BEAUTY CLINIC: First Aid for fragile fingernails

Jo and Sarah answer real questions from readers: to put your query, go to   

Q. Every winter my fingernails get dry, brittle and even split right down. Please can you recommend anything to help? 

A. There’s no quick fix as nails take time to grow. But you can make an immediate difference to their appearance by massaging in oil and/or oily hand cream now this minute – and every single time you have had your hands in water 24/7. 

For more information follow Beauty Bible online here, or on Facebook and Twitter

For more information follow Beauty Bible online here, or on Facebook and Twitter

We have hand cream everywhere, including tried and tested Lanolips Lemon Hand Cream, £8.99 for 50ml. A new favourite is Liz Earle’s Superskin Hand Serum, £18.75 for 75ml.

Do wear gloves when you wash up and when you handle paper (incredibly drying), garden, groom muddy horses (Sarah’s downfall) and the rest. Please - just wear gloves! 

Thirdly, consider supplements. Start with a magnesium supplement such as Life Extension Neuro-Mag, £33 for 90 capsules (helps you sleep and stay calm too). 

As winter comes, vitamin D (aka ‘the sunshine vitamin’) is vital for everything, including the state of your nails – that’s why they tend to grow better in the summer. 

Try Better You DLux 1000 Spray. We also like to add omega-3 essential fatty acids, which you can only get from what you eat – your body can’t make it. 

Try Lamberts Pure Fish Oil, currently £6.95 for 60 capsules at Victoria Health. The state of your gut seems to affect everything including your fingernails. 

Sarah, who has notoriously weak nails, has found the most effective internal strengthener to be a chlorella supplement called Sun Chlorella A, £21.95 for 300 tablets. 

For the first time ever, she practically grew talons. Try to take 15-30 (you can build up the number) of these funny little green pillules (tablets makes them sound bigger than they are) daily, or add the powder to smoothies. 

Protecting nails with a clear varnish designed to make them stronger is a wise move – and for the moment leave the coloured lacquer: you can adorn them when they grow a bit stronger. 

Try Nail Magic Nail Treatment, £11.95,

Finally, never buff your nails – or let anyone else do so - it can weaken them for months. A really soft spongy buffer is fine but anything that abrades the surface is to be avoided at all costs.

Beauty Bible loves… Gaia Spa range, £15-38. Every so often a range comes along out of the blue (or in this case, with its eco-credentials, perhaps ‘out of the green’) which knocks our socks off – and the range created for Devon’s Gaia Spa at Boringdon Hall’s done just that.

It’s all-natural. (We’re guessing that the team behind Circaroma – a longstanding favourite brand of ours – had a hand in creating this, and we find that hugely encouraging as they’re real experts in natural and organic.)

Extra bonus points to Gaia for the eco-packaging, too: 100% recyclable – and we love the bamboo tops

Extra bonus points to Gaia for the eco-packaging, too: 100% recyclable – and we love the bamboo tops

The smells really are mood-shifting (and beautiful with it): the Awakening range, with its signature blend of tangerine, grapefruit, geranium, petitgrain and rosemary will definitely give you back your get-up-and-go when it’s got-up-and-went (and we’ll definitely have this within reach for when winter sluggishness sets in). 

Favourite products in Awakening are the Body Oil, Body Scrub and the mega-rich Awakening Body Cream, which you’ll need to warm a bit before use (there’s lashings of coconut in there), but which will really get rid of your flaky bits.

The Balancing and Calming collections are much smaller (but equally fab) – just a Bath Oil and a Body Oil, to date – and there’s a Shampoo and Conditioner we haven’t tried.

Extra bonus points to Gaia for the eco-packaging, too: 100% recyclable – and we love the bamboo tops and the bamboo outer for the Body Cream, which we’ll be ‘upcycling’ when we’ve slathered our last (the inner plastic tub inside’s also recyclable).

You’ll currently find it on-line – or, if you’re savvy, you’ll head to the Gaia Spa itself (on the outside of Plymouth) to check it out for yourself via one of their holistic treatment packages. Either way, this is a spa brand we’re expecting to see ripple out across the nation – and more power to their beautifully softened, fragrant elbows.

Gaia Spa Collection/£15-38 at 

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