I’ve been wanting to do this post for quite a while now and have finally gotten myself together to do it. I really hope this post will be able to help some of you who might be struggling with weak and brittle nails, and I hope some of you may find inspiration for new ways to treat your nails.
First of all I’d like to say that this is just the way that I treat my nails, and the products that I’ve chosen to use. There is no rule set as for how to do this, and people find different ways that work for them. This is what works for me and these are the products that I’ve had success with. They may or may not work for you (I hope they do) and you may or may not like them (same). This is in no way a strict guideline; it’s me telling you what I’ve been doing and how it’s worked for me, and I really hope you find it helpful and that these products will help you grow strong nails as well.
VITAMINS & NAIL HARDENERS
I’ve tried about a thousand nail hardeners and only one really made a difference. I don’t have that anymore and I haven’t used it for years, but it made a massive difference for me about four years ago. It’s from Herôme and is called “Extra Strong Nail Hardener“. That’s the only nail polish nail hardener I’ve ever used that made a difference.
A few years ago I decided to do gel nails on myself, which was an utter disaster. The end result was a sour faced Christine with paper thin nails that were filed down so badly, it literally looked like I’d been biting my nails my whole life. It was awful! I then turned to a billion different nail polish nail hardeners and eventually my nails grew back in to a “normal” but very ugly state.
♥ A year ago I started taking Biotin supplements. I started out with only 2,5mg a day, but am now taking 5mg a day. This has finally paid of – it’s taken at least 8 months – and my nails are now growing strong from the inside. It’s miraculous! I’ll never stop taking Biotin supplements, they’re like magic :D I get mine from Amazon.uk (link will take you directly to them). I highly recommend taking Biotin supplements to grow stronger nails, as it’s helped me massively with getting the nails I have today.
♥ A few months ago though, I decided to try out something more, because you can never have too lovely nails, right? So I bought Mavala Scientifique nail hardener. And I absolutely love it! It’s definitely made my nails even harder and less prone to splitting. It’s pure poison but it does the trick. Also highly recommended. Can be bought here (UK and EU readers!), here (for Danish readers!) and here (for American readers!).
NAIL FILES & NAIL TOOLS
Now, a lot of people believe that you should only use glass files, only file one way and only do this and that. I don’t. I believe in using the nail files you like, as long as they’re not too rough (that will only rip up your nails completely). Also, a lot of people say you shouldn’t cut your cuticles. And I know you probably shouldn’t, but sometimes I have to or it just looks way too messy. More on that below.
♥ My holy grail product – NFU.OH Cuticle Remover was sent from above. It’s simply amazing. This stuff lasts forever. I’m still only on my first bottle and I’ve got two more stocked up (just in case). It soaks up your cuticles, makes them soft and loosens up dead skin. It’s a lifesaver and the best cuticle remover I’ve ever tried. Get yours here.
♥ A cuticle trimmer. Not much to say here. Use sparingly and only if needed, don’t press too hard or you’ll end up cutting yourself and don’t overcut. These babies are sharp so you should be really really careful when using one. I bought mine for or so on eBay (search for cuticle trimmer, and remember to only buy from top rated sellers).
♥ Another holy grail product! A cuticle pusher and nail cleaner is absolutely essential – at least to me it is. I use this for pushing back my cuticles and pushing off dead skin after I’ve applied my NFU.OH Cuticle Remover, and I also use it for cleaning out dirt under my nails during the day. I bought mine on eBay for or so (search for cuticle pusher, and remember to only buy from top rated sellers).
♥ My glass nail file! This one is from Dr. Hauschka. I really like using this one for filing down my nails when they get too long or if one’s broken. When it comes to filing my nails there’s only really one rule that I follow, and that is I file my nails very straight. No filing down in the sides. That’s basically it. It takes a while getting used to but once you’ve got lovely square nails I’m sure you’ll love it. I bought my glass nail file here.
♥ A lovely nail buffer is every girls best friend. This amazing one from Models Own has 6 different sides with different textures to shape and buff your nails to perfection. I absolutely love this one! (I’ve used up 5 and have 3 stocked up) They last a really long time and are amazing for filing up your tips to prevent ridges and cracks. I use a really smooth side on the ends of my tips to prevent cracks almost daily and it really helps! Get yours here.
HAND AND CUTICLE CARE & NAIL OILS
One of the most important things, especially if you’re using a drying nail hardener like the one from Mavala mentioned above, is to moisturize your nails, cuticles and hands. I have numerous products for this and the ones above are just a few of my favourites.
It’s super important to moisturize your hands to keep your skin soft, especially in the winter time where the cold weather dries out your skin. Also, just by applying hand cream you’re moisturizing your cuticles and nails, thereby preventing dried out cuticles and dry and splitting nails. By moisturizing your nails you’re helping bind together the layers of Keratin that your nails are made up by. When these dry out, they become prone to splitting and cracking. Moisturize!
♥ A hand balm is lovely for applying all over your hands before you go to bed. This one from Lypsyl is nice and thick, dries in rather quickly considering its consistency, and is perfume free. It was super cheap as well. I use this every evening before going to bed. I bought this at my local drugstore.
♥ A light hand lotion is great for applying throughout the day when you don’t want greasy hands, and you don’t have time to wait for a creme to sink in. My personal favourite is Sebamed’s Hand+Nail Balm (it’s a lotion…) which smells divine, sinks in immediately and leave hands super soft. I bought mine here.
♥ Nail oils are important as this is the best way to literally soak your nails in magical moisture goodness. I differ between using Bio Oil which soaks in really fast, and a more heavy duty vitamin E oil from Jason. Bio Oil can be bought at your local pharmacist or drugstore, and vitamin E oils can be bought at your local health food shop.
♥ Another item I use religiously is the famous Lush Lemony Flutter cuticle butter. This stuff is simply divine! The lemon part of this butter brightens your nails and prevents stains, while the buttery part (lulz) moisturizes your cuticles and nails massively. I’m on my fourth one so far. This stuff is heaven. You can buy this at your local Lush shop, but if you don’t – like me – have Lush in your country, you can buy it online here (for UK and EU readers) or here (for American readers).
So that’s basically it. This is how I take care of my nails and what I’ve been doing so far to get the nails I’ve got today, and to be honest I really like them today.
I hope this was helpful and informative! If you have any questions don’t hesitate to comment below, ask me on twitter or facebook or send me an email – all of these can be found in my Contact & PR page.
Have a lovely day!
Lots of love,