Make The Right Moves
We can’t escape the aging process – and it even affects our nails. As we grow older, our nails become ridged, brittle and weak. To prevent further damage, OPI Brand Expert Jenni Draper suggests limiting buffing and filing to just once a month. Draper also advises not to ‘seesaw’ when filing: “The movement causes heat, which will cause the nail to split.” Instead, gently run the file across the nail in one direction. Begin at the outside edge, pull towards the centre and repeat.
Stop Peeling Off Your Gels
“The problem I see most in the salon is the damage done by people peeling off their gels,” explains Ama, Session Manicurist & Founder of Ama salon. “Regardless of whether your gels are lifting a little or you peeled them while in the bath, picking at them is a huge no-no. It thins out the nail, making them more susceptible to premature breakage and splitting.”
Up Your Iron
Iron deficiency is the most common mineral deficiency in the world, affecting 15% of the adult population. The mineral helps form haemoglobin, a molecule that shuttles red blood cells loaded with oxygen directly into your nails, which means depleted levels can cause nails to become weak. Without it, your nails will suffer from stunted growth, so it’s best to load up on iron-rich foods such as spinach, chickpeas and even dark chocolate to speed up growth.
Get In Shape
According to Susan Gerrard, the beauty entrepreneur behind Jessica Nails in the UK, the best nail look is a ‘squoval’ – a cross between a square and an oval. By retaining the sidewall of the nail (which is its support) your nails are less likely to break. “While square tips are in vogue, they’re not always conducive to long, natural nails,” observes Ama. “Having sharp edges and corners mean things get caught much easier, then snapped off as a result. Always try and opt for softer, rounder tips.”
Seal In Moisture
“The biggest key to healthy, happy nails is hydration,” adds Ama. “Like with skin and hair, our nails love, and are at their best, when hydrated. Jojoba is the best for sealing in moisture and keeping your tips nourished and smooth – if you can get organic and cold-pressed, even better. Massage it onto your nails every chance you get. A hydrated nail will always be a stronger nail. When you can afford to, try treatments alongside your manicure, too. At the Ama salon, we offer an R+R treatment that reconditions and seals in moisture – perfect for brittle nail types and those looking to take a break from acrylics and gels.”
Stop Submerging Your Nails
Contrary to popular belief, water doesn’t hydrate the nails if you soak them for too long. “Regular swimming and long baths, or washing up without gloves can cause peeling,” explains Jessica’s nail expert, Georgina Walker. “Moisture penetrates the nail fibres, expanding and lifting them, which in turn results in flakiness.”
Steer Clear Of Harsh Chemicals
“Cleaning with detergents or harsh soaps can damage nails, not to mention break down polish faster,” warns Ama. “Over exposure to these types of chemicals can start to thin and dry out nails, so where possible, try to make sure you’re wearing gloves when cleaning. Make sure you avoid nail polish removers with high levels of acetone, too, this has a similar effect and will leave nails feeling overly soft and bendy.”
Try Not To Grip Too Hard
It’s something we’re all guilty of: “Using nails as tools to open or grip onto things can cause serious damage,” says Ama. “Your fingers and hands are for lifting. When you use your nails in excess to do those tasks, it puts too much strain on them, causing instant stress, which breaks the nail down the sides and causes weakening and splitting.”
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