Here at woman&home we love perfectly manicured nails. But we often find that once we remove any polish our nails are damaged, weak, brittle and prone to breaking.
This is made far worse if you’re prone to peeling off your polish or even worse, biting your nails! Luckily we have the answers to keeping your nails in perfect condition, and to help you repair any damage…
How to repair damaged nails
Keep nails short and rounded
The best shape for strong and healthy nails is rounded. File your nails from the outer edge into the centre so that each half is filed in one direction. This helps keep nails even, which prevents snags and breakages.
Push back your cuticles, don’t cut them
Although it’s tempting to cut off unsightly cuticles, they are what protects the growing part of your nails so cutting them will stunt nail growth and means infection is more likely to develop. Instead, push cuticles back using an orange stick or cotton wool bud.
Use a cuticle oil
Use oil on your cuticles to keep them healthy, to stimulate nail growth, and to prevent damaged nails. OPI Pro Spa Skincare Hands & Feet Nail & Cuticle Oil, R270 for 8,6ml, is one of our favourites; it’s full of vitamins and contains a mixture of grape seed, kukui nut and sesame seed oils to provide nourishment.
Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream, R125 for 17g, includes 100% natural cocoa butter and sweet almond oil, plus it’s a great option to help soften and nourish if you suffer from extremely brittle nails.
Eat plenty of protein
Nails are made from a protein called keratin. Eating foods rich in protein will help keep your nails strong, so tuck into chicken, tofu, fish, beans and eggs! Also, drink plenty of water to keep your nails hydrated.
Don’t bite your nails!
If you have a terrible habit of biting your nails you need Mavala’s Stop, R190 for 10ml, in your life! It has a nasty, but harmless taste that will discourage you from nibbling those nails.
Always use a base coat or hardener
We never go a day without coating our nails in a base coat to protect them. Like a personal trainer for your nails, Sally Hansen’s Nail Rehab X, R109,99, will stop your nails from flaking and will build up their strength.
Keep a travel-sized hand and nail cream in your bag
Moisturising your nails is essential to keeping them healthy, so keep a travel-sized hand and nail cream in your bag so that you can moisturise on the go. We love The Body Shop’s Moringa Hand Cream, R140 for 100ml. It has a lightweight, gel-cream formula that’s enriched with shea butter and smells incredible too.
Carry an on-the-go nail kit
A snagged or broken nail when you don’t have a nail file at hand is a recipe for disaster! We keep this Scarlet Hill Nail Kit, R45,99, in our bags for moments like these. The mini nail clipper, cleaner and file mean you can easily fix any on-the-go disasters.
Use a gentle nail polish remover
Harsh chemicals are a key cause of damaged nails, so when you remove any polish use as gentle a nail polish as you can. Trind’s Nailpolish Remover, R84 for 125ml, is a fab but effective acetone-free version, while Sorbet Condition Nail Polish Remover, R45 for 250ml, contains vitamins E and B5 to nourish and condition nails, and once dry leaves behind a calming lavender scent.
Give your nails a nourishing soak
We all know how great face masks are for our skin, so why not give your nails the same pampering? Soak nails in milk to whiten them, in warm water with a squeeze of lemon juice to remove stains, and in olive oil to moisturise them.