Nail Stains: Get the Yellow Out With These Easy At-Home Solutions

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Stained nails are an embarrassment every manicure maven eventually faces. Badly mixed nail color, poorly cleaned claws, or simply painting too often can lead to yellowed nail beds and a sudden urge to sport gloves. Instead of doubling the damage by covering up with more polish, try one of these at-home solutions next time you’re caught yellow-handed.

LEMON JUICE

Just as lemon juice bleaches summer strands, the citrus fruit also lightens and brightens nail beds. Dab a few drops of fresh lemon juice onto stained nails and let set for several minutes. Then, buff the surface with a dry washcloth, and massage a few drops of olive oil for extra moisture.

PEROXIDE

Hydrogen peroxide does wonders for taking away yellow stains on nails thanks to its whitening properties (your hair bleach is full of the stuff). Mix one part peroxide with three parts water, then soak your nails in the solution for 10 minutes. Alternately, you can brush nail stains away with an old toothbrush and a squirt of peroxide-based toothpaste. Peroxide can dehydrate your nails, so don’t skimp on the hand lotion after.

ESSENTIAL OIL

If you find yourself suffering from fungus-related nail stains and discoloration, lavender or tea tree oil may provide some relief. Apply the pure oil to your nail beds twice a day using an eye dropper. You'll calm your nails back to good health, and the aromatherapy benefits are an added perk.

BASE COAT

We know you’re sitting here thinking “If I’d applied base coat in the first place, I wouldn’t be reading this,” but that’s just the point we’re trying to make. From now on, be diligent about applying a trustworthy base coat to keep future nail stains at bay. It may sound like an extra step, but it will save you the hassle after your next manicure chips away.