Welcome to our new beauty series, where we answer your slightly awkward questions with the help of an expert. First up: yellowed nails. After one too many manis, you might have noticed your nails have a slight (or major, depending on how long it’s been since you had bare nails) yellow tinge to them. It can be tempting to keep covering it up with polish, but that’s just a bandaid—and it can actually make things worse.
“Yellow nails are mostly caused by wearing a highly-pigmented shade of dark nail polish,” says Melissa Forrest of Tips Nail Salon in Toronto. While some people think yellowed nails are a problem you can’t fix, Forrest knows otherwise and has a few suggestions.
Start by lightly scaling the surface of your nail with a nail buffer. If your stain isn’t too deep, that might be enough to get rid of it entirely. If not, try a little whitening toothpaste. “Apply the toothpaste on top of nail plate and let sit for about 10 minutes,” says Forrest. “Before adding water, use a toothbrush and dry brush vigorously.” Want something a little more natural? Try soaking your nails in pure lemon juice for 10 to 15 minutes daily until you start to notice a difference.
But, the best defence is a good offence, and there are things you can do to prevent those stains before they set in. “Apply a base coat always!” Forrest says. Even if you’re in a rush, don’t skip this step. It’ll create a barrier between your nails and that stain-causing dark polish.
If you’ve tried all the things and your nail stains persist, it might be worth going to the doctor for a quick checkup. It could mean you have a fungal infection, especially if you’ve noticed a change in your nail texture, like bumps or ridges.
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