File In One Direction Only
It’s common to see people file their nails in both directions, but it’s better you don’t. Keep your file on one side of the nail; use the full range of it, moving to the other side in one swift stroke. A forwards and backwards sawing motion can separate the fibres and cause peeling. Make sure you file regularly too: it encourages nails to be strong, just like trimming the ends of your hair.
Pay Attention To Your Shape
When it comes to clipping and filing, there’s no right or wrong shape, but I do advise keeping them short if you can. Short, rounder nails are simply easier to clean and maintain. Avoid too square a tip or shape as they can easily get caught on things and thus are more likely to break or rip from the corners, which will split the nail further down too.
Choose Your Anti Bac Wisely
We all need it right now, but it pays to opt for more gentle formulas that don’t completely dry out your hands and nails. Both Neal’s Yard Natural Defence Hand Rub and Dr Bronner’s Lavender Organic Spray do the trick. They still contain alcohol and kill 99.9% of germs, but contain natural, essential oils. This means they don’t dry out the skin and cuticles as much and never feel as stripping. It’s a small tweak, but a great way to prevent any bending or flakiness.
Invest In A Cuticle Oil
It’s no secret that cuticle oil is beneficial for nails. If you don’t already have one, make it the one thing you order for nails during this lockdown period. Use it all over the nail, right down and around to the cuticles. It’s a great way of keeping the whole area nourished and preventing dryness. This is also ideal for making cuticles thinner and more malleable. If you don’t have cuticle oil or would rather not order one, try taking olive oil and running it around your cuticles instead. Apply a thick layer of either at night before bed, so they can reap thorough moisture overnight.
Stimulate Growth At Home
There are so many treatments now that not only stimulate growth but also rehydrate parched nails – especially handy if you’re suffering from post-gel brittleness. Base coats like Nails Inc’s Superfood Base are so restorative for natural nails, while its Superfood Nail Oil is another great way of ensuring moisture can penetrate deep down into the nailbed. You can often order these from Amazon, making them an easy way of treating your nails yourself while you can’t reach a professional.
Keep Moisturising Your Hands
It’s not just your nails that need moisture. Hands do too, and they’re also an essential part of nail care. With constant handwashing now instilled in all of us, it’s more important than ever to amp up the hydration, as regular washes and soaps can strip out natural oils. Try using a heavier moisturiser at night, so skin has time to absorb the formula, but keep the formulas you use as natural as possible to prevent any further irritation or inflammation – look to creams that are alcohol free and non-perfumed. Hand masks are now widely available, and often treat nails and fingers simultaneously. Play with lotions as well, adding in oils for extra moisture.
Strengthen Post-Gel Nails Carefully
If you’ve had some gels on and taken them off while in isolation, there’s no doubt your nails will feel brittle as a result. Keep them short until the nails get some strength back into them, and use oils as regularly as possible. If you find your cuticles are growing from not having a regular manicure, avoid cutting them yourself at all costs. Instead, soften them with cuticle oil, as said above, and gently push them back. Afterwards, recoat them with oil. The moral of the story is you can never be too moisturised.
Look To Shea Butter
If you’re on a budget and don’t want to invest in numerous treatments, look to what you might have at home. Pure shea butter is incredibly moisturising and can be mixed with other essential oils to provide some much-needed nourishment. Almond and jojoba oils are also a great remedy for scraggy nails and withered skin. Get creative, mix things together, and keep up the treatment every single day – your hands and nails will come out all the stronger for it.