10 Tips to Keep Nails Looking Sharp

Nail care is something a lot of us tend to neglect – and it’s so easy to neglect your nails because caring for them can be time consuming, fiddly and just plain annoying. Who’s got the time, effort and money to go for regular mani-pedis? I wish I did, but I just don’t. Even giving yourself a home manicure takes patience and effort (and I don’t exactly have those to spare) – first you’ve got to clean off your old nail polish, then you’ve got to file and shape and exfoliate, and paint them (a nightmare for the less-than-dexterous) and then wait hours for them to dry. God help if you smudge your polish, or you’ve got to lather, rinse repeat.

Screw. That.

  These are not my nails. My nails are gross.
  These are not my nails. My nails are gross.

But there are some things you can do to keep your nails healthy and looking good that are surprisingly easy and don’t take half as much time and effort as giving yourself a full-on manicure.

1. Clean off nail varnish stains with whitening toothpaste. It’ll make your nails lovely and clean, while also brightening them.

2. Eat more nuts and seeds. These have essential fatty acids and vitamins to help make your nails grow stronger. They’re also great for your skin and hair.

3. Take a supplement if you can’t get the vitamins from your diet – fish oil, vitamin e and biotin are all great for nail growth. 

4. Choose a suitable moisturiser. Try to find one without too much alcohol – the lower down the ingredient list the better. You can also buy some pretty great moisturisers with nail strengthening ingredients, like keratin.

5. Slather it on, then wear a pair of cotton gloves or socks on your hands. This will help you keep the moisture in, and stop the cream rubbing off. Vaseline works great for this, as it seals in more moisture. A great idea is to do this overnight to allow more time for the moisturiser to do its work.

6. Buy a cuticle oil. Nails Inc. do a great one with vitamin E and lavender. I find it’s really helped my cuticles from being dry and flaky when I use it once or twice a day, but you could just use almond or a similar oil.

7. Don’t clip cuticles; it can lead to infection and irritation. Try pushing them back with a cuticle stick instead.

8. Avoid acetone based nail polish removers as they can dry out your nails. There are plenty of great nail polish removers without acetone, and some of them have conditioning ingredients to help nourish your nails.

9. Don’t over-wash your hands as it’ll dry out the skin around the nails, dehydrate the skin, and cause nails to become brittle and thin.

10. As a rule of thumb: don’t wear nail varnish all the time! I know it’s great to experiment with different colours, textures, patterns etc, but try and give your poor nails a break in-between as daily wear can weaken your nails, causing them to peel and flake. And it’s not just the general wear of nail polish – removing it with acetone polish remover and peeling the varnish off is bad too.

What are your best nail-care tips?