The Working Mother’s Guide to Healthier Nails—7 Easy Steps

Be honest—with so much to do, it’s hard to find places to squeeze in some “me time”—say getting your hair done, or a nice pedicure at the Foot & Body Boutique.

We get it. You probably have a ton on your plate. Working full time. Getting your kids to and from them to dance, soccer, swimming lessons. Caring for aging parents. Cooking dinner for the family. Baking treats for the office party. Trying to keep your home from looking like a disaster.

We’ve been there.

That said, we have a couple of insights to share.

  • When life gets hectic, taking some time for yourself to relax and enjoy something may seem like an impractical indulgence. But it can actually do a world of good for you emotionally and psychologically. The 30-60 minutes you spend with us could not only make you a lot happier, but help you refocus, recharge, and hit the rest of your to-do list with gusto!
  • Even if you can’t go out and get a manicure every week, there are lots of ways you can protect yourself and promote healthier nails and skin in your day-to-day life. They’re simple and will keep your nails looking a lot better between manis!

Healthy nails are definitely not incompatible with being an active, working mother! Here are 7 simple steps to help you out.

Wear Gloves

From harsh cleaning chemicals to prolonged water exposure to digging around in the garden or mowing the lawn, your nails are constantly under assault as you work around the home. Even hot, soapy dishwater can significantly weaken your nails.

Work gloves made from rubber, vinyl, or a similar material provide an important protective barrier for your skin and nails while you do housework and other chores. You should always wear them while working to keep your hands safe!

Top tip—if you apply lotion to your hands before you put those gloves on and get to work, you’ll actually soften and nourish your hands while work, rather than tear them up. How about that?

File Nails the Right Way

Did you even know there was a “wrong” way to file nails? It’s true.

For starters, nails should always be filed in the same direction, with the grain of the nail—stroke, then take the file off your nail, return to the starting position, and stroke again.

Please, please don’t file your nails back and forth like you’re sawing down a tree. Not only does this give you less control over the shape of your nail, but you increase the risk of fraying, peeling, premature breakage, and other problems.

Also, only file your nails when they’re clean and dry. Wet nails are weaker and easier to break.

Always Apply a Base Coat

We know, we know. “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

But seriously, don’t try to save time and cut corners on this. The base coat serves several extremely important functions for your nails, and not all of them are purely aesthetic:

  • Your color will stay on longer and be more saturated and vibrant

  • You’re less likely to stain your natural nails a rather ugly shade of yellow

  • It protects your nails from becoming brittle

Pro tip: You can wear the base coat alone as a clear coat.

Other pro tip: We highly recommend Nailtiques protein polish, which is a brand we use right here in the spa. It comes in different formulas that actually nourish and strengthen the nails.

Avoid Acetone

Always, always, always check the ingredient list before applying that polish remover! Specifically, you want to avoid using acetone or formaldehyde.

The “advantage” of acetone, if you can call it that, is that it works quickly. It is, after all, a very powerful solvent. But that also means it’s quite good at stripping natural oils from skin, drying out your nails, and making them brittle and prone to splitting.

Yes, it might take just a bit more time and effort, but we strongly encourage you to use non-acetone polish removers only. The health risks of acetone just aren’t worth it if you want to keep your nails healthy.

Make Sure You Get Some Zinc in Your Diet

In addition to helping you heal wounds and strengthening your immune system, zinc is an important mineral for healthy nail growth. If you constantly notice unsightly white spots on your nails, there’s a good chance that a zinc deficiency is to blame.

One way to easily boost your zinc intake is to ad a tall glass of milk and a hard-boiled egg into your daily diet. Other zinc-rich foods include seafood, peanuts, lean meats, and even dark chocolate (yum!).

Remember, though, that you can have too much of a good thing—and with zinc that can mean digestive distress. Talk to your doctor before making significant changes to your diet or starting a supplement.

Keep Your Nails Hydrated

Hydration isn’t just for skin and hair. Your nails need to stay hydrated too if you want to keep them from drying and cracking. And it’s a bigger problem than you might think—by some estimates up to a quarter of Americans have chronically brittle nails!

Fortunately, it isn’t that hard to keep your nails hydrated. Just use a little petroleum jelly each day around your cuticles to keep them moisturized. If you wish, you can substitute castor oil, vitamin E, or even olive oil!

Let Your Toes Breathe

Sweaty shoes and socks that trap moisture and perspiration are often the first step toward developing a fungal toenail infection, foot odor, or other undesirable conditions! Here are some easy tips to keep your toenails healthy:

  • Wear socks made of wool or a synthetic blend, which do a great job of wicking away perspiration. Change them if they start feeling damp.

  • Don’t wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row. Rotate so that they have a chance to dry out! Sprinkle some talc powder in them, too, to absorb even more moisture.

  • Choose shoes with breathable uppers, such as canvas or leather.

  • Try to spend at least part of the day barefoot, when you’re at home in a safe environment. (This may not be appropriate if you have diabetes.)

By making these tips a part of your daily routine, you should find it a lot easier to maintain healthy, youthful-looking skin and nails no matter how chaotic life gets!

Of course, that doesn’t mean you won’t still want a safe, healthy, and relaxing spa day once in a while! And that’s what we’re here to provide. To schedule an appointment with one of our nail technicians at the Foot & Body Boutique, please give us a call at (704) 331-2111 today!


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Charlotte, NC 28204

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