Friday, 26 August 2016

Soft, brittle nails? Nail Hardeners are here to help

The reason my nails became brittle. I regret nothing
Sometimes nails can become really soft, brittle, flaking and a hardening base coat just isn't enough. That’s what happened to my nails after I came back from my holidays. I had not taken care of them enough and swimming for hours every day took a toll on them. I needed a boost in my care regime so I did my research and –as ever- am happy to share the findings. 

Disclaimer: At this point I need to mention that if your nails aren't naturally soft and they changed for no apparent reason, I would suggest ringing up your doctor. A change in the condition of your nails can be an indicator of an underlying health problem. It could also be related to dietary changes you might have implemented in your life lately where you are not receiving enough nutrition. I will refrain from discussing this further as I am not qualified, but any change in the state of your nails is not a random event and should be investigated further.

What are nail hardeners?
So what can you do to help your nails become stronger? Despair? Of course not! Why despair when there are nail hardeners to help! Nail hardeners are different from hardening base coats. Hardeners are treatments for the nail, have a stronger effect and are not supposed to be used every time you have a manicure. All of them have a more intense treatment period and a maintenance period. Additionally some are only meant to be used under a base coat while others can be used as a base coat or over your nail polish. Each hardener comes with its own set of instructions as to when and how you are supposed to use them so make sure you read the instructions even if you are a person that hates reading instructions.
The beaches of the Peloponnese are magic!
Possible issues & how to use hardeners
One needs to be careful with nail hardeners though: all of them contain Formaldehyde! Formaldehyde is a highly toxic substance and has been removed from the majority of nail polishes. When you read about 3-free, or however many -free polishes(Korres for example is 7-free) you can bet that one of these ingredients is formaldehyde. [You can read more about it here, here and here].Whilst I do suggest caution and I wouldn't use a nail polish that contains formaldehyde, hardeners are a different thing. Formaldehyde in cosmetics is a big issue, so make an informed judgement on what is good for you. 

Nail hardeners should contain less than what is considered a safe amount of formaldehyde (5%) and are only used for limited periods of time. Nevertheless, I put nail hardener only to the top half of my nails, which is where breakage usually happens and never allow it anywhere near my cuticles, or the underside of the nail. If it comes in contact with my skin I wipe it off immediately cause hardeners tend to harden the skin as well.

It goes without saying that it's a product that can also be used by those that don't use nail polish. 

My experience
My nails are normally hard, but this summer they suffered cause I put them through nail hell. I went on a holiday and decided to take no make up and no nail care products; I needed a break from everything. All I had with me was sunscreen and a tinted lip balm. I swam up to six hours a day and whilst I enjoyed it, my nails did not. 

When I got back they were in a pretty bad shape, worse than I had ever seen them before which is what led me to explore the world of nail hardeners. The one I used is the Mavala Nail Hardener and I used it for less than the recommended amount(once every two weeks instead of 1-2 per week). After 3 uses my nails are back in shape and I am really happy about it. The Impala was given to me by a friend when I mentioned my problems, but I haven’t used it yet. I don’t think I’ll continue using a hardener now that my nails are back in shape, but I am glad I did. 

*Read the instructions on how often and for how long you need to use it.
*Use on the top half of the nail (not the side where the cuticle is).
*Don’t let it go to your cuticles or touch your skin. Wipe off immediately if it does.

That’s it for now, I hope it was informative enough. I always struggle not to put too much information in my advice posts and scare readers off with a wall of text and scientific jargon! 

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