Dry, brittle nails can happen to anyone, especially to us divas that wear acrylics, gel, or press-on nails. These faux nail alternatives can wreak havoc on our nails if we don’t follow proper application and removal instructions.
Fortunately, there are ways to help strengthen your nails without having to completely give up those extra-long claws and glossy gels you love. Changes won’t happen overnight, but with daily care, your nails will regain their healthy appearance.
Let’s talk about it.
What Causes Brittle Nails?
Broken, weak nails aren’t pretty, but they can be caused by a whole lot of things. Aside from being caused by wearing acrylic nails or gel nails, weak nails can result from vitamin deficiencies, overhydration, and even over-filing.
So, you know the basics of why your nails become dry and brittle, but what can you do to strengthen those digits? There are several things to be aware of in order to both prevent damage and strengthen your fingernails.
Minimize the H2O
No, we don’t mean stop drinking water. Actually, getting the hydration you need can help keep your nails healthy.
If you soak your hands in water for long periods of time, however, you can cause the nail bed to expand and soften your nails, causing them to become weak.
Try wearing gloves when you do the dishes, wash your car, or do other chores that might involve you getting wet. Be mindful of your hands when you’re handling water.
A Lack of Vitamins & Supplements
Your nails are made of proteins, and they require vitamins to be strong and healthy.
Biotin and collagen are supplements that are known to help strengthen hair and nails. These are available and marketed to help aid in healthy nail and hair growth.
Biotin supplements contain B vitamins. Biotin can also be found naturally in salmon, almonds, spinach, lentils, peanuts, and cooked eggs.
Maintaining a healthy diet will provide your body with the proper nutrients to deliver healthy skin, hair, and nails. Always check with your doctor before taking any supplements and before beginning any diet.
Apply Cuticle Oil Daily
Cuticle care is crucial, and daily use of cuticle oil is critical in the strengthening of new nail growth. Apply cuticle oil a few drops at a time and massage it into the matrix of your nail.
The matrix is the base portion of your nail by the cuticle where the nail grows out. By massaging oil into that area daily, you are encouraging new healthy nail growth and circulation.
Jojoba and almond oils are good ingredients to look for in a cuticle oily because these oils contain smaller molecules that can penetrate your nails easily.
Always remember, never pick at or tear your delicate cuticles.
Avoid Products With Alcohol
Products with alcohol can be very drying to the skin and nails. Try to avoid hand sanitizers and nail polish removers containing alcohol.
It is important to keep your hands clean, so look for moisturizing hand sanitizers that do not contain alcohol. That may sound impossible, but they are out there. Trust us.
Don’t Use Your Nails as Tools
Opening that soda can with your nails may seem convenient, but don’t do it, babe. Using your nails in this way can lead to chipped, broken nails that will cause peeling and complete breakage. Plus, it just plain hurts! Need we say more?
Try using the pads of your fingers or a paperclip to get the job done instead.
File in The Right Direction
Did you know that there is a right and a wrong way to file your nails? Here’s what you need to know: file in one direction, not in a back and forth, see-saw motion. By filing back and forth, you are causing micro-tears in your nails. This can lead to peeling and breakage.
Make sure to use a glass or padded cardboard nail file. These files are a finer grit which means that they are more gentle on your nails.
Forgo The Faux
Try to wear your nails without polish, acrylic, gel, or press-on nails for a few days in-between applications. It’s good to give your nails a breather. No, your nails don’t thrive on the air we breathe, but they do need a break between polishing and other nail apps.
There are a lot of chemicals involved in making your nails look great. These chemicals can be very drying, so it's good to lay off them for a few days.
Don’t peel or pick at your nails if they have gel or acrylic on them. This will cause the top layers of your natural nails to peel away too. Always remove your faux nails properly by either going to a nail technician or following directions on how to safely remove them at home, whether that’s with acetone or something else.
Damaged nails take a while to heal, so make sure you are caring for your nails properly to avoid an extra-long healing process.
Try a Strengthener
Nail strengtheners work wonders for weak, brittle nails. You can find these treatments at your local beauty store.
Nail strengtheners generally contain keratin (protein) and other vitamins that help mend broken nails and make them stronger.
Some of these treatments require several days to complete, so make sure you read the instructions before getting started with a nail strengthening protocol.
A Gentler Option
When your nails are strong and ready for their time to shine, choose a more gentle option of fashion for your digits.
Press-on nails are gentler on your nails than acrylic overlays and gel nails. Press-on nails can be applied with nail glue and can be worn for up to two weeks. Plus, they are waterproof and can be filed to the length you like.
We have designed a lot of celebrity-inspired nails to choose from.
- The Glamnetic Sprinkles design offers glossy multi-colored french tips on each nail. They’re a cool almond shape in a short length.
- Golden Hour: These medium-length, almond-shaped jelly nails are the perfect neutral for a day at the park or a night out with friends.
- Nebula: You’ll be over the moon for this design! These shine, shine, shine with embedded glitter, a holographic finish, and medium almond shape.
The Nail Verdict
Nails become weak over time with all of the cute polishes and nail applications we use. Brittle nails aren’t pretty, so strengthening is a must for long-term healthy nails.
With daily care and proper acrylic/gel nail removal, damaged nails can be avoided. Press-on nails give you the option of wearing a trendy nail without harsh application and removal measures.
Press-on nails require proper removal too, but it is easy, and it’s not harmful to your natural nails if you do it the right way.
Healthy, strong nails are possible if you take a little time to care for them every day.
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ACRYLIC OVERLAY ON NATURAL NAILS: A COMPLETE GUIDE | Nails FAQ
Nail Matrix: Anatomy, Function, Injuries, and Disorders | Healthline
JOJOBA: Overview, Uses, Side Effects, Precautions, Interactions, Dosing, and Reviews | WebMD