Anyone who's ever suffered from discoloured, yellow-ish nails will know how confidence crushing it can be. Immediately it makes your hands look older and simply painting over them with bright polishes will only make the problem worse in the long run. We explain what causes the issue and how you can beat it.
Staining can be caused by using highly-pigmented nail colour without protecting your nails with a basecoat – the more dry and porous your nails are, the more they will stain.
Cheap nail varnishes often have denser pigments, which means they are more likely to stain. So if you're using a budget brand, it's even more important to cover up with a basecoat.
A basecoat is used in a professional manicure as a nail primer, to protect the nail bed and create a protective layer between the lacquer and your nail bed.
Smoking and certain types of work can also cause staining, and this is often more difficult to remove.
It’s important to always remove nail colour on a regular basis and clean the nail plate before re-varnishing, whilst always using a basecoat to seal the nail before application.
It is possible to buff out nail stains over time, but you can also camouflage them as a short-term solution.
Anyone who regularly has manicures is also at risk of nail discolouration, especially those who go for fake nails.
Varnish and gels can penetrate the outer layers of the nail, reaching the keratin and causing yellowing. Gels also stop the nail breathing, making the perfect environment for fungal nail infections.
Of course there are also natural ways to whiten your nails. A favourite is lemon juice and baking soda, a concoction you can easily make at home. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into a bowl, then add baking soda to make a paste. Use an old toothbrush and scrub stained nails, then rinse. You can always repeat if your nails are badly stained.