Nail Life - Hand and nail care hacks... that actually work!
We are always looking for the fastest, the easiest or the cheapest way to achieve something or another in life. The online free how to videos on Youtube, the "how to" search trends on search engine trend reports, the life hack dedicated blogs and online articles. The true nature of online content itself is here to bear witness.
In this article, you will find some pretty sound, mostly free advice, tips and tricks on how to take good care of your hands and nails. Even better, it's scientific based, so no hocus pocus here.
Continue reading for my top seven hand and nail care hacks!
Avoid water - Glove up and cover up!
Dry and brittle nails are prone to breaking and peeling easily, however, the opposite - water soaked nails, is not necessarily great either. It's a well-known fact that the nail plate is made up of layers that stack against each other to create the nail plate.
The nail plate's normal water content level is usually around 15%. While this level of moisture is great as it allows the several nail plate layers to slide against each other without damage, there is such a thing as too much damage. at just 30% water content level, the nail plate is at its maximum water content. This causes the layers to swell and push further against each other, causing the entire nail plate to warp and change shape. This much water content also softens the nails to a point where they can tear easily.
Long story short, don't soak your hands in water unless you really must (hey, we want you to have good hygiene habits and showering is a must!). Glove up if you are cleaning or handling water frequently to avoid this.
How about those mandatory soaks (Yey, showers!), you ask? You can cover up! What this means is that you have free reign over using any nail product that will cover your nail plates and avoid water overexposure. This included nail varnish, gel, acrylic, gel polish, power/hybrid polishes, you name it, use it (wisely and carefully and always as per manufacturers instructions)!
- Stay hydrated! Isn't this a bit contradictory you ask? Not at all!
What you are going to save in water soaking you should increase your water intake, responsibly! You can make sure your skin and your nails (pretty much your entire body) are hydrated by, you guessed it! - Drinking water! Remember, don't soak in it, drink it! It will help skin dryness and brittleness in nails. Your body will thank you for it. Just. Do. It!
More importantly, whether your nails are brittle by nature (yes, there is a bit of genetics here you simply can't change), you are just serious about your nail care, OIL UP! Do it several times a day, but more importantly in the morning and before you go to bed.
That's right, use oils, moisturisers, lotions, butters, you name it! Use it! Preferably use products that have ingredients with proven ability to penetrate the nail plate. Jojoba oil penetrates the layers of the nail really well and it has the added bonus of being a great carrier oil, which means it's great in blends. If you find cold pressed oils that are affordable, the better if not, look for good moisturising ingredients at the top of the ingredient list. - A topic I'd like to explore in the near future. Stay tuned!
- Sharp objects belong in the kitchen, not on your nails - Unless you are a professional Nail Technician or a Manicurist and knowing exactly at what angle to hold a cuticle knife was part of your license exam!
It's very easy to hurt yourself with a metal object, let alone a sharp one. Especially if you are trying to DIY a manicure at home and working with your non-dominant hand. To add insult to injury, the nail plate area around the nail folds and cuticle is the most tender and prone to damage. Not to mention, you are way to close to the nail matrix, where cell production happens, and if you are to cause damage it can be irreversible.
Dangers are a plenty so if you are big on home nail care, which you should be, do it safely. Take advantage of the time you can't but get your hands and nails soaked and softened, after showering and use an orange wood stick with little to no pressure to push the cuticles back and off the nail plate. Heck, use your own nails (you know, the ones you've been growing out on the account you're taking such good care of them)!
In no circumstance, whatsoever, ever, at any point in time, use a cuticle pusher aggressively, a cuticle knife to scrape off living tissue, or nippers to cut away the nail fold. Yes! That little fold of skin o at the base of the nail, that is living tissue, my friends, that is there for a reason and it will not get fuggly if you take care of it. So unless there is white skin hanging on a thread in that area, do not touch it, nurture it!
- Nails are jewels, not tools!
This one is kind of self-explanatory. Just think about it, you want then to look pretty right? If the answer is no, then you can just stop reading and close this page, this post is definitely not for you (I probably should have put a disclaimer at the top of the post! Or not!). But if the answer is, as I presume yes, then you know you are not supposed to wash the dishes with bare hands, and you know there are screwdrivers for a reason, and can openers, and jar openers, and gardening gloves.
- Massage your nails.
Massaging your nails stimulates blood flow, which in turn helps stimulate cell reproduction which in turn will stimulate nail growth. It's a win-win situation!
Not to mention that massaging your hands and nails will also contribute to breaking nail biting habits (food for thought for another post), and it ca even help manage symptoms of arthritis and discomfort in the joints of the hand and fingers.
- Keep a healthy diet and visit the doctor regularly.
If you are doing all of the above, and you are still experiencing dryness, peeling of the hands, strange discolorations of the nail plates, essentially if your nails look anything but healthy and normal, you should see a doctor.
Your nails (and for that matter many parts of the body) are like windows to your inner health. Heart, lungs and liver problems can cause some visible symptoms on your nails. So knowing when to stop the home-made remedies and visit the doctor is a must. As a matter of fact, there are so many things that influence your body from within. Your diet, your lifestyle in general. So make sure you do blood work regularly and you have your five a day!
- Trust the Pros, and visit the pros.
I can understand that you many not have a small fortune to spend on a nail tech visit or a luxury manicure. But if you are on the ball with your hand and nail care you won't have to. A regular manicure every so often will come quite cheap at your trusted local tech. Find a nail tech or a manicurist you feel comfortable with, one that presents her/himself professionally and shows interest for what you want and for your nail condition.
You will see that coming out with really pretty, professionally painted nails is just one of the many benefits. Having someone that can share their expert opinion on the condition of your nails, recommend products that have been tried and tested for years. But also someone that is up to date with nail and fashion trends, and will recommend colours and designs accordingly is extremely valuable. All, in a simple nail service appointment.
But this is not going to make my nails grow 10 centimetres in two weeks, you shout in outrage! No, it's not. These are tried and tested, sensible and fact based tips and tricks that will ensure you have long healthy nails. If you are looking for a fast and easy way to stay healthy and achieve your nail goals, you are never going to get long and healthy nails. Nails take anywhere between four to six months to grow out. That means anywhere between 121 to 183 days worth of wear and tear. If you don't take care of them, they simply will not last.
Do you have an amazing nail care routine? Share it below in the comment section!