By Hilary Sheinbaum
As someone who has written about beauty trends for nearly a decade — and as someone who also feels naked without nail polish — it pains me to admit there was a time I didn’t care for my nails at all. (Yes, it’s true.) Hear me out: I grew up with three brothers, played tons of sports, and took out my anxiety in an unfortunate way… nail-biting.
Never mind the past. People change!….or at least, I have. And definitely, my evolution has been for the better. These days, I’m committed to healthy nails — nail beds, plates, cuticles, and all. I’m not saying I’m a rising hand model, but I do keep a few tips and tricks in mind to keep my nails shiny and strong.
If you love a good mani/pedi, also, read on.
Yes, this is a super basic rule, but it’s a necessary one. “To keep nails from becoming brittle and easily breaking, drink plenty of water,” says Rachel Apfel Glass, founder of GLOSSLAB in New York City. “I recommend three liters a day.”
While you’re gulping down a day’s worth of H2O, take time to apply an external lubricant. “Coconut oil is a great hand moisturizer and perfect for improving the cuticle and keeping nails from cracking and becoming brittle,” says Glass. “Buying a lotion infused with coconut oil or using it before bed is a great way to stay moisturized and keep nails strong. You can usually find coconut oil at your local grocery store, and any kind works.”
Of course, you should be drinking water, but when it comes to manis and pedis, keep your hands and feet out of spa bowls and salon tubs. “Water is a breeding ground for germs and bacteria and can remain in the bowl even after the water is drained,” says Glass. (Did you just shudder, too?)
She continues, “One of the most important aspects of having a manicure last the longest, too — whether it be regular polish or gel — is by getting a waterless manicure. The water causes the nail plate to expand which then causes the polish to chip once the nail dries and assumes its original structure.”
Her pro tip: request a waterless service at any salon! And, there are no drawbacks. It’s good for the planet and for you!
I’m personally a fan of cleaning under my nails with a nail scrubber and taking off my regular polish with nail polish remover, but when it comes to getting gel polish off your nails, Glass recommends the GLOSSLAB Gel Eraser Kit. It safely removes gel polish without damaging the nail and it is acetone-free. “You can use it whenever it’s time to remove your gel polish, and it will work in 5-10 minutes to take it off,” she says.
And last but not least, two bonus tips from yours truly: Don’t pick your polish, and don’t forget to take your nail vitamins!