Some of us are blessed with good genetics, our nails are naturally strong. For anyone else dealing with weak or brittle nails, here are a few things to try.
PUT TIME INTO MAINTENANCE
Filing is key.
Carry a nail file around in your purse along with having one at home and use it frequently to keep the edges of your nails smooth. The file should be fine grit, labeled as 240+ is ideal. (Please don’t use any coarse files with a grit below 200 as they are far too abrasive for your natural nails!)
Increase circulation with topical hydration.
Moisturize the nail and skin around the nail with a cuticle oil. Not all oils are made the same, to be the most beneficial the oil must be made of molecules small enough to penetrate the skin. (My favorite is Solid Gold, made by Qtica, which uses jojoba oil along with many other essential oils which seep beautifly into the skin) A little bit goes a long way, experiment with small amounts of product and observe how it melts into your fingertips. Apply gentle pressure to your fingertips while massaging in the oil, spending a few seconds lightly pinching at the base of each nail to increase circulation. This can help to accelerate nail growth!
BEAUTIFUL BOTH INSIDE AND OUT
Drink plenty of water.
We all know the recommended intake is more involved than the 8 glasses a day. Quick easy math: your body weight (in pounds) divided by 2. That number is the realbaseline for how many ounces of water you should be drinking every day. (ie I weigh 112 lbs, therefore I should be drinking at least 56oz) For anyone out there who struggles to drink water I’m sorry to tell you the number goes up from there. Drink a cup of coffee: add 2 more glasses of water, exercising? More water. Spending time in heat? More water. Alcohol consumption? WATER.
If your hair is also under duress, consider looking at your diet and nutrient consumption. Are you eating your veggies? Getting your omega 3 fatty acids? (My mother swears by jello to get her nails growing!) Taking care of yourself internally will always be more effective than topical treatments.
Polish to Protect.
Nail strengtheners: Yes, they can help. Zoya’s naked manicure base coat is one of my favorite brush-on strengthening treatments. Its “nutrient rich formula specifically created to refine the nail surface and to treat damage with a proprietary blend of vitamins, proteins, botanicals and sulfur amino acids that mimic the natural keratin structure of the nail. Supports cellular renewal, oxygenation and hydration improving both flexibility and strength.” Plus it gives a natural shine to the nails and can be worn on its own. A single coat of this nail strengthener should be reapplied several days after the initial application, then removed entirely after another several days.
What about actual colored polish?
Nails absolutely feel stronger after a 4 coat manicure, and those layers of lacquer do help to protect the nails from damage temporarily– but please take your polish off after about a week or so using a high quality nail polish remover such as Zoya’s Remove+. Nails don’t need to breathe, but layers of nail polish do prevent the nail plate from absorbing the oils your skin produces naturally, thus causing dehydration over time.
Finding success: What now?
Ok, you’ve grown the length out a little longer than usual. (Yay!) Now you’ve got some adjustments to make in order to keep from straining your nails. Changing the angle of putting in contact lenses, typing technique will have to shift away from using your fingertips, loose change will need to be picked up using the pads of your fingers, stopping before using your nails to pinch open a stuck storm window–that last one I know from a painful mistake. Overall, you must adjust the way you do everyday things and build new habits. Long nails are a lifestyle commitment! If you suddenly find yourself unable to function go ahead and take a step back; file just a little length back down. Remember, it’s a process, and they will grow back!
Best of luck and stay healthy!