How to care for fingernails?

Ten Ways to Keep Your Nails Beautiful Naturally

Natural Nails! There are so many ways to keep nails neat and pretty without using chemicals or paying lots of money, and I intend to take advantage of them!

Natural Nails at Home

A few weeks ago, right before I was in a friend’s wedding, I found myself in a nail salon for the first time in years. I tried to play it cool and sophisticated, but as I fumbled with white towels and little bowls of rinsing water, the guy doing my nails laughed and said, “You don’t do this a lot, do you?”

He’s totally right. I don’t go to nail salons a lot. I used to go occasionally, back when I was in college and not particularly concerned with saving money or living a natural lifestyle, but those days are long gone. Most of the time my nails are completely free of polish.

My nails are still sporting a few spots of the pink polish all of us bridesmaids wore, but for the most part, I’ve chipped it all off. Glamorous, right? Fortunately, I know nail salons are not the only way to keep my nails looking nice. There are so many ways to keep your nails neat and pretty without using chemicals or paying lots of money, and I intend to take advantage of them as soon as I chip off all of this polish.

Ten Ways to Have Pretty, Natural Nails

1. Eat a Healthy Diet

As with most aspects of our bodies, we get the best results from eating a well-balanced, vitamin-rich diet. Vitamin deficiencies show up quickly as weakened, brittle fingernails or pits in the nail.

2. Keep Your Natural Nails Trimmed

If you’ve ever had long nails, then you’ve almost certainly suffered from a broken nail at some point. Broken nails are painful! They’re also bothersome, and I find that I pick at mine and make them worse. The only solution I’ve found to broken nails is to actually prevent them by keeping my nails well-trimmed. You know the length your nails can withstand; there’s no need to grow them out longer just to suffer the inevitable painful break while you’re trying to wash the dishes.

3. Moisturize Your Cuticles.

While your fingernails themselves may not need moisture, your fingertips and cuticles absolutely do. The cuticle is a naturally tough piece of skin, but it is prone to cracking and drying out painfully when it isn’t kept well moisturized. If you’re looking for a simple, natural moisturizer for your cuticles, try this homemade herbal body cream. Oh, and while we’re on the subject of cuticles, make sure you never cut them. Your cuticles are a living part of your body, and trimming them will only invite infection.

4. Clean Your Natural Nails with Baking Soda.

Regular hand washing is great for keeping the surface of your nails clean, but they will need some extra attention to get them clean and white underneath. The best way to clean them is to dip a wet toothbrush into baking soda and scrub under each nail. You can also add a few drops of lemon juice or peroxide if you need the extra whitening power.

5. File Your Natural Nails the Right Way.

When I think of nail files, I picture teenage girls from movies going back and forth over their fingernails while chatting with their friends. Turns out the girls in the movies don’t usually file their nails correctly, though. For one, they probably use a typical Emory board with too much grit. Rough nail files do more harm than good to fingernails and should be replaced with very fine nail files. Also, nails should only be filed in one direction, as sawing back and forth weakens the nail.

(Note from Betsy: I recommend crystal etched glass nail files that never wear down, and file smoothly every time!)

6. Try Buffing.

Buffing is the process of polishing your fingernails until they shine. Looking at my nails right now, I can see they are a little dull and not particularly smooth. That’s their natural state, and it usually works just fine for me. However, if you want a more professional or smooth look, using a nail buffer is worth a try. Use caution, though, because too much buffing undermines the natural strength of your nail.

7. Protect Your Nails Naturally.

Since you’re reading this here at DIY Natural, I’m going to assume that you don’t use many household chemicals for cleaning. That’s great for you and great for your nails. If you haven’t completely kicked that habit, though, you really should consider wearing gloves for protection. Household chemicals can weaken and stain your nails with consistent use.

8. Skip the Harmful Chemicals.

Speaking of chemicals, there are many associated with traditional nail care. Most nail polish brands are full of them (read more on this at Organic Gardening), but it’s not nearly as destructive to your nails as the acetone that many nail polish removers contain. Acetone dries out skin, nails, and cuticles. Non-acetone polish removers are not quite as harmful as acetone, but they do still have a drying effect and contain a myriad of chemicals.

9. Try Natural, Organic Nail Polish.

Sometimes you just want to paint your nails. For special events, or if nail color is just your thing, there are less-harmful options available. There are several water-based nail enamels on the market now that don’t contain the harmful chemicals of traditional nail polish, and also come off with water or simple alcohol.

10. Know When to Leave Your Nails Alone.

While upkeep and care for your nails are important, sometimes it’s best to leave them alone. Biting your nails, picking at them (I’ve already admitted that I’m guilty of that one, oops!), pulling at hangnails – all of those things will lead to painful problems.

How about you? Do you have tricks for having pretty, natural nails?

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Perhaps you’re determined to stop biting your nails or peeling off your gel polish (it’s a hard habit to break, I get it). Or maybe just want to maintain your nail health (yes, please!) or learn how to fake a just-from-the-salon type of mani (also yes). Whatever the case, you’ll want to put nail pro (and Sally Hansen’s Global Color Ambassador) Madeline Poole’s advice into action asap. Here, 12 things you need to stop doing to your nails now to keep them in tip-top shape.

1. Stop … peeling off your gel mani. “The no. 1 thing I tell people not to do is peel off their gel manicure,” Poole says. “Because, as you peel the gel off, you end up peeling away super-thin layers of your nail along with the formula, which can cause divots that linger for months. Doing this can even cause your nail to peel after the fact, which will cause your polish to chip faster; plus, it just won’t look pretty.” Instead, Poole recommends soaking your nails in a bowl of acetone-based polish to loosen the gel from your nail bed. “Put a ton of cuticle oil on and around your nails first (to help hydrate them and the skin surrounding it), and soak your tips in the remover for 10 minutes,” she explains. Then, gently remove it using light pressure and the flat, slanted tip of an orange stick (a long wooden cuticle pusher) that you can pick up at any beauty supply shop or drugstore.

RUBEN CHAMORRO/KATIE BUCKLEITNER

2. Stop … cutting your cuticles. If you have a hangnail on the side of your nail bed, it can sometimes be painful if you don’t get rid of it. However, if hangnails aren’t trimmed away properly, you can actually cause more to crop up. Poole’s advice: It’s better to never cut your cuticles and instead, apply a cuticle-removing formula over the perimeter of your nail bed, and then push your cuticle back using the flat tip of an orange stick or cuticle pusher. Then, gently remove the free-up dead skin with a tissue or the softest side of a buffing block to reveal a hangnail-free, clean-looking nail bed. Try Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover and The Body Shop Nail Block.

RUBEN CHAMORRO/KATIE BUCKLEITNER

3. Stop … using your other nails as chisels to chip off your nail polish. Anytime you purposely chip the paint off of your nails (whether it’s a nervous habit or you’re just finally over that burgundy lacquer), you chip away microscopic layers from your nail bed. This is bad for two reasons: (1) it gives your nail a rough texture even if you can’t see it with your naked eye, and (2) “you can cause trauma to, and even chip or break the tip, of the nail that you’re using as the ‘chisel,’” Poole adds. So, to keep from hacking away at your nail polish, keep individually wrapped nail polish remover pads in your purse or pick up a nail polish removing formula that takes off lacquer in seconds. Try Beauty 360 Original Nail Polish Remover Pads or Sephora Instant Nail Polish Remover.

RUBEN CHAMORRO/KATIE BUCKLEITNER

4. Stop … getting water-based manicures. Think of your nail bed as a sponge: Dip it in water, and it’ll absorb the liquid and expand. Then, as it dries, it shrinks back down to its original size. Now apply that same thinking to getting a water-based manicure. “When you soak your fingertips in water to soften your cuticles, your nail expands,” Poole explains. “This normally wouldn’t be a problem; however, if you’re applying polish before it shrinks back down, your lacquer will likely chip faster.” Rather than soaking your tips in water, Poole recommends applying oil or a cuticle-removing formula on the skin around your nail bed, pushing back your cuticles with an orange stick, and then sweeping them away with a tissue. Try Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Remover and CND Solar Oil Nail and Cuticle Conditioner.

RUBEN CHAMORRO/KATIE BUCKLEITNER

5. Stop … putting nail polish remover in your lacquer to thin it out. “This tip is an old wives’ tale from way back when,” Poole says. “Adding remover to any polish actually actually makes the paint chip faster and the pigment become foggy, because nail polish remover isn’t one of the ingredients in nail polish. So it just ends up making the paint look less vibrant versus turning your gummy polish smooth.” If extending the life of your polish is your ultimate goal, get nail polish thinner and add a few drops to your favorite shade to make thick polish swipe on evenly again. “If you add too much thinner too often though, the longevity of your polish might not be as lengthy as if you didn’t use it,” Poole warns. “It won’t mess up the quality though.” Try OPI Nail Lacquer Thinner.

RUBEN CHAMORRO/KATIE BUCKLEITNER

6. Stop … getting acrylics. Bottom line: Acrylics are really bad for your nails’ health. Not only is the formula super drying, because it’s actually suffocating to your nail bed, the application process can also cause indentations on your tips from all of the rough prep that needs to be done by the nail tech to get the acrylic to adhere to your nails. “Let’s not forget to mention how bad it is to breathe in the acrylic powder, which is full of chemicals,” Poole adds. If you want to take your nail lengths to the next level while also keeping health risks at bay, Poole prefers press-ons. “They’re way less traumatizing to the nail — and you can do them yourself,” she adds. Try Kiss Nails Impress Gel Manicure.

RUBEN CHAMORRO/KATIE BUCKLEITNER

7. Stop … sawing your nails back and forth when you file them. “I usually liken sawing your nails back and forth to cutting your hair with a dull pair of scissors,” she says. “When you aggressively saw your nails with a file, it makes the tip frayed versus a clean edge. You also have less control over the shape you’re trying to create — oval, square, round, etc. — since your nail shaves down quicker when you file it too fast. “Sometimes if the manicurist is too aggressive with the file, you can even see your nail move back and forth, like a loose tooth,” she notes. This is exactly what you want to avoid — especially because all of the above is a gateway for peeling and premature breakage, since the harsh trauma of filing causes weakness.

RUBEN CHAMORRO/KATIE BUCKLEITNER

What’s the right way to file your nails? “You get the smoothest, fray-free finish when you file from the side of your nail to the center in one direction, lifting the file away from the nail, and returning to the starting point where your skin and nail connect,” Poole explains. “By using this technique, you get less of a ragged tip — plus, the fluid filing movement is less traumatic to your nail bed.” If you’ve already frayed the eff out of your free edge (aka the tip of your nail), Poole suggests trimming them ever so slightly, and then reshaping them using the fluid motion filing technique. Finally, massage some nail oil over your tips to help hydrate them. Try using a washable glass file that won’t be too harsh on your tips, like Swissco Emery Glass Nail File.

RUBEN CHAMORRO/KATIE BUCKLEITNER

8. Stop … biting your nails. Biting your nails can be compared to filing them improperly. Not only does gnawing on them make their edges frayed, soaking them in a liquid aka your saliva makes them super weak. Plus, the whole experience isn’t sanitary, especially because debris, dirt, and bacteria is lodged up under your nail and is possibly going into your mouth. Eek! Have a habit you can’t quit? Poole suggests getting one coat of clear gel on your nails because “it’s too thick to bite through.” Or, you can paint on a gross-tasting formula to deter you from putting your fingers in your mouth. Try Barielle Nails Don’t Bite Pro-Growth or Mavala Stop Nail Biting Formula.

RUBEN CHAMORRO/KATIE BUCKLEITNER

9. Stop … painting over oily nails. Sure, you want your nails and the skin surrounding your tips to be hydrated and hangnail-free, but applying polish over oily nail beds isn’t going to leave you with a longest-lasting manicure. “You want to start with the driest nails possible,” Poole instructs. “After you’ve done all of the steps — gently filed your nails, safely removed your cuticles, and moisturized your hands with oil or lotion — wipe only your nail beds down with a nail polish remover wipe (or dip a cotton swab into some remover and clear away any oil that way). Then, start with your base coat, add polish, and finish with top coat. Try Cutex Nail Polish Remover Pads.

RUBEN CHAMORRO/KATIE BUCKLEITNER

10. Stop … shaking your polish to mix it up. When your polish sits for too long without being used, it settles and the ingredients separate. To properly mix the polish together again, roll the bottle between your hands rather than shaking it, since the latter creates air bubbles in the formula that can also show up as tiny bubbles on your nails when you paint them.

RUBEN CHAMORRO/KATIE BUCKLEITNER RUBEN CHAMORRO/KATIE BUCKLEITNER

11. Stop … using cotton balls to remove your polish. The reasoning behind this seems like a no-brainer, but it’s always been a habit of mine to use a cotton ball, so I think it’s important to note: cotton balls = fuzzies left on your nail aka your manicure will be ruined. Whereas, paper towels don’t leave behind fuzz, so Poole recommends using them instead. Try Bounty Paper Towels.

RUBEN CHAMORRO/KATIE BUCKLEITNER

12. Stop … painting on thick layers of polish. Coating on a lot of layers means you’ll literally be watching paint dry (on your fingertips) for the next who knows how many hours, because they’ll take longer to fully harden. Plus, too many layers mean your application could end up looking bubbly or uneven rather than smooth. To make sure your mani comes out looking profesh, stick to two coats and allow proper drying time in between each one. “If you wait for the paint to dry in between coats, it allows all of the air to escape the formula and really seals the lacquer on your nail before applying the next coat,” Poole says. “This is the secret to a professional, long-lasting manicure. I’m also not against quick dry formulas if you don’t have a ton of time; I use the Sally Hansen InstaDry Top Coat, which is pretty amazing.” Her foolproof trick to a flawless paint job: Start with your pinky finger on your left hand and work toward the opposite pinky finger; when you land at your right hand’s pinky nail, it’s safe to begin the second coat on your left hand.

RUBEN CHAMORRO/KATIE BUCKLEITNER

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Carly Cardellino Carly Cardellino was the beauty director at Cosmopolitan.

Get gorgeous nails for summertime without all the nasty chemicals.

You don’t have to visit the salon on a regular basis in order to have beautiful nails. The combination of a well-balanced diet, a thoughtful beauty regimen, and good personal hygiene can give you salon-worthy nails at a fraction of the cost and chemical burden.

1. Use moisturizer

When rubbing lotion or oil into your hands, make sure you work it into the cuticles and nails, too. Regular handwashing or use of hand sanitizer can dry out the skin and nail bed quickly, so try to moisturize after every wash, if possible. Coconut oil is excellent for rubbing into your nails and cuticles.

2. Care for your cuticles

Avoid having your cuticles trimmed during a manicure. Cuticles are meant to be a barrier for bacteria, and cutting them can lead to painful infections. You can moisten and push them back with a cuticle pusher, and trim away only dead pieces of skin.

If you’re planning on having a conventional manicure done, then at least protect your cuticles by dabbing with olive oil or almond oil prior, in order to reduce the amount of chemical that soaks in from the polish.

3. Avoid using harsh polish

Nail polish typically contains very toxic chemicals such as toluene, dibutyl phthalate, dimethyl and diethyl phthalates, camphor, and formaldehyde. Fortunately, companies such as OPI, Orly, Sally Hansen, and Revlon make some polishes that do not contain these chemicals, but make sure you read the label carefully before purchasing. You can also buy water-based polishes, which don’t last as long but are the safest option out there.

4. Seek out alternatives

There are companies now making less toxic polishes and removers. Check out the following list and take your favorite color along when you go to the salon for your next pedicure.

Suncoat

Scotch Naturals

Acquarella

SpaRitual

Deborah Lippman

Priti

No-Miss Nail Care

5. Buff instead of color

It may not be as fancy or eye-catching as color, but a bit of buffing can go a long ways. Take the time to trim, file, and buff your nails properly and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how great they can look, despite being au naturel. Never saw back and forth with a file because that can weaken your nails. Always file from the outside edge of the nail inward.

6. Choose a good remover

You can get acetone-free remover almost anywhere, which is less harsh on your nails. Priti sells a remover made entirely from soy and corn, and No-Miss has one called Almost Natural that contains fruit acids and vanilla.

7. Make a natural nail-strengthening treatment

This recipe comes from a book called There’s Lead in Your Lipstick by Gill Deacon.

Mix: 2 tsp castor oil, 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp wheat germ oil. Mix and keep in a sealed bottle. Rub a small amount onto your nails. Leave for 3 to 5 minutes. Wipe off. Makes enough for 20 to 30 applications.

8. Eat well

Diet is very important to maintaining healthy nails. Protein is crucial, as are omega-3 fatty acids. Eating foods with vitamin B reduces brittleness; zinc gets rid of white spots; iron prevents ridges from forming; calcium keeps them strong; vitamins A and C prevents dullness and drying. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Back in the early days of my blog, I was painting my nails every week, in almost every color under the sun – from a bright golden yellows and multi-dimensional corals to edgy navy and blacks. These past few months though, I’ve been sporting bare nails the majority of the time, with the occasional nude polish thrown into the mix. Perhaps my routine changed out of a subconscious desire to live more minimally (I have been slowing scaling down my polish collection, and opting for cleaner, lower maintenance looks lately). Or maybe it’s due to laziness. I like to think it’s a combination of the two. 🙂 Either way, here’s a look at my most current nail care routine…

Step 1: Clean ’em up

The first step is to prep the nails, starting with a quick clean-up of the cuticles. I’ll grab my favorite cuticle softener/remover – Julep’s Vanish – add a drop on each nail, massage the drops in and then gently push back the cuticles using my own nails (I feel like that gives me the most control versus all the tools they have out there). It instantly dissolves any skin that’s grow up on my nail and makes the rest softer and easier to push back. Because it is super strong though, you don’t want to leave this on past 1-2 minutes. To finish up, I’ll rinse off my nails with soap and water. I don’t typically cut them since the cuticles are there for a reason – to protect your nails and reduce the risk of infections – however I will trim any loose skin around the sides with tiny scissors.

Step 2: Trim & file

Next, I’ll do the ushe – a good trim with my favorite nail clippers that I picked up on Amazon. Boy do they beat out all the ones I’ve ever bought from a drugstore. They feel solid, the top knobby thing doesn’t detached every time I take them out, and the cutters are straight, sharp and cut cleanly with little force. Yes, a new pair of cutters can be life changing (at least during our manis). 😛

To smooth out the edges, I’ll use one of the best gifts my Grandma ever gifted me (in terms of what I ended up using the most throughout the years) – a diamond nail file. Before, I used to use those cheaper, rougher files that felt like sandpaper. They’d tug and pull on my nail and never quite give me a smooth edge. The diamond file on the other hand, files super finely and smooths in seconds, plus they seem to last forever (I’d had mine for 7+ years).

Step 3: Buff

I never used to buff my nails until I was sheepishly drawn in by one of those salespeople at those mall stands selling hand & body care kits. They took my hand and after about 30 long seconds of them rubbing some magic block on my nails, they had me inspect them and I was slightly wowed – they were super smooth and glossy. I ended up grabbing a buffing stick for myself, and now I use it before every mani (i.e. about one a month, not too often – you don’t want to over file your nails, only smooth out the ridges a bit). Supposedly this helps your nail polish last longer. And of course, a smooth surface and a little extra shine helps elevate the look of bare nails.

Step 4: Moisturize

Next, I’ll moisturize the nails using NCLA’s So Rich Vitamin E-Infused Cuticle Oil, which smells amazing – very warm and comforting – and works instantly to soften my cuticles and re-hydrate the entire nail area. For the hands, any old moisturizer does the trick. I have about 5 tubes lying all around my apartment at the moment (thanks Winter!) so I’ll grab whatever is nearest to my ever changing manicure station – my work desk, living room coffee table, bedroom nightstand – they’re all stocked. Once the hands are lotion-ed up, I’ll relax for a few minutes and give everything some time to soak in. Then before moving onto the next step, I’ll wipe my nails with a little polish remover.

Step 5: Treatment & (Maybe) Polish

Finally, I’ll make the decision on whether to go completely bare or add some polish. If I go bare, I’ll add a quick coat of Perfect Formula’s Pink Gel Coat. I got this in a Glossybox last year, and every time I reach for it, I’m always impressed by how well it manages to brighten and whiten my nails. To top it off, it also smooths everything out and adds a glossy gel-like finish. It’s like a mini mani in a bottle (and works great as a base coat too)! Here’s a little before & after, using just one thin coat…

Perfect Formula’s Pink Gel Coat before (right) & after (left)

If I’m in the polish mood, I’ll grab a shade from my little collection of Salon Perfect’s Naked Nutrients. I just discovered Salon Perfect last year and have been incredibly impressed by their formulas. They apply smoothly and evenly with virtually no striking, they’re incredibly pigmented (even with the light colors/nudes, I only need to use 1 to 2 coats max), and they last a good week on me without chipping (assuming I’m not hand-washing loads of dishes and ‘acting like a lady’ for 7 days straight – no mountain biking or putting IKEA shelves together). My go-to shades from their Naked Nutrients collection include Whipped Cream Kisses and Sea Shell Sweetie (the one I’m wearing here). They seem to only sell these in stores at Walmart, so they’re a bit difficult to find. However, if you ever do come across them, I recommend grabbing a few!

Layered wrap bracelet from Victoria Emerson

So that’s my nail care routine! Sounds a bit lengthy, I know, but it typically only takes me 15 minutes, and leaves me a little less self-conscious about showing my nails in my blog and Instagram photos. 😛

Bracelet from Gorjana, rings from Baublebar

Shop the post…

What does your nail care routine look like? Have any long-time product favorites?

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Tips of Natural Nail Care And Treatments

Are you struggling with brittle and weak nails?

Maintaining long and healthy nails can be a difficult task if you do not take care of your nails at home. Going to a nail salon every day for care and treatment might not be possible for everybody. However, if you don’t have the time for regular nail salon visits you can always take care of your own nails at home.

Apart from getting a nail spa done, here are some home treatments and tips that work well in maintaining healthy nails:

  • Maintain a well-balanced diet.

This goes without saying that what you eat reflects on your body. Your nails take nutrients from your food and maintaining a healthy diet helps you get long and shiny nails without any salon treatments. Nails can also depict some serious nutrient deficiencies. Taking a diet rich in protein and calcium is very essential to maintain your natural nail health. Include more dairy, legumes and green leafy vegetables in your diet for maximum benefits. Drink a lot of water too.

  • Give your nails some time to breathe between nail polishes.

This is one of the most common mistakes committed by girls. They keep putting nail polish after nail polish without thinking about their nail health. Your nail bed also needs time to breathe to get rid of the chemicals and the alcohol seepage due to regular application of nail polishes. Take a break of 3-4 days before applying a fresh coat of nail paint and avoid using too many coats of nail polish.

  • Use a good nail polish remover.

Avoid using removers that contain a lot of alcohol as this can dry out your nails and make them brittle over a period of time. Go for a nail polish remover that contains a mild solvent and has a non-acetone formula. These formulas are gentle on the nails and remove nail polish effectively. Also, do not rub your nails roughly when removing nail polish but gently keep the soaked cotton ball on the nails and remove with a few gentle wipes.

  • Avoid contact with chemicals.

Using a lot of cleaning agents and supplies to keep your home clean can actually take a toll on your nails as these cleaning products are made up of chemicals that strip the moisture from your nails. Do not use these chemicals barehanded and always wear gloves to protect your nails and skin.

  • Buff and file your nails regularly.

Taking care of your nails does not mean that you do not cut them. Cutting nails at regular intervals helps them to grow evenly and maintains the shape of your nails. Some people over-buff their nails which can remove the outer protective layer of the nails and makes them vulnerable to infections and injuries. Gently buffing them, however, has a lot of benefits as it gets rid of dead cells and makes your nails look shiny and healthy.

  • Massage the cuticles with warm cuticle oil before sleeping.

Cuticles form an important part of nail health and keeping your cuticles healthy can keep your nails healthy too. There are many good cuticle oils available in the market and using some warm cuticle oil to massage your nail area at night can go a long way in protecting your nails and supplementing their growth.

  • Do not cut your nails too close to the cuticle.

Damaged cuticles can be very painful and can hinder nail growth significantly. Natural nail care should involve the cuticle area too and one of the most important tips is to not cut your nails too close to the cuticle. This can cause infections and can also expose your skin to the outside environment. Keep your nails trimmed properly and leave a little extra space near the cuticle.

  • Take biotin supplements regularly after discussing with your dietician.

Vitamin supplements help a lot in maintaining healthy nails as we do not get a lot of these vitamins through our natural diet. Multivitamin supplements help to fortify your nails and improve their natural shine as well. Supplements which contain biotin should be preferred as this vitamin helps in nail and hair growth significantly.

  • Avoid excess exposure to water.

Prolonged exposure to water can shrink your skin as water removes the natural moisture and leaves the nails weak and dehydrated. If you clean dishes, wear gloves so that your nails and hands are protected from continuous exposure to water. If you expose your nails to water for a long period of time, hydrate and moisturize them after exposure to bring back the natural moisture.

  • Limit using fake acrylic nails very frequently.

Fake nails are stuck on the natural nails using glue and this creates a breeding space for fungus between your actual nail and acrylic nail. The glue used to stick these nails is also not of very good quality and can cause painful infections and injuries if used very frequently. If you have to get acrylic nails done, go to a reputed salon to get better results and minimize risks.

Now that we have shared some basic yet very important tips to take care of your nails naturally, here are some natural nail treatments you can try at home to maintain and improve the condition of your nails:

  • Nail Strengthener.

Mix 1 tbsp. honey and 1 tbsp. lemon juice with 1/4th cup of olive oil and some salt and warm up this solution using the double boiler method. Place a pan filled with some water on stove and gently keep the bowl of the above solution in the water in a way that water doesn’t enter the pan. When the solution warms up, take it off the heat and soak your nails in it for 10-15 minutes. Wash your nails with some water and soap after 15 minutes and wipe them dry to get healthier and stronger nails.

  • Cuticle Softening Cream

Make this cuticle cream at home by mixing 2 Tbsp. whipped Shea butter with one tsp. jojoba oil and 1 tsp. coconut oil along with your favorite essential oils. Whip some Shea butter in a bowl and add the two oils before whisking it again to smooth consistency. Add a few drops of essential oils like chamomile and lavender to the mixture and pour it in a small tub. Use this cream every day at night to nourish and moisturize your cuticles and nails easily.

  • Nail Soak For Weak Nails.

Mix some sea salt with lemon juice and wheat germ essential oil to make a DIY nail soak for weak nails. Make sure that you use a smooth-grain sea salt and soak your nails in this mixture for 10 minutes once a week to strengthen your nails. You can also use apple cider vinegar and water to create this soaking solution as this vinegar is rich in nutrients and is used in many DIY home remedies for skin, nails, and hair. You can also use lemon essential oil in place of lemon juice for making the mixture more hydrating and nourishing.

  • Tea Tree Antifungal Solution For Infections.

Nails can also become weak and brittle due to fungal infections and this solution will keep these infections at bay. Tea tree oil is a very common antifungal agent and also treats discoloration in nails. Since undiluted tea tree oil is very strong, it is always advised to use it in the diluted form. Mix a few drops of this oil with olive oil or water and then apply the mixture on your nails. Leave it for 30 minutes before wiping it off and washing your nails with water.

  • Protein Treatment Mask.

Lack of protein and calcium in the body is one of the most common causes of weak and dull nails. Make this protein treatment mask at home using egg yolk and milk as both these ingredients are rich in protein and calcium. Mix an egg yolk with 2 tbsp. of milk and beat the mixture to get a smooth consistency. Apply this mask on your nails and massage it for a few minutes to help it get absorbed easily. Wash it with warm water after 10-15 minutes.

  • DIY Beer Treatment.

Beer is very rich in nutrients and minerals that are essential for nail growth and this beer solution will keep your nails healthy and protected. Mix 2 parts of beer with 1 part each of apple cider vinegar and some warm olive oil and soak your nails in the mixture for 10-15 minutes. Repeat this treatment once or twice a week for best results and if you have very weak nails.

So these were some of the most important natural nail care tips and treatments which can be easily followed to get healthy and strong nails. These tips should be followed regularly along with regular nail spa sessions to get the desired results and these home treatments can save you a lot of time and money.

Have you used these home treatments before? What is your favorite nail care tip out of the ones listed above?

Nail-clipping should be straightforward enough—trim them when they get long, roughly every few weeks. But that baseline regimen barely scratches the surface of proper nail care. With the right adjustments and intel, you can prevent hangnails, minimize trimmings, and maintain smooth geometric perfection. No need to see a manicurist, either: You can do it all from the comfort of your toilet seat.

We spoke with celebrity manicurist Deborah Lippmann, whose nail care brand is adored (and adorned) by all of your female friends. The cuticle expert gave us her top ten tips—one tip for every digit—to get your nail care game where it needs to be:

1. Don’t cut straight across

When cutting your fingernails, be certain you’re using one of those smaller, rounded-blade clippers; they’re the ones designed for fingers, and they work well on your smaller toes. (Check out our favorite nail clippers.) The large, straight-blade nail clipper in your dopp kit is for your big toe.

When using the rounded fingernail clippers, you still need to cut the nails at an angle, since the curve of the blade doesn’t match the curve of your nail. “A common mistake men and women make when trimming their own nails is the angle at which they approach it,” says Lippmann. “Clipping straight-on can bend and ultimately damage the nail.”

Instead, you should be clipping the nail three or four times as you travel across the top.

2. The nails should (literally) reflect your cuticles

If you’re unsure of what shape your nails should have, just look at your cuticles. Imagine your nail as an oval—an odd oval, yes. The U-shape of the cuticle should be reflected (upside down) by the top of your nail. And, since the top is often wider than the cuticle, you may have to adjust for size; the primary goal here is to mirror the shape.

3. Leave a little white

As for nail length, there’s a small spectrum of acceptable lengths. You should leave at least a sliver of “white” at the top of your nails—that space where the nail starts to separate from the skin it protects. (One or two millimeters, in our book.) If you look at your fingers from the side, the whites of the nails shouldn’t be so long that they start to divorce the rounded shape of the finger. If the nail is so long that it extends past the fingertips, you’re due for a trim.

It’s easy to get all nails to a standard length: “Look at all ten nails and pick out the shortest, or that with the smallest amount of ‘white’ at the tip,” says Lippmann. “Use that nail as a reference to ensure all nails are being filed to a uniform length and shape.”

4. Start filing your nails, and do it right

You’re not going to get a smooth, perfect cut with the nail clippers—that’s just step one. And, while many clippers come with a built-in file, it’s a sub-par option compared to an emory board file. “An emory board is how you get even nails, shaped to perfection,” says Lippmann. You can use one to smoothen the arch of the nails after a trim, or you can file your nails every few days to maintain a standard length.

Lippmann stresses that you should never ‘saw’ back and forth on the tip of the nail. “Instead, gently run the file across the nail in one direction, beginning at the outside edge, pull up towards the center and repeat,” she says. “Remember to use gentle motions to prevent breakage.” Lastly, don’t hold the file flush to the nail. You should tilt it slightly back, and file from below the nail. “This allows you to see exactly what you are doing and helps protect against over-filing,” Lippmann says.

5. Tend to the cuticles

Push and clip your cuticles weekly. That’s the best way to prevent painful hangnails from developing. Many nail clippers have an attachment that helps uproot excess skin. Very gently pry this skin upward so that it’s easy to trim. “These are the only pieces of skin that you should nip,” says Lippmann. “The cuticle protects nails from infection, so if cut improperly, it allows bacteria and fungus to infect the nail bed.”

Caregiving: Fingernail Care

Topic Overview

Nail care is important for health and appearance. Your loved one can accidentally scratch himself or herself (or you) if his or her fingernails are too long. Nails that are dirty or too long—especially in a person who usually cared for his or her nails—also can be a sign that a loved one needs more help with personal care.

Try to take the person for manicures if that is what your loved one wants. It’s a chance to get out and see people and continue a favorite activity.

You can do basic nail care at home. Usually all you need to do is keep the nails clean and at a safe length.

Trimming fingernails

Try to trim the person’s nails every week. Or check them each week to see if they need to be trimmed. It’s easiest to trim nails after the person has had a shower or has washed his or her hands. It makes the nails softer and easier to trim.

To trim the nails:

  1. Before you start, wash and dry your hands. You don’t need to wear gloves.
  2. Use nail polish remover to take off any polish.
  3. Hold the person’s hand steady with one hand while you trim the nails with your other hand. Using fingernail clippers, trim the nails straight across.
  4. The nail length can vary depending on the person’s taste. But in general, keep the nails even with—or not much longer than—the tip of the finger.
  5. Let the nails dry if they are still damp and soft.
  6. Use an emery board to gently smooth the edges of the nails, especially at the corners. They may be sharp after the nail is cut straight.
  7. Apply nail polish, if the person wants it.

General nail care

  • Don’t trim or cut the cuticles. A minor cut in a cuticle could lead to an infection.
  • If you’re helping the person wash his or her hands, wash the underside of the nails with soap and water. This is easiest with a nail brush.
  • Nails tend to get harder with age, and the skin on the hands can become thin and dry. Offer the person hand lotion or moisturizer after washing his or her hands.
  • When you’re washing hands or trimming nails, look for any signs of infection from a cut or other injury. Signs may include pain, swelling, redness, or warmth. This is especially important if the person has diabetes. Call the person’s doctor if the cut doesn’t heal with home treatment, such as antibiotic ointment and a bandage.

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