One of the first things I notice when the temperatures start to drop is the fact that my nails start to break, chip and generally look like they could do with a good pampering. Constantly moving from the cold outdoor temperatures to warmer indoor ones can leave the moisture levels in your nails depleted, meaning hands are more dehydrated and prone to breakage than they would be in warmer months; it’s no surprise that our talons need a lot more care and attention during this season, and we’re more aware of them when they’re not looking their best. If you’re worrying how to keep your nails healthy during winter, or how to stop your nails from splitting or breaking, then a few simple tricks will leave you proud to get your hands out – rather than worrying about removing your mittens in public!
1. FILE & SHAPE
Filing nails can be somewhat of a chore, but if you keep your talons trimmed and of a reasonable length it’s far easier to maintain them in the long term. I have a habit of getting a bit over excited when I grow a nail longer than two millimeters, but my overall manicure looks a lot more polished if I keep all ten nails of an equal length and filed to perfection. Longer nails have a tendency to break easily, as it’s the dehydrated ends that tend to flake and become weak, so you’re lowering the chances of a talon emergency if you regularly file down and shape your nails. Buffing it also a good way to keep nails healthy during winter; it helps smoothen and shine nails so they’re less prone to flaking as they grow out.
2. CUTICLE OIL
One of the best tips a manicurist ever gave me was to use cuticle oil at least once a day. Every time I get regimented about applying cuticle oil I really do notice a difference, as it helps to nourish and hydrate nails from the base – and like with any good routine, strength starts from within! Having a little cuticle oil pen in your bag, on your desk and by your bed will encourage and remind you to pop on a little and massage it into the nail bed to help inject goodness exactly where it’s needed. I’m currently loving the Naf Cuticle Pens (£6.00) which come in all kinds of delicious scents (banana and cherry are my fave) and are super handy for on-the-go.
3. BASE COAT
A secret weapon for anyone that suffers from splitting nails, hardening base coats help strengthen the nail and prevent breaking both in the short and long term. I’m forever applying strengthening treatments, both under colour and on naked nails, to help replenish and harden the surface; not only do they protect the nail surface from staining (no yellowing nails for me!) but they help prevent overly bendy talons that only cause more problems down the line. My ultimate go-to is Dr Lewin’s Renunail (£27.00 for a three polish system,) which really helps to strengthen and grow nails in only a couple of weeks – I’ve used it for years and would recommend it to anyone in a heartbeat.
4. HAND TREATMENT
Utilise the power of your beauty sleep and apply a rich, nourishing hand cream before you slip between the sheets. Often we forget to apply throughout the day, but taking the time to massage in a buttery cream and letting it hydrate parched skin is always a good idea; for a more intense result, wear cotton gloves (you can pick some up in Boots or Superdrug for a couple of quid) overnight and wake up to hands that are silky smooth. Healthy nails stem from healthy hands, so hand cream is an essential part of the nail growth process and an easy way to keep nails healthy during winter.
5. WEAR GLOVES
Both the woolen and the rubber kind! Keeping your hands warm and toasty is good for the senses and your nails, as they won’t be exposed to the extreme temperatures we spoke about above. Water is also incredibly drying as essential natural oils are also lost when it evaporates; washing up regularly, or using chemical cleaning products which can severely irritate skin, will damage the overall condition of hands and leave nails even more prone to breaking. Investing in some rubber gloves to wear at home will make a huge impact on the strength of your nails in the long term.
6. KEEP THEM PAINTED
It may seem counterproductive, but nail polish does actually help to strengthen the nail and aid its growth; it’s actually the nail polish remover that weakens it and can leave the surface dehydrated. (I’ve been using the Nailfix & Chill Nail Polish Remover Cream and it’s blooming brilliant!) Keeping your nails maintained, coated in your fave shade and regularly buffed to perfection will help ensure they’re strong and chip free. Talking of which, here are some of my fave shades to take you into Autumn/Winter with ease…
Orly Snuggle Up & Olive You Kelly (£11.00 each)
This polish is a great go-to formula for those who want their colour to last just a little bit longer; I find I get a good 3-5 days out of this without it chipping, sometimes more depending upon the colour. It applies beautifully smooth and leaves a great colour result, which is why it’s been a firm fave of mine for a few years. These new shades are just perfect for the season, the ‘Snuggle Up’ being the perfect understated nude while ‘Olive You Kelly’ is a fabulous khaki tone that screams elegance.
CND Vinylux Nail Polish in Arrowhead & Spear (£9.95 each)
Another great formula that’s been designed to last a week, these are great for when you want to look after your nails and grow them just a little bit longer. I can definitely get away with 3-5 days wear, longer if I re-apply the gel-inspired top coat, and the colours leave a finish that’s comparable to visiting the salon. Terracotta is big news for Autumn 2018 and these two shades are just the ticket, providing an unexpected warmth and something a little different from the berry shades we’re so used to.
Bobbi Brown in Khaki & Camo (£14.00 each)
Although the formula of the Bobbi polish is very thin and not the best at lasting, they do create some of the most covetable shades out there. This Autumn they have two beautifully grey tones which are highlighted with just a hint of shimmer: ‘Khaki’ has a golden undertone, while ‘Camo’ has a nuance of red that catches the light almost like a drop of petrol. Both look stunning on the nail, you just have to be careful to apply a good topcoat and be prepared for them to only last a couple of days!
How will you be looking after and keeping your nails healthy during winter?
Which of my top nail picks have you got your eye on?