Sarah Kane
November 20, 2013 10:00 am

Nails are a major focal point of the beauty industry, so having a healthy set of nails is essential now more than ever. Since the seasonal shift, and decline in temperature, exposing yourself to harsher weather conditions takes its toll, especially on your hands. Winter is the perfect time to adopt new nail care methods to give your nails a boost from the inside out.

I get asked if my nails are natural A LOT. It’s taken some serious commitment to my nail care routine, but growing nails is a process! Remember that it takes time, and can be a real challenge. It will probably take about three weeks to see results, but if you just dedicate a few minutes to taking care of your nails every day, you’ll start to see a difference.

Here are five tips to achieve healthier nails:

1. Keep your hands moisturized

This is the easiest way to be on your way to healthier hands, fingers and nails! I always carry hand lotion and some sort of cuticle balm in my purse. Some companies also make to-go cuticle oil pens, which work just as well, it all depends on your personal preference. I also tell my clients to put cuticle oil on every night. That gives it time to absorb and it’s less likely to rub off. It also helps to massage it into your cuticles to increase the circulation and stimulates the nail matrix (where the nail grows). CND Solar Oil is my favorite, and we use it at the salon I work at. It keeps my nails and cuticles healthy and it smells intoxicatingly good. If you can’t splurge on cuticle oil, get creative with your treatment by finding products around the house! You can use olive oil, coconut oil or even petroleum jelly.

Another tip for nail growth is to keep your entire body moisturized by drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated! This will do wonders for the overall health of your body, but will also benefit your fingernails and cuticles.

2. Keep your fingernails clean & dry

Try not to overdo hand washing and limit contact with chemical cleaners. You want to minimize water exposure to your nails. Constant wetting & drying dehydrates the your nail bed, which can cause nails to become brittle, dry, cracked or even start to peel. Wear gloves when washing dishes, cleaning or handling harsh chemicals. If you work in a field that requires a lot of hand washing, slather on some lotion to try and make up for it.

3. Don’t Use Your Nails As Tools!

“Your nails are like jewels, don’t use them like tools.” Essie Weingarten is totally right! Nails are handy for a number of reasons, but almost all of us guilty of abusing our nails. Avoid using your nails to open a box or a jar, or to scratch and pry off a sticker, or to open a can of Diet Coke. Basically anything that puts additional stress on the nail plate is NOT GOOD. Nails are there to protect the tips of your fingers from injury, and eventually, that stress could end in some serious nail damage. It’s a much better idea to use a real tool instead, otherwise you’re asking for trouble.

4. Take a vitamin supplement

Biotin is a B vitamin that is found naturally in a number of foods, but is also available as a supplement. It benefits your hair, skin and nails, may increase nail thickness and can help prevent nails from splitting and breaking. There isn’t a lot of scientific evidence to rate the effectiveness of Biotin and nail growth, but a lot of nail techs will tell you that it helps. Just make sure to talk to your doctor before taking any vitamin or other supplement.

Vitamin E is also extremely beneficial – you can take it in pill form OR apply it directly on your nails. Use a needle or pin to poke a small hole in the capsule and then rub the gel directly on the nail.

5. Keep your nails polished

Nail polish actually gives your nails support. It protects them by making them harder so they’re less vulnerable to damage aka less likely to break. Remember to always use base coat, apply two thin coats of colored polish and finish with a top coat. I would suggest giving yourself a full manicure once a week. Not a fan of color? Try clear polish or a nail strengthener.

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