Are you taking a break from acrylics and gels and want to go all-natural and effortless for the summer? Or are you having a hard time growing your nails past your fingertips without them cracking and breaking? Don’t worry; you won’t have to hide flaking, brittle nails forever. Nails reflect our overall health, so consider implementing the following lifestyle changes to your daily routine and watch as your nails begin to strengthen and grow strong!
Eat a Diet Rich in Vitamin D
You are what you eat. Our bodies constantly regenerate cells, and we need a good supply of nutrients in order to do so. Strong, healthy nails start in the kitchen. Foods that contain biotin, calcium, vitamin A and vitamin C should be your go-to. Here’s a list of foods to reach for that will help your nail health, starting with vitamin D.
The protein found in lean meats like chicken, turkey, and beef helps build strong nails the same way it helps build strong muscles. Nails are made out of protein, so that’s the first thing you should turn to when amping up your diet.
Soybeans contain an amino acid called cysteine that helps with the production of keratin. Keratin is the key protein responsible for the health of your nails. They are also a great source of folate, which is needed to help regenerate new nail cells.
Salmon is rich in protein, biotin, and omega-3 fatty acids. These are three absolutely essential nutrients for strong nails. Since salmon is full of healthy fats and vitamins B6 and B12, it will help the nails from splitting, breaking, and peeling.
Nuts and Seeds
If you’ve noticed vertical ridges in your nails, it may be a sign you're not getting enough magnesium. Snacking on any type of nuts and seeds (particularly almonds and sunflower seeds) that contain vitamin B6, zinc, and vitamin E are great choices for healthy nails.
Don’t Forget About Vitamin C
Vitamin C is great to help boost your collagen levels as well as maintain your overall health and immune system. Reach for the following foods that are packed with vitamin C.
- Bell Peppers: Raw or cooked, bell peppers are a delicious, colorful addition to any dish and perfect to snack on.
Tomatoes: Don’t skip this vitamin C-packed sandwich topper, salad ingredient, and refreshing snack.
Strawberries: Delicious and sweet, strawberries make a great treat.
- Kiwis: This tart and tangy citrus fruit is high in vitamin C.
Include Foods With Vitamin A
Vitamin A is often found in a lot of products you can put on your nails, but you can easily get this nutrient through the foods you eat as well. Try these foods that are rich in vitamin A:
- Sweet Potatoes
- Dried Apricots
Eat Foods With Vitamin E
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps prevent free-radical damage caused by the environment. It also works to help maintain and provide moisture to dry nail beds, providing stronger nails with less cracking and breaking. Try these foods:
- Avocados: They are perfect on a sandwich, in salads, and of course… avocado toast.
Spinach: Spinach is super easy to sneak into your diet. Throw some in your morning smoothie.
Swiss Chard: Great for salads and wraps.
- Kale: Try some homemade kale chips. Yum!
Try Vitamin Supplements
Sometimes our bodies need a little extra help getting the vitamins we need to be healthy and strong. If you’re not loading up on enough biotin-rich foods like vegetables, eggs, and nuts, you could take a biotin supplement that helps to grow and strengthen your hair and nails.
Make Sure You Stay Hydrated
It’s super easy to become dehydrated, especially during the warmer months. When your body is dehydrated, so are your nails. Hydration is key because dried-out nails become brittle nails. Consider picking up one of those gallon water bottles to keep with you throughout your day and set a daily goal to finish the entire bottle.
Pro Tip: If you find it hard to drink water because of its bland taste, infuse it with fruits like strawberries and raspberries or add sliced cucumber and mint.
Use Nail Polish
Using a durable polish, like gel, will help your nails grow out long and strong. The nail can grow out while the gel polish acts as a shield from things that can cause nail damage. Ask your clients if they want to try gel polish if they are having trouble growing their nails out.
Pro Tip: Use a base coat and a topcoat. Especially helpful for weak nails, base coats provide an additional protective barrier from breakage and dehydration. Topcoats will seal the polish to your nail, helping to prevent chipping and peeling of the polish, which can often take some layers of your nail off with it.
Consider Your Nail Shape
When trying to grow out your nails, it's best to keep them at a certain length and shape until they get stronger. If you have brittle nails and are working on strengthening them through your diet and some other ways we’ve recommended, keep them short and filed straight across. To help prevent chipping and cracking, gently file the edges down so they are smooth.
Be Kind To Your Nails
Avoid using your nails as a tool. You especially want to avoid this if your nails are brittle and weak. Instead of picking a sticker off with your fingernail or opening a can of soda, get an actual tool you can utilize, like the end of a butter knife or a credit card.
Limit Exposure to Water and Chemicals
If your job requires you to have your nails submerged in water or constantly getting your hands wet over the span of your shift, it can have negative effects on your nails. While some may think that having your nails in water provides hydration, water actually sucks the moisture out of your nails and strips them of the natural oils they need to be strong.
Consider wearing cotton-lined gloves to protect from water and chemicals. If that’s not possible, get a good moisturizer or nail oil to apply regularly.
Additionally, after the year we have all had, it’s likely you’ve gone through many bottles of hand sanitizer. While hand sanitizer kills germs when you don’t have access to soap and water, it can wreak havoc on your nail beds since the key germ-killing ingredient is alcohol. Whenever possible, avoid hand sanitizer and opt for a moisturizing soap and water to clean your hands.
Use a Nail Strengthener
Brushing on a nail strengthening top coat every few days will help your nails get through hard times. There are plenty of over-the-counter options, but if they’re not doing the trick, you can see a dermatologist for a prescription nail strengthener.
Get a Check-Up
There may be some underlying health reasons at the root of your weak nails. If your nails aren’t responding to any of these lifestyle changes, you should see a doctor to be evaluated. Some conditions can affect nail strength, such as anemia (iron deficiency), hypothyroidism, and psoriasis.
Nail health reflects your overall health. If your nails are weak and brittle, it’s definitely time to reassess your diet and lifestyle. Having weak nails can be discouraging, especially when all you want are strong, long nails.
Growing them out for weeks just to see them crack or break suddenly can be aggravating, but implementing these small changes can make a big difference. Trust us; there is light at the end of this tunnel! Good luck on your nail health journey and don’t forget to check out Valentino Beauty Pure for products that will strengthen and protect your nails!