By Sephora Couturier
What is the best way to care for your nails in order to keep them healthy and looking great? There are a plethora of products available and it can be hard to decide which one is best for you. Many products have harsh chemicals that are not the best choice for long time use.
Utilizing natural products is a great alternative and will keep your nails looking and feeling healthy and strong.
Nail Care Tools
It is of the utmost importance to have a good nail clipper to keep nails trimmed so that they don’t break or get caught on anything when they get too long. If you do get a break or snag in your nail, cut it off so that it doesn’t break farther down, which can be painful. A good nail file is also advantageous because once a nail is trimmed, there may be pieces that need to be smoothed and shaped. Find one that has different grit size on each side so that you a have a choice between fine and coarse, depending on your filing needs.
A cuticle pusher is used to push skin away from your nails so that your nails can grow stronger. It is suggested to bring your own tools to your nail salon to decrease the risk of acquiring a fungal infection, which can occur if tools aren’t properly sterilized.
Everyone loves the look of a new manicure, especially for a special occasion. Manicures involve many chemicals, including nail polish remover, nail polish and various tools. As stated in the nail care tool section, if you go to a nail salon, opt to bring your own tools for your manicurist to use. Asking for shellac instead of polish can be less harsh on your nails because it uses material that is similar to what is used in dental sealants. A LED/UV light is used to set the shellac so make sure to wear protective eye-wear if you use one of these lights. Read more about LED and UV nail lamps here.
Using Non-toxic Nail Polishes:
If you must use nail polish, look for brands that are non-toxic/organic and that do not contain the harshest chemicals – formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl phthalate. The nail care world is discovering that more and more customers want these types of products, so they are becoming readily available online, in stores and at nail salons. When that polish needs to come off, there are natural remover alternative. Mixing vinegar with the juice of citrus fruit (lime, lemon, grapefruit or orange) can be a natural, fresh smelling choice. The acid in the vinegar and citrus juice breaks down the nail polish. Another tip is to limit time that shellac or polish is on nails and let nails be natural.
Supplements and Foods for Strong Nails
Biotin is a great supplement to take that can help strengthen weak nails. It is vital in upholding protein production; nails are made of protein. There are also foods that are supportive of healthy nails. Salmon is rich in B12, which helps strengthen nails.
Eggs, Oats & Beans:
Eggs have a high percentage of protein, which is critical for strong fingernails. Beans have a lot of biotin, so you can get your biotin naturally by eating beans. Oats have many micro-nutrients, which help maintain nail health.
Sunflower seeds and green peas contain many vitamins and minerals that contribute to healthy fingernails. Although these foods are good for maintaining healthy nails, they are great for overall health too.
Good Habits for Healthy Nails
Wear gloves when you are gardening, cleaning, and other chores that might affect your nails. Harsh chemicals can damage or weaken nails, so protection is important. Continuous exposure to water can soften nails so water combined with harm chemicals is a detrimental combination.
Don’t Cut Cuticles:
Cutting cuticles can be harmful to your nails because they are there to protect your nail. When that skin around the nail is removed, the nail left open to bacteria and fungus. It is imperative that you do not cut your cuticles.
Although cutting cuticles is frowned upon, moisturizing the cuticles is key to healthy nails. Using coconut oil has many benefits. It is considered an antifungal, so it will protect your nails from nail fungus. It gives moisture and strength to cuticles and makes nails strong, healthy and shiny. It also locks in moisture, which prevents nails from becoming dry and brittle.
Don’t Use your Nail as a Tool!
Another habit to get into to support healthy nails is to use tools to open or pry things instead of your nails. Using your nails to open tight covers or lids or to pull apart tight objects can damage and break your nails. Using tools specific for these jobs will help to keep your nails from breaking or splitting.
Clean them Regularly:
To keep nails clean underneath, clean them with a wet toothbrush and baking soda. It will keep them clean and white, and adding lemon juice will give it an extra whitening boost. Baking soda is a great natural cleaner for personal and home use.
Natural Products for Healthy Nail
As mentioned above, coconut oil is a great moisturizer and protectant for nails. Many essential oils are also a great alternative to chemical-laden products on the marker. The best essential oils for growing healthy nails are myrrh, lemon, lavender, frankincense and geranium. Mixing myrrh essential oil with carrier oil in a roller bottle makes it easy to roll the mixture on nail cuticles as a moisturizer. Soaking your nails in a mixture of olive oil and lemon essential oil is also a great nail moisturizer. Lavender can also be mixed with olive oil as a moisturizing nail soak.
Frankincense essential oil mixed with argan oil is a great nail conditioner. A great nighttime nail massage is a mixture of geranium essential oil with jojoba and rosehip oils. These are all-natural and have a healthy impact on nails as well as other parts and systems in the body.
If having beautiful nails is important to you and you want to keep them healthy naturally, these are all great options. They may not be as convenient as the traditional products or routines, but they will be better for you, your family and the environment.