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Hard as nails: Tips to keep your nails strong and sexy

Kate D'Imperio lives and writes in Pennsylvania.

When you write down your shopping list, as you punch a phone number into your cell, while you wash dishes, do the ironing, clean the windows, or do a hundred other things that women do on any given day -- do you take notice of the condition of your nails?

Our hands are such an integral part of our daily lives, we constantly risk their health and strength -- often without even noticing -- because of the hustle and bustle of our day-to-day activities.

Your fingernails grow about an eighth of an inch per month -- which means the how strong your nails are now depends a lot on what was happening to you 4-6 months ago: Were you healthy? Were you stressed out? Were you eating well?

Take a few moments each day, or at least a few times a week, to monitor the condition of your nails -- the color, the texture, jagged edges, broken nails, splits or chips, and the new appearance of ridges or white marks.

When you make a greater effort to take good care of your nails, and you will be thrilled with the way they complement your wardrobe and your own personal style.


Consider the following tips as a way to enhance the health and quality of your nails.

Great, healthy nails

  • Apply speed-dry nail polish when time is of the essence.
  • Drink a lot of water. Keep your body hydrated everyday to maintain healthy nails.
  • Touch up your nails on a daily basis to prevent chips and cracks.
  • Remember that your nails depend on you to maintain a healthy diet.
  • Fortify your diet with FDA-approved vitamins or supplements. Unless instructed otherwise by your physician, increase your daily doses of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium, folic acid, protein, Vitamin B12 and zinc.

Nail polish tips

  • Finish with a clear topcoat to add gloss and sheen;
  • Start with a base coat to strengthen and protect the nails;
  • Try not to store nail polish in a room that becomes cold. The nail polish bottles may break without warning, leaving you with a big mess.

To avoid breaking nails or brittle nails

  • Avoid using your nails as tools. This means no picking, scratching, digging, pinching, etc. You know who you are!
  • Increase the amount of calcium in your diet
  • Use products containing alcohol -- especially perfumed lotions -- sparingly. These items can make nails prone to breaking.
  • Wear rubber gloves when you do chores that involve continual submersion in water or contact with harsh detergents or chemicals.
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