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  • Products for healthy nails and maintenance have come a long way in recent years.
  • Forget the manicurist: give yourself a manicure at home with ingredients from your pantry.
  • Following a few simple tips can help you avoid damaging your nails.

Whether you wear them bare or topped with your favorite shade of nail polish, strong, beautiful nails aren’t only aesthetically pleasing — they’re also a sign of good health and proper personal hygiene.

Keeping your nails in good shape can be challenging when you lead a busy life. Here, we give you some tips on how to make your nails grow faster and stronger.

Top 3 products to strengthen your nails

Nail maintenance technology and products have greatly improved over the last decade. Here are three highly recommended products.

Kiara Sky Dip Nail System

Kiara Sky Dip Nail System

The nail dip system from Kiara Sky has everything you need to create a strong overlay for your natural nails to keep them from breaking. The kit comes with a friendly step-by-step instruction manual and doesn’t require experience applying acrylic or gel.

It works by simply applying an adherent over the nail and then dipping it in an acrylic powder. There are many different colors to choose from, including a way to easily create French nails.

OPI Nail Envy Nail Strengthener

OPI Nail Envy Nail Strengthener

Made with hydrolyzed wheat protein and calcium, OPI Nail Envy is one of the best nail hardeners on the market. It’s a good option for people who want to protect their natural nails without resorting to acrylic or gel overlays.

It comes in ten colors, with both matte and glossy finishes.

Sally Hansen Salon Gel Polish Starter Kit

Sally Hansen Salon Gel Polish Starter Kit

Gel polish not only lasts longer than regular nail polish, but it also has the benefit of protecting your natural nails from snags and dings.

Sally Hansen’s Salon Gel Polish kit has everything you need to get started with gel polish: a base coat, a color, a top coat, a gel lamp, and cleansing wipes.

4 easy DIY at-home nail treatments

When you do not have the time or money for fancy salon manicures, you can always pamper yourself with these treatments that you can put together from items in your kitchen pantry.

Almond oil soak

Almond oil is rich in antioxidants and other nutrients, making it beneficial to healthy skin and nails. Mix one teaspoon of almond oil with some lemon juice and either massage this mixture into your hands and nails, making sure to rub it into your cuticle area, or soak your hands in it for two minutes.

Dead Sea salt soak

While regular sea salts are comprised of 90% sodium, salts from the Dead Sea are composed of only 10% sodium, with the rest made up of minerals that are highly beneficial to the skin and nail health.

To create a powerful nail soak solution, combine some dead sea salt with water and add lemon juice or wheat germ to it. Soak your hands in this solution for 15 minutes, twice a day, for a week.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil is an excellent moisturizer that doubles as an anti-bacterial, making it a superb cuticle oil. Massage coconut oil into your cuticles daily and after every manicure to keep the nail bed, the skin around the nail, and the cuticle moisturized and germ-free.

Olive oil and lemon soak

Combine the moisturizing effects of olive oil with the stain-busting and vitamin C-rich properties of lemon juice to create the ultimate nail soak. Add together three parts olive oil and one part lemon juice together in a bowl. Soak your fingers in it for 10 minutes daily.

5 supplements for stronger nails

Nutrition is an important factor in getting and maintaining beautiful and healthy nails. Consider the following supplements.

Zinc

Should you notice spots of discoloration on your nails, or if you find that your nails are splitting and peeling, you could be deficient in the mineral zinc. Since zinc helps with cell division, and nails are constantly growing, it is important to make sure you are getting enough of this essential mineral.

Folic acid

Folic acid is important for new cell and tissue growth. Making sure you are getting enough of it is key whenever you are trying to grow your nails or hair.

Vitamin C

As well as boosting your immune system, vitamin C also helps your skin, connective tissue, and bones grow strong. Making sure you get enough of this nutrient will make you are healthier overall. Overall good health is needed for strong nails.

Primrose oil

Primrose or black currant oil are rich in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), a fat that fortifies skin, hair, and nails. Taking 500 milligrams twice a day should show improvements in your nails, skin, and hair in about six to eight weeks.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are important for healthy skin and nails. They are available as a supplement, but you can also get them by eating omega-3-rich foods such as flaxseed, walnuts, or salmon.

Melanonychia

RELATED: What Causes Nail Pigmentation? FAQs on Melanonychia

Tips to avoid damaging your nails

Whether you wear your nails long or short, here are some tips to help you maintain your nail length and keep your nails looking great.

Wear rubber gloves

Frequent, prolonged contact with water as well as exposure to harsh detergents and household chemicals can weaken the nail plate. This can lead to breakage and peeling, as well as cause chips in your nail polish. Wearing rubber gloves can protect your nails and hands from drying out and becoming more fragile.

Eat a balanced diet

A healthy and balanced diet is key to developing not only strong and healthy nails, but also glowing skin, glossy hair, and wellness in general.

To feel and look your best, make sure you limit your sugar and fat intake and eat plenty of vegetables, lean meats, nuts, and fruits, as well as keeping plenty hydrated with water.

Moisturize your nails

Your nails, like your skin and hair, require moisture to stay flexible and strong. When your nails get too dry, they become more brittle and prone to breaking or snags. Moisturize the nail bed, cuticle area, and the surrounding skin daily with hydrating oils such as coconut or olive oils.

Opt for a gel or acrylic overlay

Even if you don’t want to lengthen your nails, you can have an overlay of either gel or acrylic put on top of your natural nails. This overlay will strengthen your natural nail by not only encasing it but also by adding structure to the nail in the form of the arch or apex. Natural nails do not normally have this arch, and it is one of the reasons why they tend to break.

Acrylic and gel nails are safe to use provided proper care is taken to clean and disinfect the instruments used. Should you choose to get a gel or acrylic overlay, lessen your risks of infection by using only properly licensed nail technicians.

File in one direction

When using an emery board or another type of nail file, always file in one direction. Using a see-sawing filing motion is too rough on the natural nail, resulting in small tears; these tears weaken the nail and make it more prone to breakage.

Have a file with you to catch snags

Keep an emery board in your purse so that you can smooth away any snags that happen during the day. If not smoothed away as soon as possible, snags may cause the nail to break.

Don’t use nails as tools

While it may be tempting to use your nails to open boxes or rip through envelopes, your nails, especially if they are natural, are fragile. Keep your nails well and your fingertips pretty by using a letter-opener, or a box cutter instead.

Avoid acetone nail polish remover

Using acetone to remove nail polish is quick and easy, but it is extremely drying to the surface of the nail. Save acetone for removing difficult-to-take-off polishes like glitter polishes and use non-acetone nails polish remover for everyday colors.

» Looking for expert nail and skin treatments? Use Zwivel’s directory to locate cosmetic doctors and medical spas in your area.

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