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Skip the Salon: 16 Natural Nail Tips

Skip the salon. These tips are here to keep your nails looking healthy with or without polish.

By
Bruce and Jeanne Lubin,
Hands

From removing fungus to perfecting your polish, these all-natural nail hacks will have you looking salon-fresh without leaving the house.

Healthier Nails

1. At-Home Hot Oil Treatment
Hot oil manicures are hot at nail salons to help revive and condition dry, damaged nails. But you can save money by creating your own at home! All you need to do is mix equal parts sunflower, olive, castor, and almond oils together, then heat the mixture for 15 to 20 seconds. Break open a vitamin E capsule and add it in. Carefully test the mixture to make sure it isn’t too warm before dipping your nails in to soak up the moisturizing oils. Enjoy until the oils cool, massage some of the oil into your hands, then rinse.

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2. Fix a Broken Nail
If your nail has broken too low for comfort, you can make a simple patch to cover it until the nail naturally grows out. Just cut a small piece from a tea bag and apply with nail glue.

3. Do Away with Dirt and Grease
Working in the garden or under the hood of the car? To make nail cleanup easier afterward, scratch your nails on a bar of soap first. An old toothbrush combined with dishwashing liquid works well as a fingernail cleaner after the fact.

Powerful Nail Fungus Fighters

4. Rub Out Fungus
Head to your medicine stash for this remedy: Use a cotton swab to apply a mentholated vapor rub, like Vicks, to the nail twice a day. If used consistently, it should eliminate the fungus. How it works: Rubs like these contain the antifungals camphor and eucalyptus oil.

5. Kick it with Cornmeal
If you’re a savvy gardener, you might know that cornmeal has long been used as a way to fight fungal diseases on flowers and lawns. Many people swear by that antifungal action for their nails. And there’s no harm in giving this safe, all-natural treatment a try. Just pour some cornmeal into a shallow pan, mix it with water hot enough to dissolve it into a paste or mush, and let it cool for about an hour while you do other things. When you come back to it, add enough water to cover your feet or hands and then soak in it for an hour while you watch Netflix.

6. Serve Your Nails a Spot of Tea
But not just any tea will do! Pau d’arco is the type you need. It’s made from the bark of a South American tree that contains antifungal compounds. If you can’t find it your local grocery or health food stores, Amazon has options. Use two tea bags steeped in warm water to create a nail bath. Then soak your feet or hands twice a day for 20 minutes.

7. Oil the Fungus Away
Certain oils have antifungal properties. The best bets for nails: oregano oil or tea tree oil. With a cotton swab, dab a few drops of oil on your nails twice daily.

Perfect Polish And Drying

8. Grab and Go
To make it easier to grab the polish you want in a hurry, paint a small area of an adhesive label with the color. Then use a hole puncher to create a small circle swatch of the color that you can stick to the top of the polish bottle for an at-a-glance color selection.

9. Stray Polish Solution
You can keep polish from sticking where it’s not welcome. All you need to do is apply a little petroleum jelly with a cotton swab to those areas around the edges of your nails. You can use the same trick when removing a dark nail polish, so the color doesn’t run and stain your hands as you attempt to remove it from your nails.

10. Want Polish That Lasts Longer?
Grab the vinegar! With a cotton ball, apply white vinegar to your nails to clear away any dirt or residue just before applying the nail polish. It helps your polish make a better seal and go the distance.

11. Smooth Move
If your polish never seems to glide on as smoothly as a salon application, try this trick. Stick the bottle in the fridge for 15 minutes before you apply.

12. More Is Less
Surprise! It’s actually quicker to apply three super-thin layers of polish, letting each dry before applying the next, than forcing on one or two thick layers and waiting a polish eternity for them to dry.

13. Fancy Fishnets
Cut off a piece of a loofah. After you’ve applied and dried your base color of choice, use a sponge to dab on a second color over the loofah. You’ll get a fishnet effect!

14. Polar Plunge for Polish
Ice is nice when it comes to setting nail polish. Before you start your painting, fill a bowl with ice cubes and run some cold water over the top. Then, when you’re ready to speed-dry, dip your nails in the bowl for about a minute. The cold will set the polish not just on top, but all the way through—protecting you from those little annoying chips.

15. Top the Tip
When applying a top coat, don’t forget to cover the edge of your nails. That’s the spot that takes a beating and can open the door to polish chips!

16. Neat Nail Polish Remover
Use an old pill bottle as a quick nail polish remover! Place several cotton balls or an old makeup sponge inside and add a bit of nail polish remover. Then when you have to remove old polish, just dip your finger inside the pill container and twist. You can create a similar helper with a mason jar and a rolled-up cleaning sponge.

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