Dark nail polish, gel manicures and soaking in a hot tub… We love them all, but unfortunately, while these habits are good for the soul they can really damage the nails.
Can we give up nail polish? Never! But we can give nails extra TLC so that they stay strong and healthy. Here are some really easy ways to keep our fingertips in top condition.
Use a cuticle cream or oil
Hand lotions are great, but if your nails are looking scraggly then you need to get a cuticle oil. They can help soften your cuticles so you don’t need to cut them at the nail salon. If you don’t have time for a manicure, cuticle creams and oils can also make it easier to buff off skin with a washcloth.
Use face serums on your hands
Beauty hack: you can use your face serums and face oils as cuticle oils! After patting into your face and neck, rub the excess on your fingertips. It’s also a great way to use any skincare that you don’t like or is about to expire.
This makes total sense, since hands will be one of the first signs of ageing! Most of us forget to apply sunscreen on hands, and they’re exposed to a lot more environmental stress than our face. It’s no use to spend thousands of dollars on skincare products and treatments and then give away our age with old, wrinkled and leathery hands!
Soak nails in olive oil
Yes, the best nail treatments are right in your kitchen. Just pour olive oil into a small bowl and soak your nails for about 10 to 15 minutes. You can also soak cotton pads and wrap them around your fingertips. Whatever’s easier for you!
Rub nails with lemon slices
Did you just use a lemon for a recipe? Don’t throw away the rind! Rub it against your nails (and while you’re at it, your hands too). It helps lighten nail polish stains and even out your skin tone. Besides, lemon’s a great way to get rid of the smell of garlic and fish from your hands. Keep them in a bowl by the sink for an instant hand and nail treatment whenever you do the dishes!
Exfoliate with coffee grinds
The skin on our hands is way less sensitive than the skin on our face, so it takes a lot less effort to keep it smooth and soft. Sometimes, all it takes to make your hands look like you’ve just gotten a spa treatment is the coffee grinds you throw out every morning. Just save them in a bowl or jar and give yourself a hand scrub every day. Mix it with a little olive oil and leftover lemon rinds for extra moisturizing and skin brightening!
Take a nail supplement
A biotin supplement can keep your hair, skin and nails in top shape. All you need is 30 micrograms a day! Aside from biotin, watch your calcium and Vitamin C intake too. Your body needs these vitamins and minerals to make strong, healthy nails.
Invest in a good base coat
Base coats protect your nails from damage and can even help your nail polish look better and last longer. The best base coats also help strengthen your nails, and can even be worn on its own between manicures. They make your nails look neat and fresh, while healing any nail damage caused by dark polish or gel manis.
Give yourself a hand massage
It can help ease carpal tunnel syndrome and the agony of typing at a computer keyboard the whole day. It also stimulates circulation, so your hands and nails get vital nutrients.
Alternate nail polish colours
Some nail polish shades will stain, no matter what we do. Alternate darker shades like red, black purple or blue with more sheer, natural colours. And you can always ask your nail salon to clean and groom your nails and leave them bare. It’s a huge sacrifice if you’re just as addicted to manicures as we are, but those two weeks of going completely natural can make a big difference on your nail health!
Buy a gentler nail polish remover
Acetone – a common ingredient in nail polish removers – can dry out nails and cuticles. Use nail polish removers that are acetone-free, and always follow up with a cuticle oil or extra moisturizing hand cream.
It’s common sense to wear gloves, but yeah – we get lazy too. Buy several pairs of gloves and keep them where you’re more likely to look for them: the kitchen sink, at the garden, or next to your bottle of bathroom cleansers.
Plastic gloves can trap moisture that hurt nails too, so if you’ve got brittle nails, add an extra layer of protection by applying baby powder on your hands before putting on your gloves.
Another set of gloves you need to buy: cotton gloves, for night. Once a week, apply a heavy cream and slip on cotton gloves. Just like a face mask or wearing socks after applying petroleum jelly on your feet, this super-cheap beauty trick can help you wake up with softer, younger looking hands.
Bring hand lotion everywhere
Our hands are exposed to soap, disinfectant, cleansers, sun, and even the heat and UV exposure from our laptop and phones. They need more protection and care – but it’s so easy to give that! Keep hand lotions in your bag, office desk and bedside table. Whenever you take a break from work or sit back to watch a video on your phone or TV, reach for hand lotion. Just massaging it into your hands will nourish your skin and nails, and even make you feel more relaxed.
Buy toxic-free nail polish
The next time you shop for a nail polish, don’t just look at the colour — check the formula. They should be free of toxins like formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, formaldehyde resin, and camphor. The newest nail polishes also call themselves seven-free — they don’t contain the last ingredients, plus
ethyl tosylamide and xylene.
Not all nail salons in Singapore will carry these products or the colours you want, so if you’re very particular about formula, bring your own polish. You can get the convenience of having your nails done, and complete control over what’s applied on your nails.