Tips To Strengthen Your Nails This Spring, According To A Manicurist

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As nail care turns into spring’s big beauty trend (cue the popular “no-nicure” nails), building strong nails are a can’t miss step for mani-pedi season. Whether you’re into the Lori Harvey-approved micro-French tip, or prefer decorated, extra-long Nicki-like nails, a healthy cuticle, nail bed, and fingernails are always a must. “Nail health can affect the longevity of a manicure,” celebrity nail artist Aja Walton tells ESSENCE. “Stronger nails are less prone to chipping or lifting, resulting in a longer-lasting manicure.”

Below, Walton shares her top tips to strengthen your nails this spring.

What causes weak nails?

“Weak, brittle nails are often the result of dehydration, poor nutrition, too much water exposure, or other serious medical conditions like thyroid issues or psoriasis,” Walton says. Although the key to healthy nails are regular manicures, according to CND, using improper techniques creates a fine line between strong and weak nails. “90% of my encounters with brittle nails are the effects of improper removal and/or application of nail enhancements including gel color, gel extensions, acrylic or glued on tips.” 

Other causes such as “a lack of essential nutrients like biotin, iron, and vitamins A, C, and E can lead to brittle, discolored, or weak nails.” Meanwhile, frequent exposure to cleaning products, acetone, and other harsh chemicals can weaken and damage nails. Excess nail biting, and improper trimming can also impact how your nails look with “fungal or bacterial infections causing discoloration, thickening, or separation of the nail from the nail bed.”

If none of these factors affect you, aging might. “As we age, nails can naturally become thinner and more brittle,” she says. 

How to tell if your nails are weak

It may be difficult to tell if your nails are weak, especially under nail enhancements. “You should consider strengthening your nails if they are constantly peeling, breaking, or have visible signs of damage, such as ridges or splits,” she says. Splitting is the tell tale sign of weak nails, so “it may just be time to change up your nail shape to a more tapered or rounded look,” as square nails may chip more easily.

How do you strengthen your nails?

Noticing if your nails are weak is just the first step. Implementing a routine to help rebuild your nails is the key to a healthy mani-pedi. “My tips for strengthening nails include keeping the nails hydrated with cuticle oil, steering clear of harsh chemicals, using nail strengthening treatments, and accessorizing with gloves for chores,” she says. Other than avoiding excess drill use and poor application techniques, “don’t forget to indulge in a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals.” 

Adding products packed with powerhouse ingredients like keratin, biotin, calcium, and vitamins A and E are essential for healthy nails. “My ride or die picks are Essie’s Hard to Resist Advanced Nail Strengthener and Essie’s Hard to Resist in Glow & Shine, which, as a bonus, has a beautiful sheer pink tint.”

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