Shannon R., SELF magazine
Manicures are more than just pretty polish, they're about pampering yourself, your hands and your nails! Proper nail care can help extend the life of your mani and keep nails looking in top shape in between appointments.
5 factors that can ruin nails:
1. Environmental dryness - While usually worse in the winter, dry nails and cuticles can be a problem all year long. If your nail condition is literally changing with the seasons, it may be due to humidity (not enough or even too much!). Nails, like skin, are subject to the drying effects of the environment which can wreak havoc on your mani. Solution: One of my favorite parts of getting a manicure is the lotion hand massage. Treat yourself to a mini massage at home. Keeping hands and nails moisturized is the best way to keep fingers looking fab!
Related: Yoga Moves for Flat Abs
2. Excessive hand washing - While healthy washing habits are important, over-washing can strip your hands and nails of the natural oils and moisture they need. Especially if your job (or hobby or home life) causes you to wash your hands frequently. Washing your hands with soap and water can dry out nails. Solution: Use a mild hand wash instead of bar soap and don't skimp on the lotion.
3. Drying solvents - Are you engaged in any activities that would expose your nails to solvents? For example, home repair projects (like painting a room or varnishing wood trim) could be activities that negatively impact the condition of your nails. Also, if you are a frequent polish changer you could be drying out your nails and cuticles with all the polish removal. Solution: Try to wear gloves when doing hobbies or activities that expose you to drying solvents like paint. Also, if you change polish frequently, be sure to use a non-acetone based polish remover.
Related: Lose 2 Pounds a Week
4. Nail-hardening products - Do you occasionally use nail-hardening products? As I've mentioned in a previous post, while those products do make nails harder they can also make them brittle and more prone to breaking. That's because they formaldehyde to crosslink the keratin protein in nails. Solution: Skip the hardeners and try using a nail-conditioning product or a formaldehyde-free strengthener.
5. Skin conditions - Psoriasis is a disease that causes your skin to become red and scaly and can also wreak your nails. About half of people who suffer from this condition also have nail problems, particularly pitting, rippling, and/or splitting of the nail. Solution: If you think psoriasis might be responsible for your nail problems, check with a dermatologist for treatment.
Related: 20 Superfoods for Weight Loss
Taking care of your nails can actually extend the life of your manicure and keep your polish looking pretty longer! Unless you are lucky enough to get a weekly mani, try to avoid some of the above culprits that damage nails and you'll get the most bang for your manicure buck!
More from SELF:
5 Simple Steps to Cellulite-Free Skin
3 CrossFit Total-Body Workouts
50 Healthiest Snacks
6 Secrets to Firing Up Your Metabolism
Shannon R., SELF magazine