Photo: Annie McElwain
Keep your nails healthy, resilient, and ready for that ring-stagram by following these simple steps to the most magnificent mani on your wedding day.
Baby Your Cuticles
That's where nail growth starts, so the healthier they are, the better your nails will be. Avoid cutting them (trimming a hangnail is okay, though); instead, gently push them back with your towel right after you shower, when they're soft. Massage in a cuticle conditioner at bedtime. Try Essie Apricot Cuticle Oil ($8.50, Essie).
Swipe on a Strengthener
Top pro fave Nailtiques (from $5, Nailtiques) uses ingredients like keratin and protein to fortify weak nails.
Stick to Non-Acetone or Soy-Based Removers
"Acetone is a potent remover that is really meant to remove acrylics and gels," says manicurist Donna Perillo of New York's Sweet Lily Natural Nail Spa. Try Cutex Non-Acetone Nail Polish Remover ($2.49, available at Walgreens), which is less drying. And always take off polish as soon as it chips. "Otherwise, nails are prone to catching on clothes and hair, which leads to splitting, peeling, and breaks," Perillo says.
See more: Your 30-Day Clear Skin Plan
If you want the shiny, polish-free finish of buffing, choose a tool that's specifically labeled for natural nails. If it's too abrasive, it might cause major damage.
Pop a 3mg Pill of Biotin daily
"It's been clinically proven to grow stronger nails," says Washington, D.C., dermatologist Elizabeth Tanzi. Start taking it as early as possible — at least a month or two before your wedding.
Be Careful with Acrylics and UV Gels
Over time, they can weaken nails, so if you're not planning on keeping them for the big day, Perillo suggests removing them four weeks out and scheduling regular weekly manicures to help coax your natural nails back into shape.
Want more genius planning tips? For the best wedding dresses, advice, and big-day inspiration, pick up the BRIDES October/November 2015 issue, on newsstands now and available for download here!