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Top Tips For Strong Summer Nails

As temperatures rise, most people acknowledge the possibility of sun damage to their hair and skin, and often look at either enhancing or amending their usual beauty regime to ensure some added protection. But what about the nails? Often overlooked, they too require extra attention in the summer months to prevent them from becoming brittle and flaky. 

Since the hands and nails are always on display, they are one of the first things that people notice, so it makes good sense to ensure that the nails are in good condition and dehydration does not become an issue. Follow these tips to negate the impact of warmer weather and have beautiful, strong and healthy nails for the duration of summer and beyond:

Keep Your Nails Hydrated

PIC1 3Hydration is paramount to keeping nails strong. Whereas you may think that submerging the nails in water for prolonged periods of time hydrates the nails, for instance when swimming, it actually has the opposite effect since it causes them to dry out by removing important oils. And of course, the chemicals in chlorinated water make it even more detrimental to the health of the nails. Always wash hands immediately after swimming, and apply moisturiser to the cuticles and nails. This applies to the toes as well as the fingers! Natural shea butter or coconut oil is perfect to put in your beach bag to moisturise the nails, and doubles up perfectly as a lip balm too.
When washing dishes or tackling the cleaning, be sure to wear a pair of rubber gloves to protect against exposure to chemicals and hot soapy water.

Nail polish remover is renowned for dehydrating the nails. Always use acetone-free nail polish remover and try to limit its use during the summer months. The life of a manicure may be extended by applying a good quality hydrating base coat and continually touching up your nail polish. Don’t forget to add a top coat (preferably non-yellowing) with UV protection to strengthen the nails and add shine.
Focus on the cuticles as well as the nails, since they can dry out very quickly and become cracked, painful and unsightly. Never cut the cuticles since they serve to protect the nails from bacteria.

Natural oils such as argan oil, jojoba oil and almond oil are a perfect way to add and retain hydration after a nail soak. They are absorbed into the nail much slower than water and offer flexibility rather than causing softness. They also evaporate at a much slower rate and help to retain moisture. Use after a nail soak every night, and massage oil into the cuticles every morning as part of your usual beauty routine.
To use: Soak the hands for a couple of minutes and then massage the chosen oil into the nails and cuticles. Rub any excess oil into the hands to take advantage of the skin-boosting properties. 

Let Your Nails Breathe

PIC2 3During the hotter months of summer it is essential to give the nails a break from polish and allow them to breathe. The nails are porous and are easily damaged by the summer sun. In order to minimise damage, yellowing or discolouration, remove the polish at least one day before applying new polish. 

To remove any stains, use a 4 way buffing block and gently buff the nail to smooth out an uneven surface and remove the most superficial layer of the nail. If you should find that any stubborn staining or discolouration remains, try one of these three easy home remedies after buffing:

  • Mix two teaspoons of baking soda with warm water to make a paste and apply to the nails and allow to sit for 7-10 minutes. Rinse with warm water. Reapply if needed.
  • Apply a coat of whitening tooth paste to the nails and gently scrub with a nail brush. Rinse with warm water. Reapply if needed. 
  • Mix some honey, lemon juice and warm water in a small bowl. Soak the nails for 7-10 minutes and rinse with warm water.
    Next, massage some almond oil into the nails and cuticles. Voila! Instant shiny nails. They’ll look so good that you won’t worry about not wearing polish for the required 24 hour minimum.

Adjust Nail Length and Shape

PIC3 3Nails grow quicker during the warmer months which also requires added attention. Frequent cutting will increase growth speed and keeping the length shorter will be beneficial to ensuring strong healthy nails. Since shorter nails have less exposed edges they are less likely to rip or tear, and also require less upkeep and moisture. If the thought of shorter nails fills you with dread, opt for an oval shape rather than pointy to maximise strength, as they are less likely to break. In fact, an oval shape is the strongest regardless of nail length.

Avoid Humidity

Try to keep the nails as dry as possible since moisture is the enemy, particularly for gel manicures, as prolonged moisture can generate fungi or bacteria. This is especially valid for the toe nails, so keep a pack of tissues handy to keep the hands and feet moisture-free.

Reduce Sun Exposure

In order to avoid damaged nail beds or a faded manicure, be sure to apply sunscreen to your hands and nails every morning. Want to keep your nailcare completely natural? Enrich your morning cuticle massage oil with some carrot seed oil (renowned for its natural SPF) and massage into the hands in addition to the nails and cuticles. As already mentioned, a non-yellowing top-coat with UV protection is also recommended for the nails. 

Be Healthy

PIC4 3Your general health is reflected in the health of your nails. Poor nutrition, ageing and illness all weaken the nails and slow growth. Abnormalities in the nails can also be an indication of a health issue – bumps, ridges, dark lines beneath the nail, or a pale, white, bluish, or yellow colour (other than discolouration due to a previous dark polish), etc, can indicate disease in another part of the body. Therefore it is imperative to keep our nails in tip-top condition so we can clearly see any warning signs the nails provide.

The longer warmer days are also a perfect time to get more active and enhance general health. Drink plenty of water to keep the nails correctly hydrated, and eat a healthy balanced diet. Consuming calcium-rich foods such as cheese, fish, meat, milk, seafood, and yoghurt (or dried fruits, leafy, green vegetables, and tofu for the vegan or vegetarian) will be most beneficial to nail health. Since bacteria and fungi thrive in warmer weather, wash the hands frequently, dry well and always apply cream, lotion or oil to replenish lost moisture.

Develop A Solid Nail Care Routine

For strong, healthy nails, develop a care regime and stick to it. Ideal routines include:
Daily routine:
PIC5 3Morning:

  • Clean the nails using lukewarm water and antibacterial soap.
  • Massage a small amount of your chosen oil into the cuticles, nails and hands, and apply sunscreen (or alternatively add some carrot seed oil to your chosen oil to take advantage of it’s natural SPF).


  • Clean the nails using lukewarm water and antibacterial soap.
  • Check for any nicks or catches on the nail edge and if necessary, use a nail file to eradicate, in order to prevent further splitting or damage. Use long smooth motions in one direction only.
  • Check for any damage to the polish and if necessary add another coat plus top coat to prolong the life of the existing manicure.
  • Soak the nails in a bowl of warm water for a couple of minutes and then massage your chosen oil (argan, jojoba, almond, etc) into the nails and cuticles. Massaging increases blood flow to the cuticles and nails, provides nourishment, and thus promotes strength and growth.
  • If the cuticles still require extra hydration, massage in some shea butter or coconut oil and cover hands with plastic gloves for at least one hour (for the toes, put on some cotton socks and leave overnight).

For a new manicure:

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  • Clean the nails using lukewarm water, antibacterial soap and a nail brush. Dry hands and nails thoroughly.
  • Use a gentle, acetone-free polish remover to remove nail polish.
  • Use a 4 way buffing block to gently remove any unevenness on the nail.
  • If any staining or discolouration remains on the nail, use baking soda, whitening toothpaste or lemon, honey and water as described in the section ‘Let Your Nails Breathe’.
  • Use a pair of stainless steel nail clippers to trim the nails to the desired length, by clipping them three to four times to form a natural curve. Always cut toenails straight across to prevent ingrowing toenails.
  • Use a nail file to shape the nails. File nails in one direction only, using long smooth motions. Do not file back and forth as this will weaken the nail and may cause it to split and peel.
  • Check the cuticles for any torn skin or hangnails. Do not pull them but gently cut them off. 
  • Soak the nails in a bowl of warm water for a couple of minutes and then massage your chosen oil (argan, jojoba, almond, etc) into the nails and cuticles.
  • Use an orange stick to gently push back the cuticles. Never cut the cuticles – they are there to protect the nail bed from bacteria.
  • If the cuticles or nails seem particularly dry, massage in some coconut oil or shea butter, put on some plastic gloves and leave for at least one hour (for the toes, put on some cotton socks and leave overnight).
  • Apply a nourishing base coat, 2 coats of colour, and a non-yellowing top coat with UV protection.

Natural Care for Nails

PIC7 3Unsure which oil to apply to your cuticles and nails? Here’s a short summary:

Argan Oil
Rich in vitamin E and fatty acids, argan oil is well known for its amazing benefits for the skin, hair and nails. It helps to moisturise the cuticle, and smooth and regenerate the nail plate, providing strength and protection against moisture loss and sun damage. As the preferred oil of many manicurists, argan oil is often found in nail salons.

Jojoba Oil
Full of vitamins E and B, plus proteins, minerals, fatty acids and other nutrients, jojoba oil is perfect for softening and treating the cuticles. Since it is so similar to the sebum produced by the body it is deeply absorbed. Jojoba oil helps to moisturise, reduce inflammation, repair damaged collagen and promote strong healthy, smooth and shiny nails.

Almond Oil
Packed with antioxidants, fatty acids and vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, and E, almond oil is wonderfully soothing and moisturising. It nourishes and coats the cuticles and nail plate, to protect against cracking, peeling, dryness and breakage. Almond oil is non-irritating and is a fantastic lubricant to plump the cuticles and promote strong healthy nails.

Coconut Oil
Jam-packed with fatty acids, vitamins  B1, B3, B5, B6, C, and E, plus essential amino acids and minerals, coconut oil is perfect for repairing and preventing dry and brittle nails. It nourishes and rehydrates the cuticle and nails, alleviates peeling, and adds strength and flexibility to the nails to prevent splitting or breakage. 

This summer, don’t allow your nails to become as parched for moisture as the sand on the beach that you’re so desperate to visit. Follow our tips and allow natural oils to keep your nails in tip top condition all summer long.

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