Every girl often tries to achieve that perfect nail look, however, what they often forget is that it isn’t just about skilled hands and an expensive polish. It’s important to indulge in some sort of nail care as well, which involves a few products and minutes. Neglecting nails is one of the most common beauty blunders and it can result in leukonychia (spots on the nails), hangnails, infections, dead skin, vertical ridges on the nails (often black/brown), nail plate discolourations, etc. And I can assure you, this is never a good look!
Going to the salon isn’t always perfectly healthy for your nails (or your wallet). The harsh treatments sometimes used like cuticle cutting, intensive filing, clipping, toxic chemicals(toluene, formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate to name a few), fake acrylic nails, or even gel polishes are harmful to those tips in the long run. Or some people, including me, might just prefer doing their own routine at home.
Luckily, I’ve got the perfect hacks to maintain your nails and hands. These practices take just a few moments but make a hell of a difference to your hygiene. I guarantee you that these will work, cause they are really the only steps I needed to take my nails from zero to hero. So without more blabber, let’s start with the real deal.
1. Vitamins and Minerals
I truly believe that beauty starts from the inside. When you don’t consume enough nutrients, it shows on your body. Nails are largely composed of a hardened protein ‘keratin’ which is the same material that makes up our hair. The most common deficiencies that cause abnormalities in nails are that of calcium, zinc or B12, but there can be many more. So, it’s important to eat a balanced diet full of a mix of whole foods. Additionally, taking a supplement, like biotin, zinc, vitamin C, folic acid, iron or ones that are specifically designed for the hair skin and nails are a good idea.
2. Avoid injury (to the nail bed)
Accept it or not, a majority of visible patches of discolourations on the nail, are caused due to the damage of the layer of skin beneath known as the ‘nail bed’. This problem can simply be solved by refraining from unnecessary vigorous pressure on the fingertips, like extreme filing.
3. Moisturizing the nails
The root cause of most nail issues is their excessive drying, especially in the winter. It’s crucial to invest in a good quality hand and nail creme, even Vaseline works well for that matter. Just pop on some of it whenever you feel like it or after you wash your hands. Additionally, I would suggest you apply a suitable oil to your hand and toe cuticles every night right before you go to bed. A fast-absorbing oil with the right properties, like coconut oil, olive oil or vitamin E oil gets the job done. You can even go ahead and purchase a small dropper bottle to directly apply it to the desired areas with ease.
4. Frequent At-home Mani & Pedi
I’m just talking about a simple treatment which involves soaking your feet and hands in hot water(optionally, Epsom salt or essential oils can be added) for anywhere between 10 to 30 minutes. Whilst doing that, you can scrub off any dead skin with a pumice stone or foot scrubber and use a tool to remove any dirt under the nail tips. Not only does a hot foot/hand bath clear the skin of dead skin, relieve aches and prevent infections but it also soothes your muscles and decongests the body.
Depending on your needs then, you may follow up with any of the following steps: trimming the nails, shaping them gently using a glass file, pushing the cuticles in to elongate their appearance and clipping away hangnails. I’d recommend for you to purchase a simple manicure kit having around 8-10 pieces (which is highly affordable) with all the tools mentioned above. A picture of one suitable kit is given below for reference.
Such an at-home mini manicure and pedicure should be done at regular intervals. I like to do mine every 2-4 weeks, depending on my mood. Also, keep in mind that if one is just starting to do them, you may have to be more frequent.
5. Other Treatments
A little bit of extra TLC never hurts, right? So show your love to your nails by treating them kindly whenever you can. A drop of a nail serum, cuticle softening gel or nail hardener certainly goes a long way. This can also be purchasing healthier alternatives, for instance, acetone-free polish remover or nail polish with less chemicals. For me, a good-quality basecoat and topcoat is an absolute must when applying nail paint.