Anyone who’s ever had acrylic nails knows that they absolutely ravage your natural nails if removed incorrectly. During the 4 months that it usually takes for them to regrow, there are some steps you can take to help keep them moisturized and look pretty.
Steps for Natural Healthy Nails
After acrylic nail removal, there are a number of ways you can bring your natural nails back to their former glory.
Weekly manicures: Regular manicures, although an additional expense, help stimulate the circulation of the nail bed, promoting its growth. If you would prefer an at-home manicure, simply fill a bowl with warm water, and allow fingers and cuticles to soak for at least 10 minutes per hand. Follow the nail bath with a stimulating massage on each hand.
Cuticle oil: Cuticle oil, such as vitamin E or olive oil, should be applied during the massage. The essential vitamins found in these natural oils will help promote healthy nail growth. One option is the Sally Hansen Vitamin E Nail and Cuticle Oil (about $5), which prevents ridges and increases nail flexibility.
Trim nails: As nails begin to grow, keep them trimmed. Don’t be in a hurry to grow your natural nails long. Instead, make overall nail health and thickness your goal. A thin, damaged nail that grows quickly will not last. Rather than deal with disappointment, understand that your nails may need to be kept short while the body rebuilds the damaged tissue.
Apply strengthening products: Many nail care base coats have strengthening and stimulating properties, like the OPI Nail Envy Nail Strengthener (under $20). Find a base coat that will help strengthen the nail bed and apply the product every three days as needed.
Ridge fillers: Ridge fillers work wonders for covering up the unsightly torn and jagged ridges that may remain on the nail bed after artificial nail removal. Apply a ridge filler directly under your nail polish layer. The Barielle Hydrating Ridge Filler moisturizes and conditions the nail – and only costs about $10.
Avoid color: Although you can still paint your nails as desired, reduced exposure to chemicals is preferable, especially as your nails rebuild their strength. If you must wear nail polish, try alternating one week on, one week off.
Treat any infection: Acrylic nails that become separated from the nail bed can become a breeding ground for fungus and bacteria. If your nails are thick or discolored, or if you experience redness or pain, see your doctor immediately for treatment.
Take care of your body: It is also important to focus on your diet. For instance, knowing what to eat for healthy hair and nails can make all the difference. Drink at least eight glasses of water per day, eat foods with biotin (like bananas and salmon), make sure you get enough protein, and indulge in dark leafy vegetables.