Dry, brittle hair and nails can ruin your overall look. Hair suffers the effects of the overuse of hair styling products and heated styling tools, frequent dye jobs and excessive sun exposure. Nails become brittle from excessive water exposure, using harsh cleaning products and biting or picking at them, just to name a few. The good news is you don’t have to suffer from parched hair and brittle nails. Make a few lifestyle changes and add in some easy home remedies for a soft and supple turnaround.
Lay off the blow dryer, curling iron and flat iron. These tools apply extreme heat to your hair, which dries it out. If parting with your beloved blow-dryer just isn’t an option, apply a heat-protecting product to your hair first and use the lowest heat setting possible.
Use moisturizing shampoo and conditioner. Look for products that are specifically designed for dry or brittle hair. Use styling products that contain softening oils like sweet almond, Argan, sunflower and soybean.
Apply a weekly moisturizing hair mask. You can use a store-bought mask or make your own by massaging 1/2 cup of honey and 2 tablespoons of olive oil into your clean damp hair. Leave the homemade mask on for 20 minutes, then rinse with warm water. Shampoo and condition your hair as usual. If using a store-bought hair mask, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Wear your hair in loose hairstyles and use soft, padded hair accessories. Tight ponytails and metal hair clips can rip your delicate, brittle hair and make your hair problems worse.
Wash your hair only every few days rather than every day; frequent washing can be drying. Oily hair typically needs to be washed more often; but for dry, brittle hair, two or three washings per week are sufficient. Also, use warm water rather than hot when washing your hair; the heat from the water will further dry out and damage your hair.
Trim your nails frequently, at least until they are no longer dry and brittle. The shorter your nails, the less brittle they are; keeping them trimmed will help keep them healthy. Soak your nails in a solution of warm water and a few drops of dish soap for a few minutes prior to trimming. This will soften the nails, making splitting and cracking less likely during trimming. Use a nail file to shorten your nails rather than clippers.
Polish your nails regularly. Nail polish protects and moisturizes. If you don’t want to use a colored polish at all times, use a clear polish, especially those with nylon or rayon fibers. If you notice your tips are still dry and brittle after a month or two of polishing, consider foregoing polish altogether to give your nails a chance to breathe. Go a few months without polish to see which is more beneficial to your dry nails.
Apply lotion to your fingernails each night before bed. Choose a lotion with lactic acid or urea for moisturizing and strengthening properties.
Wash your hands with warm water rather than hot, and limit the time you are in the shower. Hot water and lengthy water exposure can increase dryness and make your nails more brittle.
Wear vinyl gloves when washing dishes, cleaning or using any products that may be harsh or drying. Put on gloves when doing any chores that will require your hands to be submerged in water, which is very drying and can weaken your nails.
Take a biotin supplement to help strengthen your fingernails. It may take four to six months of taking the supplement to visibly notice a difference in your nails. Check with your doctor before taking the supplement.
Apply cuticle cream to your nails daily. Healthy cuticles prevent water from soaking into the nails. Keeping the cuticles moisturized and pushed back helps with overall nail health.
Avoid using products like hand sanitizers, fragrant lotions and acetone-based polish and nail polish removers. These products are dehydrating to the nails. Use non-acetone or acetate-based nail polish remover rather than acetone, which is more drying.
Check with your doctor to rule out any medical issues that may be related to dry, brittle hair and nails. Some medical conditions, such as anemia, thyroid conditions and protein deficiencies, may causes these problems.