Today I’m going to talk about my ‘must have’ product – Nail and Cuticle balm. This luxurious, loaded with beneficial ingredients balm goes a long way towards making the nails strong and beautiful.
Much like the skin, having healthy nails requires a little bit of care and maintenance. Day to day life takes it toll on our poor nails. Excessive hand washing, dry weather, and nervous habits can all lead to nails that are brittle, and dry cuticles. For health and for the aesthetic side of things, it is important to maintain healthy nails and cuticles.
Our nails are made up of layers of keratin and protein that also exists in our skin. These layers have some space between them, through which different substances can penetrate. In fact, our nails are even more porous than our skin. This means that both the good and the bad can get into the nail.
The key to having amazing, healthy nails and cuticle is to keep them strong, pliable and hydrated.
Below are the 7 secrets for achieving that:
1) It’s all about cuticles
Cutting the cuticle is an unfortunately common part of a manicure. The cuticles exist for a reason, though, and we should preserve them and maintain them. The cuticle is a thickened layer of skin that acts as a barrier between the nail and the epidermis, keeping away bacteria. As long as the cuticle doesn’t grow too far onto the nail plate, it shouldn’t be cut. Even if it does grow a little bit onto the nail plate, it is better to try to push it back than to cut it.
You will quickly see that your cuticles don’t grow any more excessively than they had when you were cutting them – just have patience for a few weeks!
2) Wear gloves when cleaning
One of the main things that lead to rough cuticles and brittle nails is dryness. Water penetrates through both the cuticle and nail plate when we wash our hands, but then it quickly evaporates, taking away any other moisture that might have been inside. Additionally, cleaning detergents also end up stripping the nails of oil and moisture, and might also irritate the skin surrounding the nail. So don’t forget to wear some gloves next time you’re planning to clean your house!
3) Moisturise regularly
Since the nail plate is quite porous, loading it up with strengthening and nourishing oils is the best way to keep your nails strong and healthy. Some botanic oils, especially almond oil and jojoba oil that are featured in our nail balm, have small molecules that are able penetrate through the layers of keratin in the nail plate, and fill in the gaps. This makes nails stronger and more resistant to breakage. These oils also create a seal over the nail plate, preventing moisture from evaporating. That is why the best time to moisturise the nails is immediately after washing the hands, before the water has time to evaporate.
4) Avoid harmful chemicals
Different chemicals penetrate through the nail faster than through the skin. This is true for both beneficial chemicals, like vitamins and fatty acids, as well as harmful chemicals. The three harmful chemicals that make frequent appearances in nail polish formulas are Formaldehyde, Toluene, and Dibutyl Phthalate. The use of these chemicals is either banned or restricted in various places, including the EU, Japan, and some US states, due to the various harmful effects they can have on the human body.
Make sure any nail polish you use is totally free from these harmful chemicals, by looking for phrases like “3-free”, “5-free”, or “7-free”.
5) Healthy diet
The appearance of our nails reflects on our overall health. For example, white spots on our nails can hint at zinc deficiencies, while weak, thin nails might be a sign of iron deficiency. The key nutrients for healthy nails are proteins, iron, zinc, calcium, and vitamin B12.
Additionally, biotin aka vitamin B7, is often recommended as a supplement to increase both nail and hair growth. As always, the best sources for these nutrients are natural ones, so eating a diet rich in lean meats, complex carbs, and fresh fruits and veggies is the way to go. Moisture levels are also very important, so drinking lots of water is key.
6) File your nails instead of cutting them
The nail plate is a structure, made up of keratin building blocks. When we cut the nails or file them aggressively, we hurt the integrity of the structure. The best way to shorten or shape the nail without hurting its integrity is by filing it gently. Instead of going back and forth from end to end with the nail file, taking the nail file from the outside in, and stopping at the halfway point of the nail edge is the healthiest way to file the nails. It’ll keep them beautifully shaped, and strong.
7) Rock that nail polish
As long as you stick to gentle, natural nail polishes that are free from harmful chemicals, polishing the nails can actually keep them healthy. Nail polish acts as a barrier, preventing moisture from evaporating from the nail, and stopping harmful and drying agents from penetrating. Just make sure to remove the nail polish gently, and regularly moisturise the nails regardless of whether you are or aren’t wearing nail polish. Using nail balm on top of nail polish is even recommended, because the oils in the nail balm can make the nail polish last longer and be more pliable.
With these 7 secrets, you are guaranteed longer & healthier nails. Do you have any additional suggestions? Let us know!