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8 Cold Weather Tips For Longer, Stronger Nails This Winter

Photo by Tetra Images/Getty Images

When the cold weather hits, suddenly every part of your body is dry, itchy, and uncomfortable. Depending on where you live, these effects can be more severe, and if you’re anything like us, your skin notices it’s cold outside before your brain even registers it. Hello peeling, flaking, and that awful winter tight-skin feeling.

That’s why we’re making sure to give you the low-down on how to care for an oft-forgotten part of the body that definitely suffers during the winter: your nails. Whether you’re doing a mani from home or you get your nails done in a salon, we have the best tips for how to care for your nails in the harsh winter months.

1. Choose Your Ingredients 

As dermatologist Carmen Castilla, MD, told us in a previous post, there are a few ingredients to look out for that are great for soothing the skin on the hands and nail beds: humectants, occlusives, and emollients. 

"Humectants, such as alpha hydroxy acids, aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and urea, help hydrate the skin by drawing water into the outer skin layer. Emollients, such as ceramides, fatty acids, and lipids, help fill in the gaps between skin cells, softening the skin. And occlusives, such as lanolin, mineral oils, and petroleum [like Vaseline], create a barrier to help trap in moisture,” says Dr. Castilla. We love REFRESHMENTS luscious hand cream to help keep hands and cuticles soft. 

2. Pay Attention to Cuticles

Did you know cuticles are much more important than we probably realized? According to iconic manicurist and founder of Deborah Lippman nail polishes, Deborah Lippman, “Our cuticle is the end of our skin on our fingers and our toes, which is there as a barrier to keep free radicals and bacteria from entering the body.” For that reason alone it’s important to care for cuticles, but in the winter when they are prone to drying out and flaking, keeping them hydrated is the key to keeping them strong and in-tact. We love THE LYFESTYLE CO.’s 100% Natural Cuticle oil that you can keep in your bag and roll on whenever you need it. 

3. Reach for Base Coat

You should always use a base coat with any kind of manicure. This will repair the damaged keratin in the nail and help restore strength and shape to the nail itself. We love the SUNDAYS base/top coat that’s toxic and cruelty free that also adds a boost of high shine. 

4. Be Mindful of Gel UV Lights

Although there’s no direct link between the UV lights used at salons and skin damage (more research needs to be done), some people may notice that their hands feel extra dried out after getting a gel manicure in the winter. This could be a great time to go back to your natural nails and use regular polish for a break.

5. Use a Hand Cream

As mentioned earlier, hand creams that contain shea butter, jojoba oils, or other natural oils can help keep the skin hydrated and prevent flaking and even cuts that come along with harsh winter weather. The hand cream by THE ORGANIC PHARMACY contains jojoba oil to moisturize and reduce inflammation and aloe to help soothe dry, chapped hands. 

6. Use a Top Coat

Just like a base coat, top coats help seal the polish you chose and protect against the elements like wind or snow. We love the CIATÉ LONDON topcoat that adds shine and helps extend the life of your polish.

7. Let Nails Rest

The winter is a great time to take a break from your usual nail routine. Wear your favorite base coat and go totally polish-free, or switch back to regular polish for easy manis you can do at home.

8. Avoid Unnecessary Dunks in Water

You might have noticed that your typical hand-washing routine just doesn’t work when winter months hit. That’s because your hands are much more prone to drying out when wet hands face dry, windy air, even if you’re indoors. 

If you keep an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you for sanitizing hands on the go—but also make sure to keep a mini lotion in your bag. Alcohol is one of the most drying ingredients out there, even though it sanitizes your hands. If you’re washing dishes or hand washing clothing at home, make sure to wear gloves as added protection so your hands won’t be exposed to water unnecessarily. 

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About the author
Brittany Leitner
Brittany is an award winning beauty, health, and lifestyle writer and author of the poetry book "23 Emotions." She has eight years of experience writing for brands like Elite Daily, The. Dr. Oz Show, Shape, Stylecaster, Bustle, and more.
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Article Last Updated December 22, 2023 12:00 AM