Truth be told, every woman on Earth loves to go on a manicure and pedicure date. And every woman hates to have nails which are so weak and brittle that they go limp, bend, rip, and peel.
So what does a woman do when the nails are in bad shape but there is no time and/or money to go for that mani-pedi session? Luckily for you, we have the answer to that question! Following are tips to help strengthen your nails:
5 Good Habits To Strengthen You Nails
Here are five cost-efficient, yet foolproof ways in which you can get stronger nails without having to go to the (very expensive and time-consuming) nail salon!
1. Follow A Healthy And Balanced Diet
Resist rolling your eyes at this one. Yes, your mother was absolutely right. You must eat your greens. The food that goes into your body is one of the biggest nail strengtheners out there!
Believe it or not, most people actually do not consume the ideal daily amount of raw vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, which in turn leads to a deficiency in essential minerals, vitamins, and other phytonutrients – all of which are necessary elements to keep the nails healthy.
Some of the best foods to help build and keep strong nails are wheat germ, green peas, sunflower seeds, eggs, beans, oatmeal, and salmon. And then there's water! Remember, each and every cell, including the ones in your nails and cuticles, need an adequate quantity of water throughout the day to keep itself hydrated.
2. Make Liberal Use Of Coconut Oil
Any high-end nail spa out there is well aware of the value of coconut oil in a manicure procedure. While we do not condone it for use on your face, don't forget that coconut oil has a wide range of nutrients, is one of the most potent sources of saturated fats on the planet, and is comprised of over 90% percent fatty acids, including medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) – a very rare fatty acid.
By deeply penetrating the cuticles and nail beds, coconut oil delivers all of these (and much more) nutrients directly into the weak and brittle nails, thereby restoring their lost smoothness and strength and repairing peels and ridges. Coconut oil is also a rich source of vitamins (such as Vitamins E, K and B) and iron.
Yet another reason why coconut oil is ideal for skin care is because it has natural anti-fungal and antibacterial properties, which makes it ideal for nail care. All you have to do is apply some coconut oil to the nails and cuticles before you go to bed every night.
3. Make Yourself A DIY Nail Mask
As we've already established, vital nutrient deficiency is one of the most common and prevalent reasons for nails becoming dry and brittle. There are plenty of DIY (do-it-yourself) nail masks that you can make and use to restore those essential nutrients (such as vitamins, amino acids, and minerals) that your nails require to grow long and strong.
Here's a simple DIY strengthening nail mask recipe that you can try out: Mix together one teaspoon of whole milk and one egg white until it is entirely mixed. Thereafter, apply the mixture to the weak nails, making sure that you cover the nail beds and cuticles. Leave it for 15 minutes and then wash it off. To get stronger nails, apply this mask 3-5 times a week.
4. Use Essential Oils
Essential oils are known to contain “plant essences.” In other words, they offer all the active chemical compounds present in a medicinal plant – minus the leaves and stems. Some of the best essential oils for strengthening dry and brittle nails are lemon, lavender, myrrh, and frankincense, among others.
Remember that essential oils are powerful and potent substances to treat brittle nails, and should be used in proper measure. Before applying them to your weak and brittle nails and cuticles, you must always mix them with a ”carrier oil” such as olive or coconut oil, so as to dilute the very powerful plant essences.
5. Take Dietary Supplements
As far as dietary supplements go, there is a lot of hype over which ones are actually effective in treating nails. While that is very much up for debate, one supplement that has been clinically proven to be effective is biotin (a B complex vitamin).
According to research, biotin supplements helped thicken brittle nails by up to 25%.
5 Terrible Habits Which Damage Healthy Nails
Other than making your nails strong, you must also make sure that you do not follow habits which actually contribute to making nails weaker.
Finger and toenails contain keratin – a strong protein compound. When there is a deficiency of keratin, the nails become weak and brittle.
Here are the top five bad habits that contribute to weak nails by breaking down keratin levels:
1. Acetone Nail-Polish Removers
They contain chemicals which strip your nails of their natural moisture, thereby leaving them brittle and vulnerable to peel.
2. Hot Water
Hot water depletes the elasticity of the nails and leads to a quick dehydration of otherwise very healthy nails. A better option here is to use water that is of a more tepid temperature.
3. Cleaning Products
Alcohol-based sanitizers, hand soaps, and dish soaps are all big contributors to weak and brittle nails. To prevent nail damage inflicted by such chemicals, you must use gloves wherever and whenever you can to avoid exposure to the toxins that destroy healthy nails.
4. Nail Picking
Picking – both at your nails as well as at your polish – is one of the best ways to bring your nails down from fantastic to flaking. Trust me, even gel manicures cannot undo the damage done by nail pickers, which is why you must make sure to leave your nails alone and avoid damaging them.
Perhaps one of the biggest bad habits, those of you who are nail biters are already aware of the fact that this is a habit you have to stop if you want beautiful hands with strong nails. In case you're one of those compulsive biters who cannot avoid temptation, you can try keeping your nails clipped as short as possible, or keep a hardening top coat close to prevent biting.