Whether you’ve been experimenting with at-home nail art, UV lamps, and gel polishes during lockdown, or have been battling with weak or brittle nails for some time, you might benefit from a specialised keratin nail treatment to restore your hands to their former glory.
What is keratin?
Let’s start with the basics; what exactly is keratin and how is it good for our nails? ‘Keratin is a natural protein that forms the building blocks for our skin, hair and importantly, our nails,’ explains Juanita Huber-Millet, founder of London-based salon Townhouse. ‘As a natural product, it’s well tolerated and gives your nails that extra boost of strength.’
Like naturally-occurring collagen and ceramides in the skin, keratin is something our body makes, but can be ‘topped up’ with targeted treatments.
What is a keratin nail treatment?
Keratin nail treatments are available in certain nail salons, and are a great way to give nails a strengthening boost. ‘Keratin treatments help to stop your nails from splitting, peeling and breaking as they work to rebuild your nails’ structure, so in time they will become a lot stronger and in turn, longer,’ says Thea Green, director of Nails Inc.
‘During lockdown, many people will have been unable to reach their nail salon for a manicure. This will have taken a toll on your nails and nail health; keratin treatments will pump the proteins into your nails to bring them back to life,’ she adds.
So what actually happens during a keratin treatment? Well, services like the one at Nails and Brows Mayfair (the IBX Nail Strengthening Treatment) take just ten minutes to complete, meaning they’re a brilliant lunch hour go-to.
During the treatment, nails are cleaned, tidied up, and treated with two serums, followed by a blast of low heat to lock in the serums. Nails are then treated with a cuticle oil to finish. The treatment promises to repair weak, brittle, or damaged nails in a flash.
If you’ve not got the time or money to head into a salon right now, Hubert-Millet recommends at-home keratin nail treatments like CND Rescuerxx, which she says, ‘are a great way to give damaged or weak nails some extra strength.’
‘They do require a little patience but stick at it and after a week or two you should start noticing a difference, with stronger, shinier and healthier nails,’ she adds.
How else can you keep nails healthy?
Keratin nail treatments may be great, but it’s important to keep your nails in good shape between any kind of in-salon service if you want to see real results.
For Hubert-Miller, the crucial factor is keeping cuticles healthy and nourished. ‘Nails grow from the nail bed and looking after your cuticles means healthier nails as they grow out,’ she explains. ‘Above all else, the most effective thing is to keep your hands moisturised and use cuticle oil at least once a day.’
It’s also worth investing in some keratin-powered nail products to tide nails over between treatments, says Green. She recommends the Nails.INC NailKale Base Coat, which is formulated with keratin to harden and activate the stimulation of nail growth. You can use it on its own as a treatment, or as a base coat under your nail polish, which helps to shield nails from damage.
She also suggests picking up the Nails.INC Superfood Repair Oil Hydrating Nail Treatment, which she describes as an ‘absolute must have.’