A Nail Artist Explains Why We Should Press Pause On The Polish Every Now And Then

Few things set off the hands and feet like nail art. They can be as subtle as a glazed donut manicure or as dazzling as glittering nail polish with a metallic twinkle. If a manicure can detox and de-stress your fingers or toes, a coat of catchy embellishments can draw attention to your nails and make an interesting conversation piece.

However, too much of anything is not good. No matter how gorgeous and sturdy it looks, a gel manicure is short-lived. To keep your painted nails in their tip-top shape, you'll have to top up on a new top coat or a gel polish every few weeks as your gels grow out. And while an upkeep routine seems like a responsible thing to do for your nail appearance, it could be detrimental to your nail health. If you wear nail polish every day, it won't be long until you spot stains and streaks on your bare nails — in addition to peeling and dryness. Sometimes, pressing pause on the polish might just be the best thing you can do for your nails. 

To help you better understand the importance of a manicure detox on your nail health, Glam spoke to Braelinn Frank, nail artist and founder of Rave Nailz. Below, Frank explains why you shouldn't wait until your nails weaken to start giving them a breather.

Let your naked nails see the daylight every once in a while

Non-stop manicure sessions can spell troubles for your nails. "Nail polish can create a barrier between your nails and the environment, which can lead to weakened and discolored nails," Braelinn Frank exclusively tells Glam.

Another thing to keep in mind is that gel polish, though gorgeous and long-lasting, can be more suffocating for your nails than regular polish. In addition to nail brittleness, peeling, and cracking, repeated use of gel polish can raise the risk of premature aging and skin cancer. The same can be said for the trending dip powder manicure, a technique that involves dipping the nail into pigmented powder followed by a sealer. Powder coatings can be quite heavy on the nails and are likely to cause irritation.

The removal process is also tough on the nails. Nail polish remover strips your nails of their natural oils, leading to dryness and brittleness. Taking a break from polish can help your nails retain their natural moisture and prevent dryness. Weaning your nails off harsh ingredients in nail polish and remover every once in a while gives them time to "breathe" and rejuvenate, allowing them to feel and look healthy from the inside out. However, keeping your nails bare doesn't mean you cannot rock great nail designs.  

How to keep your nails strong

There are things you can do to keep your nails looking good sans nail polish. Braelinn Frank recommends using nail stickers or press-ons. "All of these options have zero need for polish remover, so there will be no more parched fingertips," she exclusively tells Glam. Not only are they better for your bare nails and more cost-efficient, but they are also durable, customizable, and reusable. If you need some recommendations, check out Rave Nailz for a wide variety of glue-on false nails made from vegan, cruelty-free ingredients.

You can also wear natural nails. To revive your parched nails and keep them looking shiny, make it a habit to moisturize and massage your nails with cuticle cream or a nourishing oil daily. Using a hand sheet mask every week is also a great way to hydrate your nails whilst restoring the skin's natural barrier and elasticity. To keep your nails in uniform shapes and forms, use a less abrasive file (such as a glass file instead of a traditional emery board) and be as gentle as possible. When doing the dishes or laundry, wear rubber gloves to keep your nails from drying ingredients in dish soaps or detergents.

Frequent application of lacquer and polish remover can damage the nails. By abstaining from nail polish every once in a while and adopting basic nail care practices, you can keep your nails healthy and prepared for the next manicure.