Struggle nail beds are a surefire sign of cold weather settling in. There’s nothing more frustrating than stepping out of the salon with a fresh manicure, only to watch it chip away minutes later.
And once that first chip appears, we find ourselves picking away at the same spot until we’re left with a nail that looks like it’s been chewed off.Although we tend to place blame on cheap polishes or ill-prepared manicurists, the not so obvious culprit is ourselves.
We tend to forget that nails are simply an extension of our skin and require the same level of attention to stay healthy. According to the experts Cutex–the authority on nail care– there are five things we should be doing to ensure that our nails survive the upcoming season.
1. Don’t use pure acetone: Polish removers that are listed as 100 percent pure acetone are super harsh and damaging to your nails. Not only does it dry out your nail, but your cuticles and skin around the nail. You don’t have to skip the acetone completely, but try using a remover that combines the power of acetone with nail-nourishing oils that actually penetrate the nail bed and strengthen brittle nails.
Try Cutex SPA Formula Nail Polish Remover ($4, walmart.com), which includes 98-percent acetone plus botanical oils like flaxseed, apricot seed and perilla to make your nails stronger and healthier between polish changes.
2. Use a basecoat: We know it can be a pain to wait for one more coat of polish to dry, but never skip your basecoat. Basecoats or ridge-fillers help protect nails against the harsh elements of fall and winter seasons by bonding to the keratin in nails. They keep your nails shiny, strong and free of the dreaded yellow-tint, and most have strengthening products within them, helping your nail to grow and get healthier.
We love Revlon’s Multicare Base + Top Coat ($6, walmart.com) for its strengthening and shine-enhancing characteristics.
3. Keep your nails short – at least for now: When trying to strengthen and grow out your nails, the shorter you can keep them, the better. You want to minimize the surface area where water and chemicals can be absorbed. It always looks better to have short & healthy nails, than to have long & unhealthy nails. Once you establish a nail care routine that works and your nails become stronger and healthier, you can grow them out!
4. Keep your hands moisturized: Lotion. Lotion. Lotion. Keep your hands and cuticles healthy and moisturized, especially before dryness starts to show. Avoid alcohol-based soaps, sanitizers and lotions, which are very drying. Instead, wash your hands with moisturizing or soft soap. Excessive water exposure can be drying to your hands and nails as well, so when handling chemicals or doing the dishes, wear gloves.
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Look for lotions containing emollients and humectants, such as jojoba oil, glycerin, sorbitol, isopropyl palmitate, etc. With the seasons in flux, aim for five to seven applications of lotion per day and use cuticle oils to avoid dry skin and hangnails around the nailbed.
5. Go naked: Take a holiday from your polished fingers. Whether you go a few weeks or a few months, this will allow your nails some time to breathe and get back into shape. A real plus for the 2016 fall season is that naked nails are in!