The quest to establish a full-blown self-care routine can never be complete without incorporating some (much-needed) nail care. Just imagine sippin' on wine, flaunting non-manicured, chipped nails—nuh-uh, girl. "When it comes to caring for your nails, people often consider the process to be cumbersome and expensive. However, a few simple, home-friendly tips can cater to the lazy girls who don't wish to invest too much time—or money—on nail care," explains Sneha Bhagwat, Founder, Nailbox Bengaluru.
For strong, sturdy nails and a soft, supple cuticle, you've got to give your claws some TLC. Ladies, say buh-bye to brittleness with these expert-approved nail care tips:
Apply a Cuticle Oil
Before we tackle the nails, let's shift focus to the cuticles. "Make sure that you apply cuticle oil and don’t trim your nails way too much. Apart from trimming, neatly filing your nails will help keep them fresh and healthy as well. Keep your cuticles in check for any sign of redness, puffiness or inflammation. Consider using a gentle buff on your nails to avoid rough edges and scarring," recommends Sneha.
Use a Base and Top Coat
"Add a base coat for protection and a top coat for sheen. A top coat also reduces the probability of chipping," informs Sneha. "Use a base coat and a hardener to protect damaged nails. Also, carry a nail grooming kit with you wherever possible," adds Pooja Malhotra, Makeup Artist, Kiko Milano.
Moisturise, Moisturise, Moisturise
When it comes to caring for your nails, one often tends to confuse washing with moisturising. Sneha puts forth, "Water washes off the natural oils from your nails and skin and makes them dry. Hence, it is important to lock in the moisture with nail oil. A cuticle oil contains ingredients that help moisturise, repair and strengthen the nails, plus help accelerate nail growth. Massage the oil onto your nail and cuticle area post washing or sanitising your hands."
Consult a Professional
Pooja suggests avoiding—or at least reducing—harsh nail treatments such as extensions and gel and acrylic nail polish. If you do choose to go in for one of these services, make sure you maintain the quality of your nails. "If you’re getting extensions or overlays, visit the nail studio regularly for check-ups and salon care. Don't pluck off your extensions or scrape the polish on your own. These specially formulated products require special care and solutions to apply/remove. By taking matters into your own hands (quite literally), you will most likely damage the top layer of your nail. And, once your nails are damaged, it could take up to 3 months to resume normalcy," reveals Sneha. "Plus, if someone is offering nail extensions for a price abnormally lower than the usual market price, be cautious. Chances are that the products being offered are of poor quality. Educate yourself about the brands available in the market and consult an expert in case you have any queries," she adds.
A Healthy Diet Goes a Long Way
We've said it before, we'll say it again: following a well-balanced, nutritious diet is paramount for your overall hair, skin, nail, and body health. According to Sneha, they're not wrong when they say "you are what you eat." She says, "What you eat has a visible impact on your nail and skin health. So, consistency is key." Consuming antioxidant-laden foods will also help stimulate nail growth.