Spring through fall I wouldn’t be caught dead without my nails polished. For that matter, winter months are no exception. Like skin, nails need exposure to oxygen to stay healthy. Frequent use of polish where nails are in contact with chemicals (namely, formaldehyde) can lead to discoloration, or yellow staining. Toes are especially susceptible as polish tends to stay on the longest! Darker-colored polishes can make matters worse, staining nails due to a chemical reaction between the polish and nail plates. I know. It’s all a little scientifically scary — and for that matter, it’s not pretty to look at, either! Instead of covering up the damage with more polish, whiten your nails with some recovery methods! Follow along as I put two nail whitening tricks to the test!
It’s Time to Tackle Your Toenails! 1 of 6
Contact with chemicals found in nail polish over an extended period of time will cause nails to yellow. Follow these simple DIY's and say, 'goodbye' to Mellow Yellow and, 'hello' to Winter White!
Two Options 2 of 6
Several tricks can be used to make your tips look whiter. Nail expert Fran Manos (author of Beautiful Hands and Nails Naturally) recommends bleaching them in a solution of 1 tablespoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide mixed with 2 1/2 tablespoons of baking soda in a small plastic bowl.
Another option is applying whitening toothpaste. Toothpastes typically contain gentle abrasives and whitening agents to help remove surface stains on your teeth. Those same gentle abrasives can help remove surface stains on your nails.
Step 1. Remove Polish 3 of 6
Take a deep breath; it's about to get REALLY frightening. Remove all existing nail polish to reveal the true monsters lurking beneath the pretty polish. In the privacy of your own home, no one will ever know you're about to blast yellow to the past!
Step 2. Apply Whitening Mixtures 4 of 6
Now exhale! With your toenails completely covered in goop, you can rest assured the worst is behind you. On the right foot, I applied the hydrogen peroxide mixed with baking soda. On the left, is the whitening toothpaste. Apply both with a Q-tip or use a toothbrush (using a light brushing motion) for deeper penetration.
Step 3. The Waiting Game 5 of 6
Set a timer for five minutes and let the magic happen.
Tip: The results deemed successful using both mixtures. However, if using the toothpaste method, I'd recommend using several times a week until desired whiteness is achieved.
Behold, Whiter Nails! 6 of 6
As you can tell from the picture above, the foot on the right (my left foot) had better results (sorry other foot, you and your guinea piggies didn't cut it). I'd recommend also following up with a nail buffing file to even out texture and remove any remaining stains that the treatment may have missed!