We all need a bit of rest and relaxation from time to time, a few weeks of bliss to unwind and recharge the old batteries. Yet of any part of our bodies, our hands are probably never given the time off they deserve, and in particular my nails. Its rare if they are not donning a colour, I barely give them a break. Its straight off with a chipped polish and on with another.

Yet if your nails underneath the colour are looking worse for wear, it maybe time to have a nail detox.

I don’t think it is medically proven that we need to let nails breathe between manicures unless they are using a certain formula, i.e. Gel manicures, shellac or gel extensions/acrylics.

Nails as such do not breathe but do need some time to recuperate. A good time period for a nail detox would be 3 to 4 weeks, to ensure reasonable enough time for recovery.

I feel many of the tips in this post once you are aware, you can add into your routine. Prevention is better than cure in most instances and with these tips, your nails will be better in the longterm.


Nails receive nutrients from oxygen in the bloodstream, so any polish you apply will not generally affect the regeneration process or growth cycle. If anything a polish will only armour the nail plate from damage from outside world. If you however are finding your nails are peeling, dried out, have severe discolouration or ridging, it may be time to have that nail holiday! These are the warning signs, so keep an eye on your nails.



If you find discolouration is an issue, leaving on colours for too long may be the culprit.

Keratin granulation can occur, so removing polishes regularly and avoid leaving polish on for prolonged periods.


If your nails are in a seriously stained state, try soaking your hands or toes in water with denture tablets.

This will bring up the colour of your nails, without affecting nail health.

Do this in a wash basin with luke warm water with 2 denture tablets for 10-15 minutes, depending on the level of staining.




Our everyday lives play havoc on our nails, they were not designed to be washed every two minutes, stripping moisture out of hands. The end result being ridged, dry flaking nails and dry skin.

I say this, please do not stop washing your hands, be hygienic! It saves the spread of germs and bacteria!

But preventing your hands from over exposure to water and alcohol is best for keep moisture levels up, which contribute to healthy nails.


Anti bacterial hand gels are the worst, they kill germs but are packed with alcohol, drying out the hands and nails further. Try and only use these if you absolutely have to!

For hand washes, try and use gentle soaps, which do not contain parabens and SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulphate or Sodium Laureth Sulphate). Look to ingredients, find a gentle soap formula, although I appreciate these ingredients are in everything!


Try and use these at home in your own kitchen and bathroom, although I do appreciate in the public places we wouldn’t necessarily know what is in our hand wash.

I appreciate in certain professions it is not easy to avoid water, hairdressers and those in hospitality especially.  If you do wash your hands almost constantly, apply nail oils and hand creams frequently, or as often as you can. Keeping nail plates hydrated is key to good nail health.


If you are in a dry hands and nail situation daily, use your time off to your advantage, if you have a holiday or break booked off. I completely understand this predicament, I have been there!  Do all you can for your hands and nails in these periods, have a good pamper and you will feel the difference.


If you can, wear gloves are often as you can for certain tasks, either around the home or at work. This would include general housework and cleaning, or when your hands are coming into contact with harsh detergents, water and alcohol based products. It will also stop your manicure from chipping too, keeping nails looking lovely.


This barrier is key to helping your nails recover too, very important to invest in gloves, these will be a fixture if you want to have nice nails all the time. I must admit it does take time to get used to wearing them, but in the long term I would never be without now. This tip is probably one of the best tips I received, so take heed!


When it comes to actual manicures whilst on this nail detox, avoid cutting the actual cuticle if you can.

Cutting the cuticle disables the cuticles ability to heal itself, protecting nails from water and infections. So pop the cuticle nippers away, and stick to gently pushing the cuticle back.

Try and keep colour to a minimum and keep manicures simple. Keep to paler shades to avoid staining for this period of time if you can.

Apply a hard working top coat and apply cuticle oil regularly to hydrate the nails.


Using a non acetone polish remover will help remove colour without stripping the nails of key moisture and natural nail oil.

In fact, avoiding contact with acetone based products, these are a devil for drying out the nails.

With the vast array of good non acetone polish removers on the market, there is no real need to be using acetone unless we are removing severe polishes or enhancements i.e. gel manicures.

Keep to this routine for a good month to see results, but if you are looking to overall nail health, incorporating some supplements and eating a healthy diet may help.

See my post about Vitamins and Supplements for Nails for more information on this topic.

After this nail detox, our talons will be looking a lot better and you will get the best out of your manicures.

But like I said countless times on my blog, PREVENTION IS THE BEST FORM OF CURE!

So keep an eye on those nails and, in return, yours will be in the best of nail health.

Have you ever had a nail detox? What are your best tips for getting nails back to their best? Any tips or tricks?

Let me know in the comments.