7 Nail Care Myths, Debunked

7 things that just aren't true about your nails.
Publish date:
January 5, 2015
nail care, nail health, cuticle care, strong nails, artificial nails, nail care myths

When it comes to beauty myths, there is a whole lot of misinformation out there. Nail care, in particular, has some interesting fallacy-as-fact hearsay that many accept as truth. Let’s bust some of the most prominent nail care myths out there.

Calcium Strengthens Nails

Contrary to popular belief, there is only a small amount of calcium in your nails. So upping your calcium intake will do nothing to make your nails stronger. Sorry about all those glasses of milk you drank.

Nails Need To "Breathe"

I used to go polish-less once in a while to let my nails “breathe.” It makes sense, right? Nope. Since your nails are made entirely of dead cells, they don’t obtain oxygen from the air (only via your bloodstream).

Clipping/Pushing Back Cuticles Is Fine As Long As You Don’t Make Them Bleed

Sure, pushing your cuticles back or clipping them makes your manicure that much better, but consider this: your cuticles exist to protect the roots of your nails and the skin surrounding them. Cutting them or pushing them back eliminates the barrier that protects your nail beds from germs. Added to that, clipping your cuticles causes them to thicken, thus making them much more unmanageable in future.

If you do want to push your cuticles back, make sure you soak your fingertips in warm water and push them back gently with something soft.

Nail Polish Dries Faster With Ice Water

Again, I’m guilty of believing this. It made sense at the time. Turns out, this does just the opposite, as nail polish only dries when the solvents in the formula are able to evaporate. Heat is a better bet in this case.

White Spots On Nails Indicate A Calcium Deficiency

We’ve all had those little white patches on our nails and thought, Oh, I should start taking more milk in my coffee. Well, as we’ve established, calcium isn’t the culprit, but, contrary to popular belief, neither is a zinc or other vitamin deficiency. Whiteness on the nail (or leukonychia, if you’re fancy) is most often due to mild injuries to the base of the nail. A much more rare cause is a problem in liver or kidney functioning, which is identifiable in conjunction with other symptoms.

Nail Cosmetics/Fake Nails Damage Natural Nails

There’s no need to avoid nail cosmetics and pretty press-ons. While many of us have been burned by improper application or removal of acrylics or gel in the past, these things don’t have to damage your natural nails. Proper technique in both application and removal is key (i.e. while peeling nail polish off may weaken the nails, using products and procedures shouldn’t do so).

Nail Products Can Harden/Repair/Perform Miracles On Nails

Because your nails are dead, vitamins, nutrients, and the like can't affect them via topical application; everything your nails need is delivered via your blood. Good nutrition is therefore the true ally. Similarly, nail products with hardeners can’t strengthen your nails either, although they can make them feel harder while applied.

  • Did you believe any of these myths?
  • Were you airing your nails out every so often like I was?