4 Ways To Step Up Your Nail Game

I know I’m not the only one who smiles from ear to ear when my nails are freshly painted. It’s an instant mood booster! If we want to keep our smiles, it’s important to care for our nails not just for the looks, but for health. Here are 4 tips to step up your nail game. 

  1. Apply Cuticle Oil 

Nails are porous; meaning they are like sponges and have the ability to absorb. They are constantly taking in water via washing our hands, doing dishes, taking a shower, etc. In addition to water, applying cuticle oil is very beneficial to the health of our nails. 

  • Helps with flexibility Applying cuticle oil regularly moisturizes our nails and encourages them to be more flexible. Increased flexibility means less cracks, breaks, and chips. In addition, polish can last longer because the nail plate is more hydrated. 
  • Prevents hangnails Not only are hangnails unsightly, they can become an entry point for unwanted bacteria and infection. The main cause of hangnails is dryness. Cuticle oil isn’t just for moisturizing cuticles, rub that goodness into the skin surrounding the nail. And hands, too! 

Other factors that can contribute to hangnails are (but not limited to): harsh chemicals, nail biting and cold weather. Wear gloves when necessary and moisturize as much as you can. 

  • Keeps cuticles soft When it comes to pushing back cuticles, it’s much easier to do so when they are soft. Applying cuticle oil daily keeps them conditioned, which prevents them from getting hard and adhering to the nail. A lot more force is needed when treating severely dry cuticles and this can lead to damage of the nail plate. 
  1. Shape Your Nails 

Keeping nails shaped can enhance their appearance, but more importantly keep them from breaking. Weaker nails benefit from a shorter length and rounder shape, while stronger nails can manage with a longer length and a variety of shapes (almond, square, coffin, etc). 

Regardless of length and shape, the ends of our natural nails are the oldest part of our nails. Which means it is naturally weaker and can be more prone to chipping and breaking. Use a nail file for natural nails (180-220 grit) and lightly file the ends to help with strength. You can do this weekly without harming a polish or light-cured polish application. 

Ideal for weaker nails: Length: Short, medium Shape: Round, oval, soft square (square with rounded corners) 

Ideal for stronger nails: Length: Medium, long Shape: Round, oval, square, almond, coffin, stiletto 

  1. Keep Nails Coated 

Applying a coat of strengthener, polish, or gel, (etc) is a great way to add a layer of protection to the natural nail. This is especially beneficial for weaker nails that are prone to breaking, splitting, or cracking. It’s incredible to think about how much our hands and nails do every single day; the work is endless! Even if your nails are blessed with strength, it doesn’t hurt to keep a thin coat of polish on to truly enhance their resiliency. 

In addition to adding protection, nail strengtheners are filled with proteins, calcium, vitamins, and oils to nourish and deliver vital nutrients. Depending on the product, the application can vary from applying a coat twice daily or every other day for a certain amount of time. Some of these products can also double as a base/top coat in combination with a polish application. Be sure to read the instructions before applying. Not only will your nails look fabulous in any color you choose, but they will get an extra dose of TLC. A total win-win. 

  1. DIY Brown Sugar/Olive Oil Scrub 

Dead skin has a way of piling up and dulling our skin’s radiance, fast. Try this easy exfoliating treatment on your hands and nails by using a couple of ingredients you probably have in your kitchen. 

All you need is: 

  • 1⁄4 tbsp olive oil 
  • 1⁄4 tbsp brown sugar 


  • Mix together in a small bowl and fully cover your hands and nails in the scrub 
  • With circular motions, moisturize the scrub into the cuticles and the skin surrounding the nails. Work your way down each finger and back of the hand until you get to the wrist 
  • Repeat on other hand 
  • Wash remaining scrub off and massage hands until oil is absorbed 
  • Finish with a nourishing hand cream if you wish 

Be sure to do this treatment over the sink to avoid making a mess. Or take it a step further by making a bigger batch and using all over your body in the shower. Your skin will love you for it! You can do this treatment weekly or bi-weekly. For more sensitive skin, lessen the amount of sugar and do less frequently. 

The benefits: 

  • Exfoliates 

By doing this, we eliminate the dead skin that can leave our hands looking dull. By exfoliating the cuticles we eliminate the dead skin surrounding the nail, while also softening this area.. When cuticles are dry they tend to adhere to the nail plate, which can make it difficult to push back and remove when it comes time for a manicure. 

  • Improves Appearance 

Removing dead skin cells reveals our fresh skin underneath. This skin is vibrant, smooth, and overall has a fresh look to it. Imagine if you had a layer of dust on everything in your room. It would look grey and dull (not to mention dusty). After a deep cleaning, everything looks fresh! Dead skin cells are basically dust that we need to clean off. 

  • Adds Moisture 

The oil component in this scrub automatically moisturizes the skin and nails, giving it a boost of hydration. Skin will instantly look and feel oh so soft. Going back to exfoliating, once the dead skin is gone, lotions and oils are able to penetrate better which improves moisture absorption. 


All of these things may seem like a lot of steps to incorporate into your routine, but once you start seeing results you’ll want to do them! You can always multi-task and take care of those nails (and hands) while you binge watch your favorite shows. 

Happy self-caring! 

Author: Chia Habte Images: Chia Habte