Winter Nail Care Tips to Combat Brittleness

Winter is here (and boy, would Ned Stark be glad!). It’s cold out, we’ve all got our heaters on and there’s a lot less moisture in the air. This has major repercussions for our hair, our skin and, yes, even our nails.

Dry, brittle nails are prone to breaking and peeling. Hangnails are another deeply unpleasant impact that the dry air can have on our nails, and the skin around them.

The winter can cause havoc on your nails, but the good news is that there’s a lot you can do to combat nail brittleness during the winter months.

How to combat nail brittleness this winter

#1. Moisturize often

Hand lotions, creams and ointments are your number one defense against the cold, dry air (at least where dryness is concerned). And, you should use the weapon of your choice (lotion, cream or ointment) liberally and often.

Lotion is probably the least moisturizing option, but it has the added benefit of soaking into your hands quickly, which makes it convenient when you need to moisturize quickly between tasks. Creams and ointments are thicker and take longer to soak in, but seal in moisture more effectively. They’re fantastic to use right before bed.

In addition to using a moisturizer throughout the day, make it a point to use a cuticle ointment at least once a day, as well, but preferably once in the morning and once at night. It’s especially important to use cuticle oil if you use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

As there’s a global pandemic happening right now, most of us are washing our hands a lot more often than we normally would. That leads to even more dryness for your hands and nails. But, it’s an easy fix if you make it a habit to moisturize after every hand-wash. At the very least, aim to moisturize at least three times per day.

#2. Keep your nails painted

There are many things that can damage and dry out your nails during the winter. Dry air, harsh hand soaps and detergents and even water can all be harmful to nail health. Surprisingly enough, one easy and effective way to protect them is by simply keeping them painted.

Painting your nails looks fabulous, but even better than that, it adds an additional layer of protection between your nails and the many things that can damage them. Always start with a base coat and finish with a top coat for a longer-lasting manicure or pedicure and more protection.

Look for a base coat that will help to protect your nails without making them harder. Nail strengtheners work, but the key to healthy nails during the winter is to keep them flexible. The harder your nails are, the more prone they are to breakage.

#3. Give yourself a break from acrylic nails

Acrylic nails look awesome. There’s no doubt about that. However, they aren’t always the best option where nail health is concerned, especially when your nails are already compromised during the winter.

If you prefer acrylic nails, consider getting a regular manicure in between acrylics to give your natural nails time to breathe. Furthermore, always make sure that you get your acrylic nails both applied and removed by a professional.

While acrylic nails themselves can make your natural nails prone to peeling, the most damage tends to occur when people try to remove their acrylic nails on their own.

#4. Keep your nails trimmed shorter

Long nails look great, but what’s even more important than having long nails is having healthy nails. And, unfortunately, longer nails tend to snag, rip and break a lot more often than shorter nails do and are susceptible to brittleness.

Another good reason to keep your nails trimmed is that it’s harder to keep long nails clean. Dirt and bacteria can easily hide under long nails, especially when they’re painted, and can spread infection. Keeping your nails trimmed is just as important for preventing nail brittleness as it is for overall health.

Use clean, sharp tools to trim your nails. In general, nail scissors and nail nippers are easier to use and will stay sharper than nail clippers. However, no matter which tools you use, make sure to invest in high-quality nail trimming tools for the best results.

#5. Use an acetone-based polish remover

When it’s time for a new coat of paint on your nails and you need to remove your color, you want to choose the right nail polish remover. Under normal circumstances, it’s best to avoid nail polish removers that contain acetone, but the winter months are an exception.

Acetone-based nail polish removers are actually a better option during the winter because they work faster, which means that your nails won’t be exposed to the remover as long.

However, regardless of which nail polish remover you choose, you’ll want to make sure that you take the time to nourish your nails and cuticles after use by washing your hands, moisturizing and using cuticle oil.

#6. Maintain a healthy diet

Nail health is impacted by all kinds of things, and not all of them are external. Believe it or not, the health of your nails also has a lot to do with your lifestyle, particularly what you eat and how much water you drink.

For healthy nails, make sure to get plenty of protein and vitamin B in your diet. Beans, bananas, nuts, spinach, fish and lean poultry are all foods that can help to support healthy nails. It’s also important to avoid consuming too much sugar, salt and caffeine.

Externally, water can be damaging to your nails, but internally, it’s a critical part of maintaining nail health. Make sure you drink plenty of water each day — shoot for drinking at least 6 8-oz glasses of water each day.


Regular visits to a local nail salon can help to keep your nails healthy and looking great, and if you’re looking for a nail salon near you, you’ve come to the right place.

Top Rated Local® makes it easy to find a nail salon you can trust. You can also get a glimpse of a nail salon’s online reputation overall, read nail salon reviews from across the web, compare nail salons in your area side by side and so much more.

Find a nail salon near you today!

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