One question I am regularly asked is how to improve brittle, easily broken nails. Will a manicure help? My standard reply is, yes a manicure is lovely and it will help in the short term but ongoing care is what will really improve your nails. I found these great tips from Mukti of Mukti Botanicals:

Natural Nail Care

Natural Nail Care

The nail is extremely porous and exudes moisture one hundred times as fast as the skin. So preventing moisture loss is essential:

  • Wear gloves when working with chemicals, in the garden etc
  • Keep a jar of hand cream by the bathroom and kitchen sinks. Wearing gloves as above applies when doing the dishes.
  • Push back your cuticles when washing your hands and applying a hand cream.

Massaging the cuticle area will increase the circulation and encourage new nail growth. Other ways of protecting from nail breakages include:

  • Never cut your cuticles. The cuticle is the protective barrier between the nail and the skin
  • To protect nails before gardening scratch a bar of soap first. This will prevent dirt form getting under the nails
  • Keep nail length the same on all fingers
  • Always file the nail in the same direction not back and forth

Too little protein in the diet will make nails dull and brittle.

  • Good sources of protein include lean animal products, dairy, seafood, nuts & seeds, tofu and soya bean products and legumes.
  • Other internal supplementation that may assist with brittle nails include silica, calcium, magnesium zinc and vitamin E which will not only assist with improving the condition of the nails but also the skin and hair.

For well nourished nails, a good hand cream or cuticle oil is a must. Look for the following ingredients in a good quality hand crème (Ed note: I love the new hand cream from Pure & Green Organics):

Calendula:

Rich in beta-carotene it has renowned anti-inflammatory and healing properties. It is very useful for skin inflammations and dry mature skin. Extracts of Calendula exert the following effects: they assist with the stimulation and formation of new tissue, anti- inflammatory and anti-itching properties which are soothing to the skin, as well as gently promoting improved circulation.

Aloe Vera:

It has soothing, moisturising and healing properties and contains a plethora of additional goodies such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, antioxidants as well as mono and polysaccharides. It can relieve irritation and inflammation. It has also been implicated in assisting with cell regeneration. It leaves no oily residue on the skin and will not clog the pores or increase sebum production.

Vitamin E:

It helps to repair collagen. A lack of vitamin E can lead to blotchiness, loss of firmness of skin tone and give the impression of premature aging. It is an excellent moisturiser as it improves skin re-hydration by preventing moisture loss. It is readily absorbed and helps to maintain soft and supple skin. Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant and is required by the body to fight the occurrence of free radicals.

A Quick Sugar Scrub for smooth hands:

Massage 1 tablespoon of lemon juice mixed with 1-2 tablespoons of sugar. Rinse off then apply a hand cream.

A daily Cuticle Softener:

Combine 1 tsp jojoba oil, 1 tsp almond oil and 1 vitamin E capsule. Mix together and store in a clean glass bottle. Soak cuticles in warm water for ten minutes. Dry hands then rub in oil treatment. If all else fails and you don’t have these ingredients at home, use olive oil!

Author: Mukti from Mukti Botanicals

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