Breaking a nail is one of the most frustrating
beauty blunders of them all. Suddenly, your perfect manicure is ruined and your jagged nail is catching on your cashmere sweater as you search for a quick fix. Missing nail files aside, if you're noticing more broken or split nails than you usually do, it might be time to revisit how you care for them.
Just like our hair and skin, our fingernails deserve an ample amount of attention to remain healthy. After all, the appearance of your nails can say a lot about your health. Ahead, our editors put together a few additional tips that have been proven to work. Here's to many pristine manicures in your future!
Practice Good Hygiene
Cleanliness is the first step to maintaining healthy, happy hands: Dirty fingernails are a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. Not washing your hands properly, which includes
cleaning under each nail
, could lead to a slew of nasty skin infections.
Pushy and Nail Cleaner, $18, available at
Show Some Glove Love
porous, meaning water passes through them more easily than other types of skin. Dermatologist Phoebe Rich, MD,
that wet, softened nails are more prone to breakage and/or splitting. To prevent both from happening, Rich says to wear gloves while doing household chores (e.g. washing dishes, cleaning the bathroom).
You should wear gloves when working outside, too — especially once the weather turns cold. Low temperatures can lead to peeling and other types of trauma.
Bliss Latex-Free Gloves, 1 Pair, $4.99, available at
Break Bad Habits
Nail-biting is a common way to relieve stress and anxiety, but it's actually really bad for you. As this gruesome
points out, the habit is
damaging to your teeth
, and can even
stunt nail growth
... forever. To help you stop bitting once and for all, the experts at ORLY developed a special, bitter-tasting nail polish that many have found effective.
No Bite, Nail Bite Deterrent, $11, available at
Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize
Healthy nails need constant moisture to stay looking pretty. Without it, they sometimes turn weak and flaky. And because, again, fingernails have a high porosity, the peak time for moisture absorption is immediately after you wash your hands. For the colder months, consider stashing your favorite moisturizer in a purse to moisturize on-the-go.
Rich Girl, Broad Spectrum SPF 25 Hand Cream, $28, available at
Use A Cuticle Cream
Fingernails grow from root to tip. Therefore, protecting the area closest to the root, a.k.a your cuticles, is key. Cuticle oil seals in moisture and works to cure dryness. Cuticle creams do the same thing, but for the most part are less messy and you won't have to worry about any product spillage when toting them around.
Your Cuticles Look Thirsty, Fast-Absorbing Cuticle Crème, $20, available at
Consider Taking A Vitamin Supplement
Many are convinced that
can grow hair and nails at rapid speed, though research on the topic isn't fully supportive. Still if you're itching to give them a try, we love these ones, which are easy to pick up at Sephora while you're restocking your makeup bag.
Killer Nails Supplements, $20, available at
Paint On A Protective Layer
While your nails are healing, give them a boost in strength with a salon-quality nail hardener. Different from just a regular top coat, this clear nail treatment is fortified with various proteins and nutrients that bond to the nail for added strength.
Nail Envy Nail Strengthener, $17.05, available at
Stay Away From Harsh Nail Products
Put the acetone nail polish remover down. Yes, it works. But the stuff is
drying, which is exactly what fingernails that are already dry don't need. Reach for a gentler alternative instead that nourishes your nails in the process.
Express Nail Polish Remover Pot, $8, available at
Invest In Pro-Quality Tools
Using dull nail clippers is a big no-no. They make grooming a hassle and can tear the nail if you're not careful. A sharp, clean pair is always your best bet.
Deluxe Nail Clipper, $2.99, available at
File On Sight
No matter how hard you try, sometimes snags at the ends your nails are simply unavoidable. Keeping your fingernail tips smooth and slightly rounded will minimize the chance of tears.
Mini Nail File, $20, available at
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