My nails are not in the best shape, they are flaky and brittle and every time they get close to having a respectable “white” tip they crack and break. It’s a very frustrating cycle to be in! Last year I worked in waitressing which meant I put a lot of pressure on my nails. I was often polishing glasses and cutlery, cleaning surfaces or washing my hands, (nails HATE water), which meant even if I tried to look after my hands at the start of a 12 hour day they were a bit worse for wear by the end. In saying this you don’t have to give up on achieving your dream nails if your job (or other aspects of your life) take their toll on nail maintenance! As much as I blame my old job for the state of them, I equally blame myself and how I would always slip out of the ‘get-nice-nails’ routine that was giving me results. Anyway this is what works for me, it may work for you too if you’re struggling.
Know your hands/nails:
I have friends who have gorgeous nails no matter what, (some even worked in the SAME job as me), this is just the way it is. Sometimes they look after their nails more (hand cream, base coats, more calcium, vitamins) but unfortunately it can just be in your genes, (I say unfortunately because I’m jealous, of course). Anyway my point is, know which type you are. Are your nails falling apart at the seams because you’re neglecting them? Overworking them? Or are they just naturally weak? The cracks in my nails began through neglecting them and now the condition they are in perpetuates the cycle. Once they start to creep over the edge of my finger the splits and layers say NO and I will inevitably end up breaking them. I have brittle nails that I need to work on strengthening, directly linking to this I often get dry hands which I know adds to the problem, a lack of moisture in the hands can lead to a lack of nail growth (plus it doesn’t feel or look too good either).
Moisturise and Condition:
Once you establish the key problem areas invest in a good hand cream (or a few). I have about four hand creams on the go, partly because they have different strong points but mostly because I like to make sure I have a tube with me at all times and I am notoriously bad at leaving things in different places, if I took my handbag hand cream out I would most definitely end up leaving it beside my bed when I went to work. I think it’s good to have a light hand cream you can top up throughout the day, I use Vaseline Healthy Hands + Stronger Nails or for a treat I use my Laura Mercier Almond Coconut Milk Hand Creme because it smells delicious (even from a distance!) I believe it’s also good to have an intensive hand cream to really work into your cuticles, bare nails (especially after stripping them of polish) and between the fingers, which is where I get dry patches. In the past I’ve used The Body Shop Almond Oil Nail & Hand Cream and I’ve tried Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream (which leaves hands SO soft). Don’t just take my recommendations, there are so many creams out their to get your hands on (haha) so go experiment, not much can go wrong apart from some may be a bit greasy for the day time and some may not tackle dry spots efficiently. Look for something that smells great, absorbs quickly and leaves a soft finish then apply it REGULARLY! My biggest sin in this department is being too lazy (isn’t that always the biggest beauty sin!?) I’m lying in bed and I can feel my hands are dry from washing up or cleansing my face, but my hand cream is somewhere else in the room… so I just fall asleep. It sounds silly but times like these bring me back to square one and it’s important to always maintain the routine that helps your nails to strengthen and grow.
Base & Top Coat
I’ve always heard good things but only started using O.P.I. Nail Envy base coat a couple of months ago and I LOVE it. It really does work wonders, not only has it greatly improved my nail condition and length, it dries in seconds and is really nice and glossy for a nail strengthener. Although it is important to let our nails breathe I try not to stop regular coats of Nail Envy because when nails are bare they can split really easily. When I wear coloured nail polish I make sure I’ve always got this on as the base so it can be working its magic beneath. Which brings me on to my latest purchase (recommended by my flatmate Lucy) which is the Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat. Seeing as I’ve only just started using this I shouldn’t be on the best authority to start dishing out recommendations, however, you only need to work this in to your routine once to see the benefits. It keeps nail polish chip free for a LOT longer and helps you avoid ruining freshly painted nails, plus it adds a healthy shine to any coat of colour. All well and good, but how does this actually help the condition of your nails? Well for me it means I don’t have to be stripping my nails of all their polish so often. Whereas before my nails would be chipped the next day (meaning the ends would be venerable to water damage and cracking) and I would have to put my nails through the ordeal of being stripped down with remover. However, now my polish lasts so much better, I get a good 3/4 days out of polish – sometimes longer, I can give them a rest.
There are other reasons why our nails suffer. It could be something lacking in your diet, your nail polish remover might be too harsh or it can even be certain other things that our hands come in to contact with such as washing up liquid or a harsh cleaning product. Try swapping different aspects of your daily routine to see if there is any changes, use the Fairy Liquid that is kind to hands, or even better wear washing up gloves. Get some more calcium, zinc, Iron and B-12 in your diet (try looking up which foods these can be found in, or opt for supplements) as nails love a dose of these vitamins and minerals.
Get some incentive:
Treat yourself to some new nail colours, It’ll give you a boost that may just keep you on track with your nail care routine. These are my favourite picks for spring (All Barry M – Normal/Gelly). Pease share your nail care secrets as I’m still on the search for the best tips and tricks to ensure healthy, vital nails!
1.Papya 2.Prickly Pear 3.Berry 4.Mint Green 5.Coral