From high-drama stiletto acrylics to peachy nude natural nails, a fresh mani is a fantastic accessory and an instant mood boost. But after stumbling across a video of a woman adding nail extensions to very unhealthy nails, we were reminded that the nails under all that pretty polish deserve some TLC too.
Luckily, there are some pretty easy and low-cost ways you can take care of your nails between professional manicures. Here are some of our faves:
Don’t peel your polish
Whether you use shellac, gel, or traditional formulas, chipped or lifting polish can feel like a nearly irresistible invitation to peel it. Resist the temptation! Peeling polish might be satisfying, but as you lift the lacquer, you often take layers of your nail as well, leaving them thin, weak, and susceptible to damage.
Let your nails breathe
Okay, technically nails don’t actually breathe. But smothering them under polishes, acrylics and gel overlays does create other nail health concerns. If your nails are never naked, they may become discolored, dry, and rough. The simple solution is an occasional manicure break—a few weeks where your nails go au naturel.
Add biotin to your vitamin regimen.
Just like the rest of your body needs nutrients to thrive, your nails benefit from vitamins too. The most effective one? Biotin. This vitamin helps your body metabolize the amino acids that are key for healthy nail growth. While there are tons of popular biotin gummies on the market, the biotin capsules sold at your local pharmacy are a budget-friendly and equally effective alternative.
(As a bonus, biotin also increases hair growth!)
Glove up for dishes
Soaps and other chemicals we use for dishes and household cleaning can be rough and drying on your nails. But a pair of rubber gloves are an easy low-cost fix that let you clean as usual without putting your nails through the ringer.
Keep your hands moisturized
Our bodies don’t like to be dry. Just like our hair and skin require regular moisture, our nails and cuticles benefit from being hydrated and moisturized too. Lotion your hands regularly and rub your cuticles with a cuticle oil to stave off dryness, especially during those icy winter months.
The healthier your nails are, the better they’ll look, even during those periods you can’t make it in for your regular manicure. If you’re due to give your nails a little extra love or you’re ready to end your manicure hiatus and get some Instagram-worthy nail art, click here to check out our list of talented nail techs.