10 Common Nail Myths Debunked

Like in various areas of the salon and beauty industry, many myths surround nails and what is good or bad for them. Everything from what to eat to improve your nails to how it is best to deal with false nails that are growing out comes into question when urban myths and rumors are circulating. Here we will discuss what actually does help the overall condition and beauty of your nails and what is pure myth. This way, you can inform your clients and present yourself as a true beauty authority.

Myth #1 – Eating Gelatin Will Strengthen Your Nails

This myth, like many myths, surely comes from assumptions made by lay persons about certain truths with regards to nails. Since it is true that nails are made from a protein and gelatin also contains protein, people assume that the protein they are consuming in their gelatin will travel right down to their fingertips and help their nails. However, there is not actually any scientific evidence which backs this up. Overall good nutrition and health is important for nail growth but, if you are not nutritionally deficient, eating more protein such as gelatin will not actually do anything to improve your nails.  

Myth #2 – Fake Nails And Polish Should Be Removed Once In A While To Give Nails A “Break”

This myth revolves around the fact that, according to popular opinion, nails need a “break” from enhancements and polish every so often and you should “soak” cosmetics products off of your nails in order to provide this break. Actually, as long as your nail technician is using high quality products, there is no necessity to spend time without nail enhancements. Also, removing cosmetic nail products incorrectly can actually damage the nail so, if you do decide to take a break from enhancements, either let the enhancements grow out themselves or remove them correctly.

Myth #3 – You Should Avoid Nail Products With Chemicals

This myth clearly coincides with the overall, all-natural, organic trend in the beauty industry. However, if you want to use nail enhancements, it is literally impossible to do so without using chemicals. Nearly everything is a chemical or contains chemicals; this includes purified water. Therefore, while it is beneficial to understand the chemicals that your esthetician is using in your manicures, trying to avoid chemicals completely in your manicures (or otherwise) is misguided.

Myth #4 – Cosmetic Nail Products Ruin Your Nails

This may have been true a long time ago but no longer is. Nail products, and cosmetic products in general, have come a long way and no longer inflict any damage on your nail if your nail technician is applying them correctly. Picking, chewing or otherwise mistreating your nails is much more likely to cause damage than properly-applied cosmetic enhancements.

Myth #5 – Storing Nail Polish In The Fridge Makes It Last Longer

While it is true that putting nail polish in the refrigerator may make it last longer because the refrigerator will slow the thickening of the thickening agents inside of the polish, removing and replacing nail polish from the refrigerator after every use will do nothing to extend the shelf life of your nail polish. Also, nail polish should be brought back to room temperature before you use it or the quality may be affected due condensation created by the cold. In fact, the best way to preserve nail polish is to remove any drips of polish from the cap and bottleneck and seal the polish tightly after every use to prevent the solvents in the polish from evaporating.

Myth #6 – People With Greenish Nails Have Fungus Infections

Fungus and mold are actually not very common nail pathogens for fingernails which are regularly exposed to air and movement which provides an unfavorable environment for fungus. Also, fungal infections will appear brown or black – not green. For fingernails which appear green, a bacterial infection is actually much more likely. However, since it is illegal for nail technicians to attempt to diagnose nail problems, the best thing to do in a situation like this is to see a doctor who specializes in this area.

Myth #7 – Putting Nails In Icy Water Helps Polish Dry Faster

We don’t know where this myth came from but, if it were true, nail technicians would do it. However, they do not, because it doesn’t work. For nail polish to dry, the solvents in the nail polish need to evaporate. This can be sped up by putting nails in front of heat and air. Hence, nail technicians use fans with heat to help dry their client’s fingernails.

Myth #8 – Do Not File Back And Forth On Natural Nails

Nail file safety actually has to do more with the grit being used as opposed to the motion of the filer. Nail files with grits of 180 or higher should always be used. Grits below 180 can damage the nail regardless of what type of motion the filer is using.

Myth #9 – Cuticle Cutting Is Beneficial For Nail Health

This myth is essentially false but does include caveats. First, what many people are calling the “cuticle” is actually the “eponychium.” The cuticle is only the skin which is growing on the surface of the nail. What many people are cutting and/or pushing back is actually the eponychium. Cutting the eponychium is not a good idea and, in fact, is illegal for nail technicians to do in many states because it can make nails prone to infection. If done repeatedly, it can also cause the eponychium to scar with hard tissue. If you want to remove dead skin which is growing on top of the nail, it is better to soak your hands in warm water and then push the skin back or use a liquid cuticle remover to dissolve the dead skin.

Myth #10 – It Is More Sanitary To Bring Your Own Tools To The Nail Salon

This is generally not true for a multitude of reasons. For one thing, the environment which you are likely carrying your nail tools in (your purse), is certainly much less sanitary than the tools of a certified nail technician. Second, nail technicians are required to disinfect any tools which they are going to use. Therefore, they would simply disinfect your nail tools in the same way they disinfected their own nail tools making the whole exercise pointless. A better option is to simply ask the nail technician about their salon’s sanitary practices if you feel uneasy about potential hygiene issues.


While there are many myths which circulate in the nail industry, it is important to know which are false, which are based in truth and why. As salon professionals, this knowledge can mean the difference between guiding our clients in the right direction and misleading our clients which will also cause them to lose confidence in us and our services. In this article, we discussed 10 common myths but there are certainly many more and, when we hear something which may or may not be true, we should also investigate reliable sources with due diligence in order to equip ourselves with the proper information.