Keep nail beds hydrated
To keep your nails hydrated, rub a small amount of petroleum jelly into your cuticle and the skin surrounding your nails every evening before you go to bed or whenever your nails feel dry. Keep a jar in your purse, desk drawer, car—anywhere you might need it. Not a fan of petroleum jelly? Substitute castor oil. It’s thick and contains vitamin E, which is great for your cuticles. Or head to your kitchen cupboard and grab the olive oil—it also works to moisturize your nails.
Protect nails from wear and tear
Wear rubber gloves whenever you do housework or wash dishes. Most household chores from gardening, to scrubbing the bathroom, to washing dishes, are murderous on healthy nails. For extra hand softness, apply hand cream before you put on the rubber gloves. Slipping on some gloves will also protect your manicure.
Treat cuticles gently
When pushing back your cuticles (it is not necessary to cut them), come in at a 45-degree angle and be very gentle. Otherwise, the cuticle will become damaged, weakening the entire nail, says Mariana Diaconescu, a manicurist at the Pierre Michel Salon in New York City.
Avoid ingrown nails
For healthy nails, trim your toenails straight across to avoid ingrown toenails. This is particularly important if you have diabetes.
Keep hands dry
Dry your hands for at least two minutes after doing the dishes, taking a bath/shower, etc. Also, dry your toes thoroughly after swimming or showering. Leaving them damp increases your risk of fungal infection and ruins healthy nails.
Get shoes in top shape
Air out your work boots and athletic shoes. Better yet, keep two pairs and switch between them so you never put your feet into damp, sweaty shoes. This could lead to fungal infections.