Nail It: 6 Tips For Stronger, Healthier Nails

Take your nails from bleak to chic

Had anyone told me a year ago that I would be flaunting my natural nails instead of depending on extensions, I would have dismissed it as a far-fetched dream. The mere thought then of growing them out seemed like a struggle, as going au naturel meant them constantly breaking or splitting.  

Yet, here I am today, revelling in the glory of my natural nails that like the Britney Spears song, are stronger than yesterday. However, growing them out and giving them extra TLC can be a time-consuming process, but don’t let that discourage you. Patience is key, and as you embark on this journey to nip this problem in the bud, remember that the end result is worth it.


Photo: Instagram /@swishandfleeknails

Ditch the extensions that constantly cause wear and tear to your digits and instead, opt for a builder gel overlay. Builder gel has the ability to add the perfect amount of thickness and strength to your natural nails, making them look and feel like they’ve been nurtured with utmost care. Once your nails have been thoroughly cleaned, shaped and buffed to perfection, and your cuticles have been delicately tidied up, the builder gel is then applied and moulded to the contour of your nail.

If you’re someone who loves to experiment with different nail trends and styles, fret not about compromising on getting your desired design as a builder gel overlay allows you to do any from plain solids and french manicures to the latest trending designs—like the melted chrome look or the stained glass effect.

The builder gel acts as a barrier against the constant abuse that I put my nails through—from biting them to constantly picking at them. And not only does it last four to five weeks, which is longer than extensions, it’s also readily available at most salons.

Photo: Instagram /@nailcissist_official

Or, if you’re looking to get extensions for an event that’s going to last a day or two, try getting press-ons instead—your nails will thank you. Not only are they a breeze to apply (and to remove!), but they also come in a wide variety of styles and designs, so you can switch up your look as often as you like.

Perfect Circle

Photo: Instagram /@nailsbymei

When it comes to choosing the perfect shape during the rehabilitation of your nails, it’s best to opt for something a little more rounded and avoid anything too square like the coffin style which was my absolute favourite.

Such squarish nail shapes can leave you prone to getting your nails caught on all sorts of things, from pesky threads to other snagging hazards. The result? A higher risk of chipping and damage to your nails.

So why not give those nails the protection they deserve with a more gentle and rounder shape?

High Shine

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my amazing nail technician at swish & fleek nails (@swishandfleeknails), it’s the importance of applying cuticle oil at least once a day. Think about it —if your face was feeling dry and in need of some TLC, you wouldn’t leave it be, would you? So why neglect your nails? 

Just a little bit of cuticle oil goes a long way in keeping your nails looking and feeling their best. Not only does it increase circulation around your nails and stimulate healthy nail growth, but it also acts as a protective barrier against trauma to the delicate cuticle.

Inside Out

Have you ever heard the saying “You are what you eat”? Well, it couldn’t be more true when it comes to achieving strong, healthy nails. If you find that your nails are weak and brittle no matter what you do, it could be a sign that you’re not getting enough protein in your diet.

While most people think of protein as being essential for building strong muscles, it’s actually crucial for helping to grow, strengthen, and repair your nails. Studies have shown that the recommended dietary allowance is 0.8 grams per kg of body weight per day—that’s roughly 50 grams of protein per day, which is about 160 grams of chicken, for women aged 20-30. And as a bonus, protein-rich food is more satiating to the stomach than carbohydrates.

Hands Off

As someone who used to be guilty of using their nails as tools like a makeshift opener for Coke can tabs or as a knife to open packages, I can tell you firsthand that it’s one of the biggest crimes you can commit against them.

But the truth is, none of us should be using our nails in this way—whether we have extensions, or gel overlays or not. Just because your nails may look indestructible, doesn’t mean they actually are.

Chew On It (Not!)

I understand that this may be a difficult task, but the negatives of biting your nails can potentially be detrimental to your health. Nibbling on them can increase the risk of infections, and may lead to the development of hangnails and ingrown nails. Moreover, it can have deplorable effects on your dental health in the long run as all the dirt and germs within your nails will spread to your mouth which in turn will lead to gum diseases.

Speaking from personal experience, I have discovered that fidgeting with my jewellery, particularly my rings, has been a less harmful alternative coping mechanism.

Enhance your nail care routine with these five nourishing products,