Sadly the phrase ‘hard as nails’ often doesn’t refer to our actual nails! Especially now, when we’re going from hot air conditioning to the damaging sun, our nails can suffer.
Dry, flaky nails affect many of us, making nail polish chip off and growing them difficult. The condition even has a name – Onychoschisis – which means the splitting of nails at the end.
But you needn’t be stuck with them…read on for our top tips and tricks to get your nails as strong and beautiful as they can be, all year round.
Firstly, Consider The Cause
There are many reasons for nail peeling, from iron, vitamin C and other vitamin deficiency to the menopause, gluten intolerance and fungal and yeast infections.
As with all health and beauty concerns, be sure to eat the most varied, natural and nutritious diet you can. Nails need regular protein (poultry, fish, meat, eggs, beans nuts), food high in silica, a mineral needed to cross-link the proteins in the nail (wholegrain, oatmeal, rice bran, green leafy veg, carrots, nuts and seeds), vitamin C (berries, citrus, green leafy veg) and biotin (unrefined grains, green leaves, nut, seeds, kelp).
If you are visiting a beauty salon for your nails but they’re still peeling, make sure the equipment is properly sanitized.
If you think you might have a vitamin deficiency or your nail peeling is extreme or long lasting, see your doctor.
Avoid Tips and Gels!
We know this is terrible news for some of you out there but consider this: every time you add acrylic tips to your nails, the filing down of your nail reduces its thickness and durability which increases the likelihood to break and peel.
The same goes for long-lasting gel polishes; as Dermatologist Heidi Waldorf says, they cause ‘nail brittleness, dryness and thinning as it has a combination of the chemicals in the formula that make it hold on to the nail.’
If you can’t live without…ask your manicurist to minimize the filing.
Protect To Perfect
Moisturise! This is especially important after you wash your hands and if you’re spending a lot of time in air conditioned environments. We recommend using a hand cream with natural oils and carrying a small pot with you for on the go moisture boosts. Some of the hand creams we love at People’s are:
- Yes to Coconut
- Queen Helen 100% Cocoa Butter stick
- Cuticura Intensive Hand & Nail Cream
- Eos Hand Lotion
- O’Keeffe’s Working Hand Hand Cream
Wear Gloves: jobs like washing the dishes, general cleaning and working with our hands outdoors expose our nails to chemicals and over-washing, causing our nails to become softer and peel. Use rubber gloves when doing your chores, and after you’re finished, top up with a hand cream. We also love these moisturizing gloves…just pop them on when watching TV and relaxing!
- Earth Therapeutics Aloe Moisture Gloves
- Ecotools Spa Moisture Gloves
Use Cuticle & Nail Oil: We’re big fans of beauty oils, especially those enriched with pure essential oils. According to Dr. Wenjay Sung, a podiatrist in Los Angeles, ”unlike creams, oils do a better job of soaking into the nail bed and moisturize the structural toenail bed.” You don’t have to buy anything too fancy…soaking your nails in vegetable oil for 10-15 minutes a day can make a huge difference! The best time to use a nourishing cuticle oil is before bed, when your nails will have the greatest chance of repairing as they’re not being used. Some of the cuticle and nail products we love include:
- Badger Cuticle Care
- Sally Hansen 18k Gold Cuticle Eraser
- Sally Hansen Gel Cuticle Remover
File In One Direction: If you’re using a coarse file, it’s best to file in one direction only to avoid splitting your nail from the top. If you can, invest in a crystal file which seals your nail as you go, minimizing small splits. They also last years!
Use Protecting Polish Remover: Removing polish is damaging for our nails whatever polish we use, so we recommend using the most nourishing polish possible. We love this Cutex Nourishing Nail Polish Remover which helps to minimise the damage.
When Polishing, Protect First! Our 5 Step Home Nail Painting Guide:
It may take a little extra time, but following these 5 steps when painting your nails will help to protect them so much better and make your polish last longer.
1. Start with a strengthening polish. This will help to ensure that your nails are being nourished and gives your nails a protective base layer between the colour, preventing stains.
We recommend these strengthening polishes:
- Ultra Nails Nail Strengthener – a natural strengthener using Aloe Vera, Protein and Vitamins to enhance your nails
- Sally Hansen 18k Gold Hardener – using real 18k gold, this strength treatment claims to instantly harden nails and lock in moisture
- Sally Hansen Miracle Cure – this is for ‘severe problem nails,’ offering a guarantee on 50% stronger nails in 3 days!
2. Apply a base coat. We love the Sally Hansen Smooth & Strong Base Coat, which can double up to save you time on Step 1 if you’re in a fix:
3. Pick and paint your colour! We love O.P.I. colours for their wider brush that’s easier and quicker to apply…and if you have the time, always try to do two coats of your colour.
4. Use a top coat. This will seal in the colour and protect your look. Try not to paint it over the skin on the side of your nails as that can dry the skin out and cause painful cuticle tags and peeling. Our favourite top coats are:
- Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat
- O.P.I. Plumping Volumizing Top Coat
5. Finish off with oil. Once your polish is touch-dry, put a drop or two of oil at the base of your nail and gently smooth over your nail. Any essential oil will work so pick your favourite scent! This not only helps to nourish your cuticles but also helps your fresh polish to last longer by minimising early chips or smudges as the polish dries hard.
As Elizabeth Danish says, repairing flaking nails can take time. Be patient as you create new habits..in time they will start to look and feel stronger. Good luck and enjoy showing your beautiful strong nails off!
All products featured in this blog are available for purchase at People’s.