It happens to the best of us: After months of wearing polish, you may be a little grossed out to find that your nails are, well, looking a little grody. Yellowing nails is pretty common however, and typically not serious (though, if you’re unsure, go see a doctor). Also, it’s a fairly easy problem to combat.
But, rather than turn to chemical remedies to make your natural nails sparkle again, check out these totally harmless, natural cures first. They’ll have your nails looking normal again in no time.
Beauty expert Elizabeth Garcia of Elizabeth’s Secret Beauty Bar recommends mixing a little baking soda with a little water—making a paste-like substance—and soaking your fingernails in it for a couple minutes. Just like baking soda can bleach away spots in your sink, this natural remedy can de-yellow those digits.
No baking soda handy? Try soaking your fingernails in hydrogen peroxide, Garcia says. But know that this remedy takes a bit longer: You’ll need to do it for five minutes several days in a row to see results.
For a truly natural remedy, cut open a lemon and stick your fingernails in it, Garcia advises. The acid in the fruit can naturally whiten your nails.
Tea Tree Oil
To keep nails looking healthy and clean in the long-term, use this natural antiseptic on your nails and nail beds, which can clear away yellowing (and even infection) after habitual use for two to three months. Applying this oil can even keep nails from yellowing in the first place.
Always remember to use a base coat before applying any nail polish, especially dark colors, Garcia says, so you can avoid nail discoloration. Try a chemical-free brand like Scotch Naturals, which makes all of its polishes—including top and base coat—without phthalates, parabens, solvents and acetone.