Here's How To Stop Your Nails Being A Casualty Of Your Summer Hols

Female feet with red polish on nails on the beach

One of the most popular age old beauty rituals we undergo before taking a summer holiday is usually making sure our finger and toenails are looking tip top. It can be a fun part of the process to pick out a bright summery colour, buff our nail shape and make our hands and feet look the best they can be. But going on a summer holiday can actually take a huge toll on our nails in a number of ways. With this in mind, I set out to discover how to maintain healthy nails during your summer holiday.

When we think about a summer holiday, we think hot weather, indulgent foods, and lots of swimming in the sea and in the pool. For us, this is our idea of heaven, yet for our nails, it's a bit of a hellish scenario. Strong chemicals such as chlorine, more adventure activities that require our hands, and damaging UV rays from the sun can actually be our finger and toenails' idea of an anti-holiday.

I've picked out some of the best ways to ensure you keep your nails looking great and feeling healthy and strong, from including certain foods in your diet to cracking down on the SPF usage. You can thank me later...

Prep effectively

Here's the thing about nails: they need a fair bit of maintenance and care, particularly in the summer months. In order to ensure your nails are looking their best while on holiday, preparation is key. While you'll no doubt want to have them painted and perfected before you step onto the plane, I've always found that giving my nails a break from polish and product in the weeks before a trip works best. Invest in a nail kit that features products like cuticle oil to keep things healthy, and get your mani/pedi done as close to your holiday as possible.

Try shellac for chip-free polish


One of the hardest things about maintaining great looking finger and toenails on holiday is potential chipage. Sea water and harsh chemicals in pools can absolutely affect your nails and potentially break down paint faster than if you were at home. A great solution is to invest in a shellac mani/pedi at a salon before you go away. Shellac lasts far longer than normal nail polish, so you won't have to bother with constantly topping up your colour while abroad. Shellac manis are of course a little more expensive than doing your own nails, but in the long run, it will be worth it... trust me!

Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise

Perhaps an obvious point, but nails need moisture, particularly in extreme weather conditions that they are not used to and that can cause things to get a little on the dry side. Bring with you a heavy duty rich hand cream to keep hands and nails hydrated (as well as a foot cream for your toenails), and try and apply it a few times a day as well as after washing your hands. As mentioned earlier, it's also worth picking up a nourishing cuticle oil, which works even if you have shellac.


Speaking of moisturising, you mustn't forget to slather your hands and nails in SPF, either. We often forget areas such as our hands and feet, but they need to be protected just as much as our larger limbs. Even nails can burn, which as well as looking pretty unsightly, is obviously potentially damaging in the long term. As well as wearing a cream SPF, it's worth picking up a sun-safe top coat for nails, which will absorb damaging UV rays.

Keep things short


The longer the nails, the more opportunities there are for breakage, and considering all the extra fun you may be getting up to while on a trip, your hands and nails will probably be even more likely to feel the effects. For this reason, a summer holiday is the perfect time to keep things a little bit shorter, to minimise the risk of breakage. Short nails can be incredibly chic, particularly if you stick to classic solid colours such as neutrals, reds, and deep berries.

Keep a healthy holiday diet

One of the most important factors to take into consideration when wanting healthy summer nails is diet. When you're on holiday, it's very hard to resist indulging, and indulge you must! But make sure you also include some healthy fats, protein and whole grains, as well as lots of water. These types of foods will keep nails looking and feeling super strong.