How To Get Natural, Strong, & Beautiful Nails On The Cheap

embedesPhotographed by Guang Xu.
Sure, everything changes once you become a mom, but that doesn’t have to mean sacrificing style. Elizabeth Street, an international collective of mothers who understand what it’s like to do everything one-handed, is here to help you discover everything from the newest green-friendly beauty products to the chicest home decor ideas — whether you’re raising a little one or not.
Advertisement
As you know, here at Elizabeth Street, we’re fans of the manicure — though we’d skip the gel or shellac ones. However, in the New Year we’ve resolved to be more health-conscious, even when it comes to ostensibly minute details, like how often we polish our nails. Or, speaking to the naturalists among us, how much attention we pay them in general.
The condition of your fingernails and toenails can say a lot about your health and hygiene. Vanity or just cleanliness may have you taking multiple trips to the salon every month. But, no matter how primped and polished your digits may appear, it’s what lies beneath that counts.
Nails, like skin, are made up of epidermal cells. But these particular bundles of cells are tightly packed, considered “dead,” and filled with a protein known as keratin. Like skin, your nails require exposure to oxygen to stay healthy. The keratin in your nails allows water to pass through them. Needless to say, polish prevents all this from happening, which is why chronic salon-goers often notice irregular ridges, peeling, and discoloration on their nails. Yellow staining, while in some cases a sign of infection, is often just the result of contact with pigments and chemicals. Even most water-based nail polishes contain solvents and the film-forming agent nitrocellulose, which is also used in car paints. Additionally, frequent painting can leave nails thinner, brittle, and more susceptible to breakage.
The takeaway? Give your nails some room to breathe, but don’t simply ignore them. In between manis, your fingers and toes should have a week off from polish. Moisturize, strengthen and nourish your nails with treatments full of Vitamin E, coconut and sunflower oils. And, coat on some reinforcing serum for good measure. Click through the slideshow above to check our top five favorite revitalizing products, and get ready for a new you that’s healthier all around, from top to bottom.
1Photo: Courtesy of Dior.
Advertisement
This rich, creamy salve nourishes and conditions cuticles, strengthens nails, and encourages growth. We recommend applying right before bed, since it’s a little on the thicker side.
Dior Crème Abricot Fortifying Cream For Nails, $25, available at Sephora.
2Photo: Courtesy of Burt's Bees.
In our book, Burt’s Bees can do no wrong. This buttery cream, made up of cocoa seed butter, sweet almond oil, and sunflower oil enriches nails with tons of vitamin E. Say goodbye to rough cuticles, hangnails, and dry, brittle nails.
Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream, $6, available at Drugstore.com.
Advertisement
3Photo: Courtesy of Deborah Lippmann.
This product is great for nails damaged from gel or artificial nail removal. It strengthens and protects nails, plus promotes healthy growth. Most importantly, it’s paraben, formaldehyde, and sulfate-free.
Deborah Lippmann Hard Rock Hydrating Hardener, $20, available at Sephora.
4Photo: Courtesy of Deborah Lippmann.
The intensely hydrating quality of the jojoba and coconut oils in this treatment makes it one of our favorite cuticle fixer-uppers.
Advertisement
Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Oil, $20, available at Sephora.
5Photo: Courtesy of Nail Tek.
A favorite of nail professionals, Intensive Therapy helps heal weak, thin, soft or peeling nails. In a few weeks you’re guaranteed to notice some serious results.
Nail Tek II Intensive Therapy, $9, available at Drugstore.com.
Advertisement

More from Nails

Now just sit back, relax, and enjoy a bit of nail-polish hypnosis
There are two main strategies we use when shopping for nail polish (or picking a color at the nail salon under pressure). You're either the person who ...
We thought all zodiac-related news had passed — especially after last week's collective freakout over the new constellation, Ophiuchus, potentially ...
Remember back in November when we reported on Nail Inc.'s new spray-on nail polish and our entire office, along with the rest of the internet, proceeded ...
If you thought the pumpkin spice trend had gone too far, then you clearly have yet to see this video. YouTube user twi_star took things to the next level...
False eyelashes, hair extensions, and acrylic nails — the fun additions to a beauty routine may not actually be the best things to be gluing to our bodies...
In the grand scheme of new beauty-product releases, nail polish is, undoubtedly, the most overwhelming. The top brands flood the market with several ...
(Paid Content) We're all on the constant hunt for the perfect manicure. It's the stuff of legends: a perfect, shiny coat of opaque paint that won't chip or...
Orange and black isn't our first choice of color combination. Or our second. Or our tenth. But we love a challenge, and Halloween presents the perfect one...
Beautiful @feifeisun #backstage at @verawanggang with the nail look using #JINsoon Risque and Matte Maker. #nyfw #nyfwss17 #ss17 #fashionweek #...
If you’re looking for a nail polish that will take the place of your perfume, you’re in the wrong place. (And, uh, why are you looking for that?) The ...
Some claim the nail-art trend is on its final legs. We beg to differ. It wasn't dying last season, and all signs backstage at the spring '17 shows point to...
We don’t mean to brag, but New York City is the birthplace of a very important institution: the nail salon. Back in 1878, an entrepreneurial woman opened ...
In-demand nail artists know what the biggest manicure trends for each season are going to be long before the rest of us. How? Well, they're the ones who ...