Brittle nails begone.

Updated Sep 21, 2020 @ 12:23 pm
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This story originally appeared on RealSimple.com.

We can all relate to watching our hands become a complete mess during the pandemic, largely due to the skin-irritating combo of constant hand-washing and obsessive use of hand sanitizer. Add a recent move from one apartment to another during the pandemic and my nails went from reasonably healthy to seriously weak and brittle. Since I’m still hesitant to visit a nail salon, I was left with one obvious solution: Figure out which DIY products would work best to restore my nails, cuticles, and hands to good health. Below, seven products that have truly helped.

1

$8, bathandbodyworks.com

I keep a tube of this hand cream next to my laptop every day and try to meditate a little bit while I massage it into my skin, paying particular attention to my cuticles. I don’t know if it's the calming smell (it has just the right ratio of coconut) or the essential fatty acids that condition the skin, but my hands feel way softer every time.

2

$12, ulta.com

Once I'm ready to polish—my nails have to look decent for my endless Zoom calls—I reach for Zoya’s Naked Base, a vegan-friendly product that’s devoid of formaldehyde and several other toxic ingredients. It glides on easily, has a way less overpowering smell than so many other nail products, and dries almost immediately so I can prep for polish. A week later, when I removed both layers, my nails looked and felt a lot stronger.

3

$16, ulta.com

The mere smell of this product puts me in a good mood—as did the results of daily applications; I used this three to four times a day (as recommended). This peptide-infused product (usually found in anti-aging wrinkle remedies) helped treat my raggedy cuticles and softened ingrown nails.

4

$10, ulta.com

This twofer product consists of a nail treatment product and cuticle conditioner, both of which smell great (it comes in a variety of extracts but I prefer orange). I apply two coats of the nail treatment and one coat of the cuticle conditioner. You can also feel good knowing that the orange extract  gives a little extra dose of vitamin C and folic acid.

5

$9, amazon.com

My nails tend to peel more than split, but this product, which contains vitamin E to help moisturize and protect, helps seal my nails with repeated use. Per package directions, apply it to the top and underside of your nails (it needs TLC too!).

6

$6, amazon.com

I keep this cute tin on my nightstand so I can apply it before bed. Made of soothing East African shea butter and sea buckthorn, this USDA organic balm is infused with lemongrass, ginger, geranium, and mandarin essential oils. I apply it over my hands and nails and wear cotton gloves overnight for nourished nails and super-soft hands come morning.

7

$80, oliveandjune.com

I consider this eight-piece kit to be the next best thing to a professional manicure, especially since it comes with everything you need for a salon-ready mani, from cuticle serum and a clean-up brush to a file, buffer, clippers, polish remover pot, and six polishes. It’s a truly next-gen solution to at-home manicures. Best of all, the polishes are curated to reflect the colors of the season and they stay chip-free for a ridiculously long time.