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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Waterloo chapter.

Have you been neglecting your nails? Look at them now. Are they brittle or dry? Do you have a broken nail? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time to take your nail-care routine to the next level. With nail salons closed, you may be struggling to maintain the health and aesthetics of your nails, but that’s no excuse! Here are some ways to care for your nails at home to keep them healthy.  

File your nails properly.

Natural nails should only be filed in one direction to maintain their strength. Filing your nails in a back-and-forth motion may be easier and quicker, but it will weaken your nails. In addition to the filing method, be cautious of the type of nail file you use. With many nail files on the market, it can be hard to choose the best one for your nails, so do your research before committing to one. Crystal nail files are gentler than emery boards, so they’re generally a better option for natural nails. Not only will you be protecting your nails by using crystal files, but you’ll also be protecting the environment by saving numerous emery boards from going into landfills.

Take care of your cuticles.

Cuticles protect your nails from harmful bacteria, so avoid cutting them to keep your risk of infection at bay. Opt for gently pushing your cuticles back instead of cutting them, and make sure to apply a cuticle-removing formula, oil, or cream beforehand for protection. Cuticle oil can provide many benefits to your nails, including strength and growth promotion. There are many cuticle oils on the market for you to choose from, and you can also make your own by mixing your favourite oils together. Try mixing jojoba, vitamin E, and argan oil, which all have incredible benefits for nails.

Take a break from gel manicures.

Consider taking a break from gel manicures every once in a while to keep your nails healthy. Gel manicures dehydrate nails by preventing moisture from accessing the nail plate, causing them to become dry and brittle. Not only do gel manicures cause damage during the application process, but the removal process is also quite damaging. Acetone dries out the nail plate, and the process of filing away gel is damaging to the nail plate and matrix. To give your nails time to recover and hydrate, give them one to two weeks of break between gel manicures.

Your nail care routine doesn’t have to be 20 steps long. However, it’s important to incorporate a few baby steps into your daily routine to maintain the health of your nails, which can often be a neglected part of our bodies. Make a conscious effort to take care of your nails, as mindless habits can often be the reason for nail damage. You’d be surprised how much of a difference small changes can make in transforming your nails.  

Hi! I'm Salma Marzouk, a student at the University of Waterloo studying Science and Business. In my free time when I'm not busy writing an article for Her Campus, I enjoy reading, bullet journaling, and watching TED talks!
Hey - I'm Vanessa Geitz, a fourth-year Public Health student at the University of Waterloo. I am currently the President and Campus Correspondent for HC Waterloo and love writing articles! Also a big fan of the Bachelor, BBT, and books.