We tend to think that all we need to have a great summer is surf, sand, and sunshine. But knowing how to protect your hands and nails from the sun will make the summer even better. Sand-ravaged polish and sun-dried skin shouldn’t dampen a great time.

To make the most of the season, offer clients summer maintenance advice that goes beyond sunscreen, and provide the products they need for proper home care. Here are some tips to pass along.

File It Away

In the summer, when your clients’ nails will be exposed to water more often, it’s important to seal their edges to prevent breakage and peeling when the nails and skin expand in water. Peeling is especially frustrating, because it ruins both the nails and any polish on top.

Use a file that is 240 grit or higher to seal the edges of natural nails; using lower-grit files may lead to more peeling. Give your client the right file after their service or as part of a package offering to encourage them to keep their nails filed between appointments — and as they splash around this summer.

Coat the Nails

Nail cells actually receive everything they need when they’re created in the matrix. So by the time nail cells are visible, they no longer need things like oxygen from your body. To protect the nail cells until they complete their life cycle at the free edge of the nail, coat them with a protective layer.

Be sure to help your client choose the best nail coating for their activities and natural nail condition. Recommend liquid and powder, some added length and flexibility with gel, two-week color and protection with gel polish or simply a seven-day color to shield their nails from the elements.

Protect the Perimeter

The skin around the nails is a protective barrier, guarding the matrix from damage and bacteria so that a healthy nail can grow. It’s tempting to trim, nip or chew that skin, but doing so can cause the skin to regrow in a more calloused form as it tries to protect itself and the nail bed.

Some education and home care can keep that skin smooth and healthy. Recommend a daily micro exfoliator that can be rubbed into the skin and left on. Daily use will produce the best results, and clients will love having healthy, unbroken, smooth skin.

Condition for Keratin

Hair conditioner is generally a must-have, since it helps develop the protein keratin that keeps your hair strong and healthy. This summer, remind your clients that nails are made of keratin, too, and they need the same kind of conditioning to remain strong.

Encourage your clients to apply a quality cuticle oil that delivers conditioning benefits two to three times a day. When applied routinely, the right oil can even help waterproof the nails and improve nail flexibility.

Survive the Sand

Part of your client consultation is learning their expectations. If a client plans to visit a sandy area, suggest a gel polish, since regular polish is prone to chip in the sand.

If your client’s natural nails are fairly soft and weak, recommend an overlay of liquid and powder to keep the color vivid despite the deluge of sand and water. For the client with normal to hard nails, an overlay of gel will help protect them and make them more flexible, decreasing the chances of the dreaded broken nail on summer vacation.

Keep It Smooth

Sand is a natural exfoliator, so it can dry out the hands and nails. To help your client’s hands stay soft this summer, suggest a lotion. For clients with very dry heels or even dry knuckles, suggest a foot cream designed for dry cracked heels. In fact, encourage them to end each day with a bedtime beauty regimen of exfoliating, oiling and moisturizing their hands and nails.

If you’re wondering how to protect your hands and nails from the sun, these tips can help. Encourage your clients to take good care of their nails to avoid breakage as they frolic by the beach. Between your expert advice and a good home care regimen, your clients will be basking in the sunshine with fabulous nails this summer.