Keeping your nails healthy and strong can be really difficult, especially if you're partial to a gel manicure or acrylics every once in a while. But there are a few things you can do to help prevent nails from breaking, splitting and peeling.
The main problem we tend to see with nails is dryness, this then leads to weak nails that are prone to breakage, especially if you have just removed a set of gels or acrylics. The first thing you need to do is make sure you are hydrated at all times! I know we bang on about this all the time for your skin, your hair, your body but it really is so important.
Keep them short
Regular trims are just as important for your nails as they are for your hair. Be very careful when you're using nail clippers that you don't go too far down and pull the nail from the nail bed (ouch!). It can be safe to regularly file them to keep them short while they are going through the process of repair. Keeping your nails at a shorter length will help prevent any breakage that may occur through wear and tear. Make sure you have a good quality nail file like the Royal Cosmetics Functionality 7 Step Nail Buffer.
Regularly applying a hand and nail cream or a cuticle oil will help counteract any dryness (this doesn't replace drinking water!). If you apply once a day for a month you will definitely see an improvement in the strength of your nails. Try the L'Oreal LA Manicure Nutri Oil For Nails & Cuticles or the Roger & Gallet Bois d'Orange Hand & Nail cream.
Give them a break
If you're a die-hard gel addict or just can't be without your acrylic nails, you really need to think about giving them a break every once in a while. Because the formulas used in these procedures tend to dehydrate your nails, so you must give them the opportunity to recover occasionally. As a general rule of thumb if you do go for regular manicures, then have a month off every 3 months. And get slathering on that nail and cuticle oil!
Use regular nail polish
For this in between time you can still use normal nail polish. Nail polish doesn't affect the nail bed or the top layer of your nails as it isn't being saturated. Using a clear nail varnish can help your nails look healthier and will also seal in any colour if you want to apply that too! Try using the Maybelline Dr Rescue Gel Effect Top Coat Nail Polish.
For real damage
If you've been struggling with weak, damaged nails for a while then you may need a more intensive treatment. There are a number of products out there that can help bring your nails back to life:
First up is the Dr Lewinns ReNuNail 3 Step Longer & Stronger Nails This 3 step program works over a 4 week period. By the end of the 4 weeks you will have longer, stronger and healthier nails. In the set there is a Nail Strengthener, a Sensitive Nail Strengthener in Nude and Nourishing Nail and Cuticle Oil. You apply the first nail strengthener every day for 5 days, remove and then repeat until you have done so for 4 weeks. Apply the nourishing oil after every application. After 4 weeks you then have a break and use the sensitive nail strengthener for two weeks and then begin the process again if you wish. The formulas are fortified with calcium, keratin technology and a blend of natural oils to replenish and repair you nails.
Secondly, we have the Leighton Denny One Coat Strengthening Treatment. This treatment is perfect if you want something that will protect your nails and encourage nail growth. The main ingredient in the product is silk fibres with form a protective coating over soft and weak nail beds. Apply this polish daily to build up the layers and then remove when it begins to flake. With regular use your nails will become much stronger.
Finally, we have the Nutra Nail Bullet Proof Strength. This product contains bullet proof fibre and nylon fibre in a strengthening formula to create a powerful shield on the nails. Shielded nails then become resistant to splitting, cracking, peeling and breaking to help give you stronger and visibly healthier nails in days. You can use this product as a base coat under normal nail polish or on its own.