Strong, healthy looking nails are something that every woman wants, but when it comes to nail care, most women can’t think beyond a manicure. Of course, getting regular manicures is important, but is it the only way to care for your nails? We think not. In order to make them strong and shiny, you have to adopt a few nail care habits and give up on a few others. Whether you are someone who always has a coat of nail paint on or a person who can’t stop picking and biting your cuticles, these tips will change your nail game for the better.

Think you have healthy nails? Well, here are a few signs to look out for that indicate whether your nails are healthy or unhealthy. Remember, brittle nails are not the only sign of unhealthy nails!

Signs of healthy and unhealthy nails

If you have one or more signs of unhealthy nails listed above, it is important that you begin caring for your nails as soon as possible. However, if you have an infection or the problem seems severe, please contact your doctor.


Tips for healthy fingernails

Tips for healthy fingernails

Here are a few nail care habits that you should begin doing right away! Plus, we have included a pro tip with each habit to ensure your nails become healthy and strong in no time!


1. Moisturise your nails

Moisturise your nails

Just like our skin, our nails also require external moisture to stay healthy. In fact, your skin and scalp have some ability to produce oil naturally, your nails do not. Frequent washing takes away whatever little nourishment it gets. Therefore, the first nail care habit that you need to adopt is moisturising your nails regularly, and if possible, each time you wash your hands. If you regularly use sanitizer, apply a hand cream right after, and focus on your nails as the alcohol in sanitisers can make both your nails and hands dry.

Pro tip: Massage your nails with a few drops of olive or coconut oil before going to sleep.


2. Maintain good hygiene practices

Maintain good hygiene practices

Regular and prolonged contact with water can lead to split fingernails if they are not dried properly and the trapped moisture can lead to infections. Therefore, don’t let your nails grow too long as bacteria and dirt can easily accumulate inside it. Clean your nails at home regularly and sanitize the manicure tools before and after each use. While cutting your nails, trim them straight across and then around the tips to form a curve, this prevents the dirt from getting pushed into the skin.

Pro tip: You can use natural disinfectants such as tea tree oil which helps kill bacteria and keeps infections at bay.


3. Do not scrape off nail polish

Do not scrape off nail polish

If your nail polish has started to chip off, take a minute out of your schedule to soak a cotton pad with remover and get rid of the colour. Scraping off the polish from your nail is the worst nail habit out there. It ruins the texture of the nail, removes its healthy, protective layer and makes your nails excessively dry. As a good nail care habit, remove the polish as soon as it loses its shine, instead of waiting for it to chip or peel off.

Pro tip: Avoid keeping one nail paint on for too long as it will ultimately result in chipped nails.


4. Use a base coat and a top coat

Use a base coat and a top coat

Whether you apply nail polish frequently or occasionally, the chemicals and colours in these paints can harm your nails and discolour them. An easy way to prevent this, and ensure your nail paint stays on for longer is using a base coat and a top coat. This is a simple nail care habit that every woman should adopt. After cleansing your nails thoroughly, apply the base and wait for a few minutes. Then apply two coats of your favourite nail colour, wait until it dries off, then apply a top coat to seal everything.

Pro tip: Buy your nail products from a renowned brand, as you cannot be sure of the ingredients in substandard ones.


5. Wear protective gloves when necessary

Wear protective gloves when necessary

Certain chores can cause harm to your nails such as washing utensils and gardening. The chemicals in the soap can cause your skin and nails to become dry, and all the muddy work you do while gardening can collect and remain in the nooks and corners of the nails for longer than you can imagine. Wearing rubber gloves will prevent the chemicals and mud from coming in direct contact with your hands and nails.

Pro tip: Wash your gloves thoroughly after every use and air dry them in sunlight.


6. Opt for quality cosmetics

Opt for quality cosmetics

Just like you wouldn’t use any makeup or skincare product of substandard quality, do not use nail products that can potentially harm your nails. Whether it’s your nail polish, remover, top coat, base coat or cuticle oil, invest in good quality products from renowned brands. Using low quality, subpar products will not only ruin your nail but can also affect your health by entering your body when you eat something.

Pro tip: Every bottle that claims to be natural, is not all-natural. It is best to do your research and avoid using products that contain harmful ingredients.


7. Avoid using acetone

Avoid using acetone

Acetone may look like a quick and easy way to get rid of stubborn nail polish and colours, but the truth is that it is very harsh on your skin and nails. It makes them severely dry and prone to breakage. A nail care tip you should follow is to avoid using acetone or products that contain acetone on your nails. In fact, a lot of nail polish removers these days come with nourishing ingredients like almond oil and vitamin E to prevent them from drying out your tips.

Pro tip: If your nail polish remover does not have any nourishing ingredient, apply a few drops of oil after removing the colour to restore moisture and health.


8. Trim nails regularly

Trim nails regularly

Don’t grow your nails beyond a certain length, as this makes them more prone to damage and breakage. That does not mean you have to keep them really short, just long enough to look pretty. Like with your hair, trimming nails regularly is a good nail care practice. Take some time out every two weeks to maintain the shape of your nails by cutting and filing them.

Pro tip: Cut them neatly using a clipper, first in a straight line and then square or round at the tips, as you want them.


FAQs about nail care

FAQs about nail care

Q. How often should I care for my nails?

A. Moisturising and cleaning should be done on a daily basis if you want your nails to become strong and healthy, trimming can be done once every two weeks.

Q. Can I apply petroleum jelly on my nails?

A. Yes, it is completely safe to use petroleum jelly on your nails to prevent dryness. Rub a small amount of petroleum jelly on your cuticles and the surrounding skin every night before going to bed. The vitamin E in it will prevent your nails from getting dry and also add a healthy shine.