Beautiful nails are the perfect accessory to any outfit. Unfortunately, however, nails are made from keratin. While keratin is quite a tough and robust protein, it can also be very easily damaged. That’s why many of us struggle to grow strong, healthy nails that are able to withstand the impact of day-to-day life.
While it’s important for everyone to know how to repair damaged nails, it is perhaps even more essential that we all know how to reduce the risk of damage in the first place. By taking a more proactive approach, it’s possible to strengthen the nails as they grow, minimising the risk of breaks and chips.
Here are 6 top tips for growing strong, beautiful, and healthy nails:
1. Go Professional
There are so many low-cost products on the shelves today that it’s always tempting to try out some cheap and cheerful beauty products. However, if you’ve been noticing that your nails are very brittle and unstable, it may be best to use professional-type products such as Mavala that they often use in top nail venues in Melbourne and other major cities. These products are typically higher quality than what you’ll find in many local stores and visiting a salon is also a great opportunity to learn the best application techniques and ask any questions so that you have the know-how you need to grow beautiful nails.
2. Eat Well
It is often said that there are many different nutrients that can promote positive nail health, including Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Vitamin B12, iron, and copper. The truth is that while getting plenty of these nutrients in your diet certainly isn’t a bad thing, research shows that they don’t really do much in terms of nail health. What has been found to be beneficial, however, is biotin. Biotin for nails has been shown to reduce brittleness and improve overall appearance, and it can be found in many foods. Egg yolks and cheeses are good sources of biotin, along with some nuts, vegetables, and dark leafy greens like spinach.
The keratin protein isn’t just found in nails; it’s a significant component of hair and skin, too. Skin, hair, and nails are remarkably similar. However, while many of us moisturise our skin and condition our hair, we don’t take the time to do the same for our nails. Moisturising nails with a good quality cuticle oil is one of the best ways to prevent dryness around the nail area, and minimising the risk of flakey nails that are prone to cracking. The best way to start moisturising your nails is to add it in as part of your standard evening skincare routine, at a time when you know the oils will have time to sink deep into the nails.
4. Avoid Damaging Products
Some of the most popular and common nail products can actually do more harm than good. They provide a short-term boost to the appearance of the nail, but can cause long term damage, making it difficult to grow long, healthy, and strong nails. Try to avoid washing your hands with very harsh soaps, filing with rough, tough emery boards, or using nail products that contain damaging chemicals. For nails which aren’t in too bad a shape, acetone-based nail polish removers can still be used, but if your nails are very brittle and fragile it’s a good idea to stick to an acetone-free version which is widely available.
5. Stay Dry
Keratin is a very porous substance, which means that your nails soak up large amounts of water when they’re left to soak for long periods. While a quick hand wash won’t do much damage, a long evening spent in the bath could leave your nails feeling very soft and flexible. When this happens, your nails will be in a highly vulnerable state and can break, snap, or even tear easily. If you want to grow long and strong nails, it’s best to avoid soaking your hands as much as possible. Instead of taking long baths, try taking speedy showers, and instead of a long swim in the pool, why not try out some new activities?
6. Find Your Breaking Point
What are ‘long’ nails? ‘Long’ is subjective, and what might be long to one person may not be for another. Your ‘long’ has to be one that suits you and fits in with your existing lifestyle. The truth is that even the healthiest of nails will break when they become too long to handle each person’s daily activities. To keep your nails happy and healthy, it is important to find your own unique breaking point: the point at which your nails become too long for your lifestyle. If you’re very active and very hands-on, your breaking point may be shorter than you’d like, but it’s better to have shorter, healthy nails than longer, unhealthy ones.
The secret to beautiful, healthy nails? Treat them with care. Nails are more vulnerable than we often think, and as they’re located on the ends of our fingers, they’re in a prime position for getting knocked. Treat nails in the same way you’d treat sensitive skin: with gentle products and a lot of TLC.
About the author
Sarah Pelham is the Beauty & Wellness Expert for Bookwell.com.au, an online platform for instant bookings for hair, nails, beauty & massage appointments. For nearly four years Sarah has worked closely with hundreds of salon owners within the beauty and wellness industries. She has her finger on the pulse of new trends in this growing market.