Often, our hands are exposed to the elements and this can take its toll on the strength of our nails.
Common damage to nails includes splitting, peeling and bending, all of which significantly weaken the nail.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to strengthen weak nails, leaving them healthy and shiny!
1. Don’t use your nails as tools
It’s so, so tempting to use your nails to open cans or scrape off stickers, but the tip of the nail is the weakest part. By putting this kind of pressure on your nails, it will only make any brittleness worse.
2. Minimise exposure to water..
Nails are very absorbent, so any water will get soaked up quickly. Water can strip the natural oils from the nail, which is why they become more transparent and bend easily when they’ve been submerged.
You can limit the contact your nails have with water by wearing rubber gloves for washing up and other household tasks.
Furthermore, it’s important to ensure your hands remain nourished. Try keeping a tube of hand cream next to the sink in your bathroom so you can apply it immediately after washing your hands.
This will help to treat dry hands and inject some moisture into the nail bed.
3. ..but stay hydrated
Dehydration has a negative impact upon the health of your skin, your body and more, and your nails are no exception!
Water helps to maintain a healthy nail plate. This gives your nails a strong base from which to grow. Therefore, it’s important to ensure you consume the recommended 8-10 glasses a day.
If you struggle with this, try adding some juice to add a little flavour.
4. File your nails in one direction
Filing your nails can help to improve their strength, however, filing them incorrectly can be detrimental.
Sawing the file back and forth can create small tears in the nail. This often develops into larger cracks over time and weakens the nail.
For stronger nails, file from the outside of one nail towards the middle in a smooth motion. Continue with this motion until you have the shape you desire, then do the same on the other side.
5. Don’t buff away any ridges in your nail
It’s the dips that are the weak part, not the ridges themselves, so buffing will only weaken the nail further. It’s much kinder (and quicker!) to use a base coat that’s designed to act as a ridge-filler instead.
6. Use hand cream several times a day
As mentioned above, keeping your nails hydrated will counteract the effects of the elements (and your hands will feel the benefits, too).
Throughout the day, applying a hand cream that sinks in quickly will allow you to nourish your hands and nails and go about your day without disruption.
You can afford to be a little more luxurious at night - why not choose a rich balm so you can really pamper yourself and get the benefits of an intensive treatment?
7. Look after your cuticles
Firstly, you should never cut your cuticles. By doing this, you’re cutting away the skin that seals and protects the nail bed.
Instead, use a cuticle oil to prevent dryness and tears. Not sure where to find one? A little olive oil from the kitchen cupboard will do the trick!
You should try to apply a cuticle oil each night before you to bed. Gently rub in the oil and then pop a pair of cotton gloves over the top to really lock in moisture.
Using hand cream alone will help significantly, but paying extra attention to your nails and cuticles will help to strengthen the nails even more.
8. Soak your nails in oil for a moisture-hit
For a little extra pampering, soaking your nails in oil can help to strengthen them.
Make time for this treatment once a week and you could see a real difference! Simply fill a bowl with an oil of your choice - coconut oil, castor oil, olive oil… use whatever suits you best.
Soak your nails for 10-15 minutes to really reap the benefits.
9. Avoid nail polish removers containing acetone
Acetone strips the nail of its natural oils, causing dehydration.
An acetone-free remover will be slightly more gentle, but it may take you a little longer to remove the polish as non-acetone removers are not as harsh.
Whichever remover you choose, set some time aside so you can get rid of the polish properly, then soak your nails in oil to minimise the drying effects. If you don’t have time to soak your fingertips, then a rich hand cream will do the job.
It may feel as though damage to your nails is inevitable, especially when they’re constantly exposed to the elements. However, with a little care and attention they’ll be back to their best.
Treat them well and you’ll be able to ward off weak nails for good!