1. Take care of your cuticles instead of cutting them.
Since your nails are driven by the power of your cuticles, once they’re infected or damaged, so are your nails. When taking care of your cuticles, you shouldn’t bite or cut them, as that breaks down their material and leaves them vulnerable to bacteria. However, cuticle clippers can be used for hangnails.
If they seem to be too high up on your nails, gently push them back, and be careful with hard tools like the one pictured. Finally, keep them moisturized like you would the rest of your body.
You can make your own overnight cuticle treatment out of olive oil and cocoa butter:
Full directions here.
2. Buffering your nails is great, but don’t overdo it.
Buffering can lead to shiny, nice nails — but if you do it often, this process could actually weaken your nails because of the constant friction.
3. Keep your nail tools to yourself.
There’s no “sharing is caring” with your nail file, clipper, and etc. because it’s gross. Well, gross in that your tools harbor lots of germs — so just imagine what they must be like when you and all of your friends use them.
Make sure to replace these tools when you can, and try sterilizing them after a couple of uses.
4. Forgo your metal emery boards for glass files.
SAY NO TO METAL FILES. But also, don’t be afraid to say yes to glass files, which are cleaner and provide a healthier filing alternative compared to emery-based files.
But if you’re worried about crystal files breaking, your standard pink ones work too, just replace them often.
5. File your nails in one direction.
The one movement method will prevent nail tears, and it will help you achieve a healthy “squoval” or oval shape that won’t break off.
However, depending on the file you use, say the glass one mentioned above, it won’t be that damaging to slip up on the one-direction process.
6. Speaking of which, pay attention to your shape.
Although the almond and pointier shapes could look cool, they could also weaken nails and make them more susceptible to breaks.
7. Gel manicures aren’t too bad if you practice good maintenance.
Although gel manicures have been known to dry and break nails, if you take care of them between applications, you should be fine.
As always, keep your cuticles hydrated and seek out a nail technicians help with removal or use the foil method.
8. Soaking isn’t always great for manicures.
“Dry manicures” could make your nail color last longer. Also, soaking could actually dry out your cuticles — so if you want to soak for a bit, make sure to moisturize before and after.
9. Base, top, and clear coats can work wonders.
If you want to avoid color, clear polish is a great go-to for decent looking nails. While it protects your nails from breaking, it could also help decrease nail biting (especially those with a specific taste).
Base and top coats seal in color, and they could have great benefits, like OPI’s Nail Envy, which strengthens damaged nails. When using dark colors, remember to always use a base to prevent stains.
10. There’s a small chance that biotin could fix brittle nails.
One supplement that’s had some talk in strengthening nails is biotin, but it has yet to have an official scientific backing. It is believed to work because it does help in reforming keratin in nails and hair. But, if used unwisely, an overdose can occur.
If you have a biotin deficiency (common in pregnant women) or don’t know what your levels are, consult your doctor before taking the vitamin.
11. Beware of glitter nail polish.
Since glitter stays on FOREVER, people often pick and peel at their nails to get it off. However, there are different ways you should actually take off those flecks without any damages to your precious nails.
12. Wear shoes that actually fit — or risk having ingrown toenails.
Ingrown toenails are painful and are prone to getting infected. One possible cause is ill-fitting shoes which allow the toes to smash (or slide) into a cramped, hard space.
13. Nail polish remover should always be used with caution.
Even though it’s tempting to change your nail color multiple times between manicures, it is not recommended to use polish remover more than once a week. The acetone can dry your nails, and in combination with the lacquers you use, your nails could turn up yellow or irritated.
When in use, try a gentler (but still potentially harmful) remover that’s non-toxic or non-acetone, which work great on water-based polishes. Finally, always remember to ventilate, so you don’t fall under the spell of chemical fumes.
14. You can make your manicures last longer with a swipe of vinegar.
Vinegar will remove all the oils so that your polish stays on longer. Full tutorial here.