We all know by now that coconut oil has a myriad of uses and benefits in our lives. It can be used as everything from cooking oil to a hair growth treatment to a makeup remover – but with all these fantastic uses, are you truly using your jar of coconut oil to its fullest potential?
If it’s not part of your nail routine, then probably not. Yes, that’s right, this miracle oil can up your game in another area of your life – your manicure. Let’s get into it. Read on to find out just how coconut oil can supercharge your nail care routine.
Why Coconut Oil?
In case you’ve heard the buzz about coconut oil but aren’t sure exactly why so many people swear by it, here’s a primer. This oil contains vitamins (including vitamin A & E), which are rich in antioxidants that are beneficial for your skin and hair. It’s also such a fantastic moisturizer because it’s full of saturated fats, which are composed mostly of triglycerides and medium-chain fatty acids.
In layman’s terms, this means that coconut oil absorbs into the skin and stays there, locking in moisture and keeping skin soft and supple for a long time. So, what does this all have to do with your nails?
How Coconut Oil Benefits The Nails
- Strengthens dry, brittle, or cracked nails
- Speeds up nail growth
- Cures hangnails
- Treats damaged cuticles
- Prevents ridged nails
- Treats nail fungus
Let’s take a closer look at each of these perks of using coconut oil for your nails.
Coconut Oil For Nail Strength and Growth
Thin, brittle nails are prone to cracks and breakage which, in addition to wreaking havoc on your manicure, can be painful, and even pave the way for letting in fungus under the nail. Sounds like a bad situation all around, right?
That’s where coconut oil comes in. Massaging coconut oil into your nails each night will help increase the moisture content in your nails.
This in turn will help strengthen the nails, make them more flexible to prevent breakage, and prevent cracks that allow fungus into the nail bed. Regular use of coconut oil in your nail routine will help your nails grow stronger, healthier, and longer.
Coconut Oil For Hangnails
Hangnails occur when a piece of skin separates from the cuticle. We all know how annoying and even painful hangnails can be, but did you know they can also give bacteria and fungus a great place to get into your cuticle and cause infections? They can be caused by excessive exposure of your hands to water or the harsh chemicals found in some soaps and hand sanitizers.
And while washing and sanitizing your hands is absolutely necessary, there are things you can do to counteract the damage done to your nails while keeping your hands clean. One option is to massage coconut oil into your cuticles two to four times a week. This will moisturize the skin around your nails, and keep hangnails to a minimum.
Coconut Oil For Cuticles
Hangnails aren’t the only problem that can place your cuticles. Especially in cold weather during winter, your cuticles can become dry and cracked, giving them a “ragged” look and once again giving bacteria an easy place to make their way in.
Applying coconut oil to your cuticles helps to lock in moisture, and creates a barrier between your skin and the outside world. This helps protect against the damaging effects of cold air, water, and harsh chemicals, and keeps your cuticles from drying out and cracking.
Coconut Oil For Ridged Nails
Nail ridges are pretty much exactly what they sound like: little parallel ridges and valleys running vertically along your nail plate. You can feel them by running a finger across your nail plate, or you may even be able to see them if you examine your nails closely. These ridges are caused by dehydration within the nails, which is of course why coconut oil can help.
Its high content of saturated fats help increase the moisture content of the nails, and lock it in for an extended period of time, which helps fill in the nail ridges. Applying coconut oil to your nails each night before bed will help hydrate and smooth out your nails – which, in turn, will make for a smoother application of nail polish, gel, or your other nail products of choice.
Coconut Oil For Nail Fungus
Can coconut oil really help treat nail fungus? Well, sort of. Coconut oil does have natural anti-microbial & anti-fungal properties, but if you are suffering from a fungus under your nails, it’s always recommended that you consult a doctor for a cure. However, where coconut oil really shines is as a preventative treatment for nail fungus.
As we mentioned earlier, when your nails and cuticles dry out and crack, bacteria and fungus are quick to move in, and can cause a fungal infection in the nail bed. By using coconut oil to moisturize your nails, you can prevent these cracks, and make your nails a more inhospitable environment for fungus.
Additionally, since coconut oil is anti-microbial, and creates a natural barrier between your nails and the environment, it can play an important role in killing or turning away any fungus that you do come in contact with. So once your nails are fungus-free, coconut oil can be instrumental in keeping them that way.
How To Use Coconut Oil For Your Nails
First, a word of caution. While coconut oil is suitable for some skin types, it is known to be one of the most highly comedogenic types of oil. Basically, this means it is known to cause acne by clogging pores. This is most likely due to its high-fat content.
Therefore, if you have sensitive or acne-prone skin, coconut oil may not be suitable for you. If you do use it, use it sparingly, and discontinue use as soon as you see any adverse effects start to develop.
That said, here is the best way to use coconut oil if you do choose to use it on your nails:
- Soften the oil. Coconut oil can set into a hard block in the jar, especially if stored in a cool place. This can make it difficult to work with, so we recommend warming the oil in the microwave first. Using a microwave-safe container, set your microwave to the “defrost” setting and warm it in 30-second increments until you achieve the desired consistency.
- Massage the oil into your nails and/or cuticles, depending on what your desired outcome is. Use circular motions to rub the oil in, continuing for at least 30 seconds to make sure the oil has time to penetrate the cuticle and nail bed.
- Wait at least 30 minutes before washing your hands. This gives the oil time to completely soak in and begin moisturizing and repairing the nails and cuticles. This will also assure that you retain the oil in your skin, and it can continue providing its benefits for a longer period of time. Feel free to wait much longer than 30 minutes before washing your hands, as well. The longer you wait, the more oil you retain – this is why using coconut oil right before you go to bed for the night is recommended.
As you can see, this powerful multitasker of an oil continues to provide more uses and benefits for just about any body part or area of your life that you can imagine. And this certainly extends to your nails too. When used regularly, coconut oil can help strengthen your nails, moisturize your cuticles, speed up nail growth, and prevent nail fungus.
It sounds almost too good to be true, but here we are! We hope we’ve given you a solid guide to incorporating coconut oil into your nail routine, and that you’ll soon start seeing stronger, healthier, more beautiful nails because of it.