The elements can take a toll on our nails. Polish routines and exposure to dry and damaging weather conditions can leave nails brittle, peeling and discolored. Luckily, there are easy steps to follow to recover weak and damaged nails, and prevent further breakage.
The key to repairing damaged and brittle nails is keeping them in a healthy, moisturized state. Start with the cuticles. A cuticle cream, such as Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream ($6), will keep cuticles smooth, soft and nourished, helping your nails to grow strong. Follow up by repairing damage to the nail itself. There are many products on the market specifically designed to repair and strengthen nails. For example, Sally Hansen’s Miracle Cure for Severe Problem Nails ($6.79) is designed to strengthen nails from within, lock in moisture and bond layers to stop nails from peeling. For an alternative, at home remedy, soaking nails in warm olive oil for 10 minutes a day will help strengthen brittle and peeling fingernails.
Certain vitamins are useful for keeping nails strong and healthy, and having a steady intake of them will help nails look wonderful. An increase of calcium in your diet, either through calcium supplements or calcium-rich foods like milk, spinach or kale, will help nails grow strong and stop them from breaking easily.
Vitamin E will both prevent peeling and repair nails that have already begun to peel. Incorporate Vitamin E into your diet with food like nuts, seeds or dark greens, or massage aromatherapy oil rich in Vitamin E (or just pop a Vitamin E gel capsule) onto nails to stop peeling and bond the layers of the nail back together.
Changing your nail routine can keep nails from becoming damaged. When painting your nails, choose a nail polish that is chemical free to maintain healthy nails, such as Vapour Organic Beauty’s Vernissage 5-Free Nail Lacquer ($16).
However, make sure not to leave nail polish on for too long. Prolonged exposure to nail polish, even the chemical free kind, can leave nails discolored. Once your manicure starts to chip, remove it with an acetone-free nail polish remover ($5.95). The lack of acetone will keep your nails from drying out. After you’ve removed the nail polish from your nails, wait at least a week before painting them again. Giving your nails a chance to breathe will keep them from drying out and becoming brittle.
A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Nov. 13 print edition. Bryna Shuman is a staff writer. Email her at [email protected]