time to time because of the chaos that surrounds me (I myself am guilty of not following all rules), I try to pamper myself at least once a week and give myself a manicure. Everyone deserves a little R&R some time, why not use that time so that you can feel good about yourself. You nails are just another part of your body that is important to take care of and maintain.