Wellness Clean Beauty 8 Tips for Naturally Beautiful Nails By Katherine Martinko Senior Writer University of Toronto Katherine Martinko is a writer and expert in sustainable living. She holds a degree in English Literature and History from the University of Toronto. our editorial process Twitter Twitter Katherine Martinko Updated October 11, 2018 CC BY 2.0. Angie Chung Share Twitter Pinterest Email Wellness Health & Well-being Clean Beauty Get gorgeous nails for summertime without all the nasty chemicals. You don’t have to visit the salon on a regular basis in order to have beautiful nails. The combination of a well-balanced diet, a thoughtful beauty regimen, and good personal hygiene can give you salon-worthy nails at a fraction of the cost and chemical burden. 1. Use moisturizer When rubbing lotion or oil into your hands, make sure you work it into the cuticles and nails, too. Regular handwashing or use of hand sanitizer can dry out the skin and nail bed quickly, so try to moisturize after every wash, if possible. Coconut oil is excellent for rubbing into your nails and cuticles. 2. Care for your cuticles Avoid having your cuticles trimmed during a manicure. Cuticles are meant to be a barrier for bacteria, and cutting them can lead to painful infections. You can moisten and push them back with a cuticle pusher, and trim away only dead pieces of skin. If you’re planning on having a conventional manicure done, then at least protect your cuticles by dabbing with olive oil or almond oil prior, in order to reduce the amount of chemical that soaks in from the polish. 3. Avoid using harsh polish Nail polish typically contains very toxic chemicals such as toluene, dibutyl phthalate, dimethyl and diethyl phthalates, camphor, and formaldehyde. Fortunately, companies such as OPI, Orly, Sally Hansen, and Revlon make some polishes that do not contain these chemicals, but make sure you read the label carefully before purchasing. You can also buy water-based polishes, which don't last as long but are the safest option out there. 4. Seek out alternatives There are companies now making less toxic polishes and removers. Check out the following list and take your favorite color along when you go to the salon for your next pedicure. Suncoat Scotch Naturals Acquarella SpaRitual Deborah Lippman Priti No-Miss Nail Care 5. Buff instead of color It may not be as fancy or eye-catching as color, but a bit of buffing can go a long ways. Take the time to trim, file, and buff your nails properly and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how great they can look, despite being au naturel. Never saw back and forth with a file because that can weaken your nails. Always file from the outside edge of the nail inward. 6. Choose a good remover You can get acetone-free remover almost anywhere, which is less harsh on your nails. Priti sells a remover made entirely from soy and corn, and No-Miss has one called Almost Natural that contains fruit acids and vanilla. 7. Make a natural nail-strengthening treatment This recipe comes from a book called There’s Lead in Your Lipstick by Gill Deacon. Mix: 2 tsp castor oil, 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp wheat germ oil. Mix and keep in a sealed bottle. Rub a small amount onto your nails. Leave for 3 to 5 minutes. Wipe off. Makes enough for 20 to 30 applications. 8. Eat well Diet is very important to maintaining healthy nails. Protein is crucial, as are omega-3 fatty acids. Eating foods with vitamin B reduces brittleness; zinc gets rid of white spots; iron prevents ridges from forming; calcium keeps them strong; vitamins A and C prevents dullness and drying. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.