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How to get healthy, beautiful nails

Recently I've been noticing that I've been getting more hangnails and my fingernails will split easier than before. What could be the problem I wondered. It turns out that there are many internal and external reasons for having less than stellar nails.

Internally, a lack of vitamin C, calcium, protein, and vitamin A or B12 can affect your nails' strength and appearance. Most people eat enough protein, but one should also ensure you get enough of the rest by eating lots of fruits and vegetables; particularly carrots are thought to be especially awesome for your nails. (See my post on beauty eating for further tips on eating right)

Externally, one should avoid nail polishes containing toluene sulfonamide or formaldehyde and avoid the use of nail polish remover unless absolutely necessary. If you do need to use a polish remover, use one that contains no acetone, which can strip your nails of its natural oils. Also, avoid contact with harsh detergents or other chemicals that can dry out your nails. Finally, one of the worst one can do to their nails, and one which I'm certainly guilty of, is picking at your cuticles, or biting your nails. Never ever do this!

Luckily, taking care of your nails is pretty simple and not as time-consuming as one may expect. From the research I've read, it seems that going for expensive weekly manicures may not necessarily guarantee you the most beautiful nails; in fact, you are more likely to get infections from improperly sterilized manicure tools and dried out nails from all the harsh polishes, than if you never went in the first place! As always, less is sometimes more. Here are some cheap, low-maintenance ways to get high-maintenance nails:

  • Eat a healthy balanced diet
  • Trim nails regularly and clip hangnails using a proper nail trimmer
  • Moisturize your nails by rubbing lotion into them. You moisturize your hands, so why not your nails at the same time? Lotions containing peppermint or spearmint oil work well for both hands and nails.
  • When filing your nails, be sure to file in one direction only (zig-zagging will cause ridges) and keep your file at a 45 degree angle from the center of your nail.
  • Push back, don't peel, cuticles.
  • Try buffing nails instead of using polish. Buffing will encourage blood circulation to the nail bed and growth. It also gives your nails a healthy sheen.
  • Don't smoke obviously.


  • Womens Digest - The Secrets of Healthy Nails
  • CNN.com
  • BodyandFitness.com
  • How to file and buff your nails (videojug.com)


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