Even the toughest, most resilient people on the planet can have issues when it comes to weak or unhealthy nails. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, and there are ways to improve!
You want strong nails not just for looks, but also for longevity and overall quality of life. This is especially true if you are into acrylic manicures, gel treatments, and press-on nail kits.
Luckily, there are some solutions to strengthen nails, with a ton of proven science to back them up. Many of them are quick fixes you can do right now at home.
Let’s talk about the best ways to make your nails stronger so you can wear them however you want and enjoy them for many years to come!
Why You Nails May Be Weak
You’re probably wondering why your nails have become less strong and vibrant over time. In many cases, this is just a matter of natural wear and tear from living life.
Our nails go through a lot daily, from working and playing to cooking and cleaning, plus outdoor activities, sports, and exercise routines.
If you work in the service industry, the medical field, or educating young kids, you know that your nails can take a beating, and you probably avoid fancy acrylics and gel treatments altogether.
Aside from the daily grind, the stuff we put on our nails affects as well, but it gets a bit more complicated.
On one hand, there’s something to be said for the added protection that our nails get from treatments like acrylics and gel. Some doctors say it helps preserve the natural nail from damage by offering that tough outer layer.
The problem, however, comes from the continued use of products that remove those gels, acrylics, and polishes, which over many years can have a detrimental effect.
We have to face the fact that many of the nail polish removal products are loaded with acetone, which according to Prevention, is not the healthiest stuff for our skin and nails.
We’ll touch on some natural alternatives to acetone later, but for now, consider the different ways you may be damaging your nails incidentally.
Lack of daily maintenance? Too many gels and acrylics? Overloading on nail glue? Everyone has their weak spots that could be improved.
Supplements and Nutrition
Before you invest in any pricey nail-strengthening products or seek the help of a medical professional, look into some natural ways you can boost your nail health from the inside out.
Your diet has a big impact on skin and nail health, as you probably know, and there are some foods that you can incorporate into the mix right now.
Healthline tells us that fruits and veggies rich in micronutrients are your best friend when it comes to making your nails stronger than ever. Leafy greens like spinach, kale, bok choy and cabbage (we are fans of kimchi!) can all be a big help.
Diet is only a piece of the puzzle, of course. We don’t always have the time to eat perfect, healthy meals, which is why supplements can be a saving grace.
Three of the most popular nail care supplements are biotin, collagen, and keratin.
Each one acts differently on the body’s mechanisms that promote hair, skin, and nail growth, and every one uniquely reacts to these products.
Some folks say collagen is the fountain of youth, while others say it did nothing to help. Some people swear by biotin capsules, but they may not work for you. Try each one for a few months and see what happens before writing them off.
As far as the other health store supplements go, there aren’t any proven solutions to specifically address nail strength. The FDA has been quiet on many of these products, suggesting that you may be wise to save your money.
However, if you are willing to put down a bit of cash for a company you trust, it’s always worth a try, so long as you know the risks and talk with your doctor ahead of time.
Change Up Your Maintenance Routine
If you’ve cleaned up your diet and loaded your cabinet with healthy supplements, you’re on the right track, but there’s much more you can do to keep those nails strong and stable.
For starters, cut down on acetone, which can accelerate dehydration in the skin and nails over time. If that means getting fewer acrylic or gel treatments, it may be a worthwhile sacrifice.
If you want to stick with those hard-coat gel products, you have some other options.
Consider switching over to a more natural nail polish remover if you think you’re overdoing it on the acetone soaking. Plenty of amazing products are available to do the trick.
Here are some popular homebrew mixtures that can help remove faux nails while maintaining a healthy natural layer underneath:
- White vinegar and lemon solution in warm water.
- Hydrogen peroxide and (very) warm water.
- Rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol (use sparingly as well).
- Essential oil soaks with citrus and warm water.
- Olive oil or baby oil with natural orange juice (from an actual orange).
- Coconut oil, honey, and lavender with warm water.
The lesson here is that you can strengthen nails while still getting the job done cleaning and removing layers of old products like glue, polish, and gel.
On top of that, you’ll want to take general hygiene a bit more seriously.
We forget that a ton of bacteria buildup takes place underneath our nails, even if we keep them relatively short and it doesn’t look like much dirt is accumulated.
These days, with everyone being more cautious of germs, it’s important that we up our level of daily cleaning and washing. It can fight infection and make our nails way stronger, as well.
Invest in an antibacterial soap that contains some natural boosters like citrus or tea tree oil, and spend a good 30-seconds to a minute washing your hands every evening.
Use a tool like a cuticle pusher to dig along underneath the nail, and sweep away with a mini nail brush to get rid of those last pieces of debris.
You can usually buy a bunch of great nail cleaning tools in a bundle pack, or pick them up individually if you just need one or two.
Cleaning and Extra Protection
A common reason why our nails become worse for wear is we just don’t give them the TLC they need. Moisturizer, cuticle oils, and supplements are all key.
But the basics can’t be overlooked, either.
Don’t underestimate the power of a good, thorough cleaning session! We assume our nails just get clean in the shower by proxy. False! They deserve extra attention to remain strong.
In need of an extra layer of strength that enriches the nail from the inside out? Cosmopolitan recommends you pick up a nail strengthener that contains ingredients like tea tree oil, bamboo, and green tea. These products feel great to apply and show immediate benefits.
If you anticipate a tough day on the job or a long weekend in the wilderness, it’s smart to throw on a layer of topcoat for good measure, even if you just wear basic polish.
Browse the web for the top-rated products in this niche, or wander the aisles at the beauty shop to see whatever interesting formulas catch your eye.
Topical nail strengtheners with all-natural ingredients are always preferred since they don’t contain weird chemicals or smells. They usually work just as well and are way healthier.
Opt for Low-Risk Press-On Nails
While there’s nothing quite like an acrylic or gel manicure from the salon, the truth is that these treatments leave our nails dried and brittle over time, especially if we use harsh removal products every few weeks. Nails even need a break from natural soaks sometimes.
That’s why we are such huge proponents of these modern press-on nail kits, which combine super-stylish looks with adhesive formulas that are super easy on the skin and nails.
If you are looking to fortify your nails after years of damage, or you’re just committed to keeping them healthy for the long run, all of these recommendations and products can help your cause.
Stock up on everything you need, map out a daily routine, and stick to it for the long haul. You will see your nails improve in strength, quality, and looks!
Experiment with a ton of different at-home soaks and scrubs to see what works best with your biology, and the kinds of nail treatments you prefer.
It will take some time to figure out the best routine for your needs, but once you have everything in order, just put it on autopilot and enjoy the results.
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