You spend the summer slathering on sunscreen and protecting your skin, but do you give your nails the same treatment? Just like skin, nails can be affected by bright summer rays, so if you want to keep your perfect manicure looking amazing, you'll need to give your digits a little extra TLC. Whether you follow summer nail trends or you choose to go polish-free, knowing how to care for your nails means you can flaunt those fingers and toes all season long.
Healthy summer nails start at the cuticle, which provides a protective barrier for your nails. Dry, ragged cuticles are a sure sign of unhealthy, unkempt nails. If you're doing a DIY manicure, don't forget to pay attention to your cuticles so your nails look and feel healthier. Trimming back ragged cuticles can actually do more harm than good, so instead, massage in a little oil to soften and moisturize them. Almond oil, coconut oil, and argan oil all work wonders for dry cuticles. Pack some oil in a travel-size container so that you can treat your nails throughout the day.
Pantone's color of the year is Greenery, a yellow-based green that is perfect for the beach. Capture summer nail trends with a subtle green, like Essie Gel Couture Nail Color in Take a Walk—or, if you're feeling bold, Revlon Nail Enamel in Posh is perfect for a rooftop party or summer nights on the patio. If you feel as though a bright green is too eye-catching for your fingernails, try it as the perfect toenail color. Bright green will complement a tan and a pair of wedges so you look on-trend and beach-ready at all times.
Breaking a nail can ruin your day, but giving nails a break from polish can help keep them healthy. The hot summer sun can cause nail color to seep into your porous nails, causing a yellowing effect. During the summer months, make sure that you alternate wearing nail color with going bare. It's the best way to give your nails a break and avoid discoloration. Use a non-acetone nail polish remover to gently remove your polish, and make sure to apply oil or moisturizer daily. If you prefer to keep your nails perfectly polished, apply two layers of base coat to help prevent your nails from yellowing. Finish your manicure off with a good-quality top coat, such as Sally Hansen's Shiny Top Coat to help prevent fading and block out UV rays.
They say that beauty is only skin deep, but gorgeous nails start from within. Hot days can cause dehydration, resulting in dry skin, hair, and, yes, even nails. Make sure that you stay hydrated all summer long, and you'll see a difference in the look and health of your nails. Tired of the same old water? Try adding some summer berries and citrus fruit to your water bottle for a splash of flavor.
Your diet can also impact the overall health of your nails. Pale nails may be a symptom of anemia and may indicate that you're not getting enough iron in your diet. Good sources of iron include dark green leafy vegetables, beans, and lean red meat. Experts recommend eating a balanced diet rich in lean proteins and essential nutrients for nail health, such as vitamins B, D, C, and E, zinc, calcium, and magnesium. A well-balanced, nutritious diet should keep your nails strong and looking their best, but if your nails are still weak or brittle, talk to your doctor about whether a biotin supplement or daily multivitamin may be right for you.
Don't let days at the beach and long summer nights show on your nails. Keeping your hands healthy helps keep your nails healthy. A little extra care goes a long way toward ensuring they look great and on-trend all summer long.
By Jae Curtis
Cleveland Clinic, 6 Things Your Nails Can Say About Your Health
WebMD, A Dozen Tips for More Beautiful Nails
Women's Health, 7 Things You Never Knew About Your Nails
Mayo Clinic, Fingernails: Dos and Don'ts for Healthy Nails
Good Housekeeping, Avoiding Summer Nail Problems
Everyday Health, 8 Ways to Keep Your Nails Healthy
Shape, 7 Things Your Nails Can Tell You About Your Health
Mayo Clinic, Get Radiant Hair, Skin, and Nails Naturally
These articles are not a substitute for medical advice, and are not intended to treat or cure any disease. Advances in medicine may cause this information to become outdated, invalid, or subject to debate. Professional opinions and interpretations of scientific literature may vary. Consult your healthcare professional before making changes to your diet, exercise, or medication regime.