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How to Whiten Dark Toenails

If you use nail varnish too frequently, you may notice your nails start to appear yellow and unhealthy. This is where a nail whitener can help! This post looks at various nail whitening techniques from home remedies to nail brightening products.

How to Whiten Dark Toenails

Yellow staining on the nail can be caused by dark nail polishes, using nail polish too often, or even a harsh acetone nail polish remover. A yellowish colour on the nail is not harmful and also very common. If you left your nails without nail polish, the stain will normally fade on its own.

There are, however, methods for whitening the nails quickly, which can be useful if you want to create a French manicure look, or apply clear nail polish over your natural nails. These quick ways to improve the appearance of your nails mean you don’t have to wait for stains to fade before creating new nail art.

How to Whiten Dark Toenails

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What Can Cause Your Toenails to Turn Dark

In this post I have looked at ways to whiten nails that have become stained or yellow from overuse of nail polish. There are, however, other reasons why your nails may appear yellow, such as if you have a fungal infection.

If you regularly go to nail bars or salons where the tools are not cleaned properly, fungal infections could easily spread between customers.

If your nail staining is caused by an infection, you may need to use an antifungal cream, instead of the whiteners recommended in this post. There is more information about this on the NHS website, and antifungal creams are available in most drugstores.

Nails can also become dark due to injuries of the nail bed (subungual hematoma). If this is the cause, it could take several months for the affected nail to heal.

There are also rare cases where yellow nails are a sign of more serious medical conditions, such as yellow nail syndrome. More details can be found in the following article: What Your Nails Say About Your Health.

Home Remedies to Whiten Nails

Before we look at what products you can buy to whiten your nails, there are some simple home remedies that are worth mentioning. Natural ingredients such as lemon juice help to remove stains, while at the same time killing harmful bacteria or fungus on the nail bed. Below are some tips on how to remove yellow stains using ingredients you may have in your kitchen.

Lemon Juice Nail Whitener

Acidic lemon juice helps to lighten any yellow discolouration on the nails, but be aware if you have small cuts around your nail beds, the lemon juice can cause stinging.

Lemon also has antibacterial and antifungal properties, so will help with any bacterial infection or fungal toenail infections.

To use lemon juice to whiten your nails, soak a cotton ball in lemon juice and leave it on the nail for 15 minutes. Then scrub the nail with an old toothbrush to help remove the stain. You could also squeeze the juice into a small bowl and let your fingers soak for 10 minutes.

White Vineger Nail Whitener

The acidity of white vinegar can help to remove stains from the nails, but ensure you are using white vinegar instead of any other colour.

Simply add two cups of white vinegar to a bowl of warm water and leave your nails to soak for 10 minutes. You may wish to use a nail brush to gently scrub the nail and help to remove the discolouration.

If you are making a foot soak with vinegar, you make wish to add a cup of epsom salt and some witch hazel, as these ingredients also help to reduce fungal infections as well as remove toenail discoloration.

Baking Soda Paste Nail Whitener

Create a baking soda paste by mixing baking soda with warm water in a small plastic bowl. Apply the paste to your nails and leave for 10 minutes before washing your hands with soap and water.

You could also add in some lemon juice and white vineger to make this home remedy more effective! If the discolouration extends to the edges of the nails, use a cotton swab to help lift away the stain.

Tea Tree Essential Oil Nail Whitener

If you have a fungal infection, tea tree oil is a great natural remedy. It is one of the best essential oils to use as a topical antifungal medication, as it helps to kill the fungus and prevent it from spreading.

You can buy tea tree oil from most health food stores, or online.

To use, add a few drops of tea tree oil to a cotton wool ball and apply it to the affected nails. Leave for 10 minutes before washing your hands with soap and water.

If you find the tea tree oil too strong, you can dilute it with a carrier oil such as olive oil or coconut oil.

10 Recommended Nail Whiteners

If you don’t want to use a home remedy, there are plenty of excellent nail whitening products available. I have hand picked the top ten recommended nail whiteners according to reviews.

1. essence Active Whitener

Buy from: Amazon | Wilko | Parfumdreams

essence Active Whitener

The essence Active Whitener works as a brightening base coat. It not only helps to remove stains, but also protects the nail from further discolouration from your next manicure. The formula contains lemon extract, and is free from harsh chemicals that could damage the nail, like acetone or alcohol.

This is a great nail whitener and base coat that helps to restore and protect the natural color of the nail. Apply it directly onto bare nails before your manicure, or use it alone to mask any yellow staining.

2. Eveline Cosmetics White Nails

Buy from: Amazon | OnBuy | Walmart | iHerb

Eveline Cosmetics White Nails

The Eveline Cosmetics Nail Whitener is a conditioner for the nails that helps to get rid of discolouration caused by either dryness or long term use of nail varnish. It contains UV filters and lemon extract which whiten the nail and protect the nail plate from turning yellow again.

After ten days dull, yellow nails are transformed and appear shiny and healthy. This product leaves the nails a milky white colour, and is good for use under glitter or dark nail polishes. It can also be used as a top coat to protect the nail, and prevent it from breaking.

3. Vitry Fizzing Nail Spa

Buy from: Amazon

Vitry Fizzing Nail Spa

These beads allow you to create a sparkling nail bath that helps to leave your nails healthy and dazzling white! Simply take 2-3 beads from the container and dissolve them in 100ml of warm water. Then put your fingers into the water for 5 minutes. You nails will be visibly whitened and your fingers will be thoroughly cleaned.

The beads contain lemon essential oil and tea tree essential oil to help clean and whiten the nails, as well as kill any bacteria or fungus. This nail bath is great for removing stubborn yellow stains, restoring nail color and improving nail health.

4. Mava-White Optical Nail Whitener

Buy from: Amazon | Nail Polish Direct | Perfumes Club

Mava-White Optical Nail Whitener

The Mava-White Optica Nail Whitener contains pigments that react to UV light, and helps to hide yellow stains on the nails. It’s a quick and convenient way to whiten the nails and give them a natural, healthy look.

This product can be used alone or as a base and top coat by applying a thin layer before or after nail polish. It enhances nail colour and gives it a radiant tint, as well as protects the nails from further discolouration.

5. Blulu 2 in 1 Nail Whitening Pencils

Buy from: Amazon

Blulu 2 in 1 Nail Whitening Pencils

The Blulu Nail Whitening Pencils have two uses: a cuticle pusher and a white nail pencil. If the rim of your nail has turned yellow you can use the pencil to create white nail tips. This gives the effect of making your nails look longer and healthier. The cuticle pusher can then be used to tidy up the cuticles.

The white pencil can be used as part of a French manicure to create beautiful pearly white tips. If you have wet nails, the nail whitener pencil becomes easier to spread and apply. Use the pencil on the tip of each nail to whiten any yellow marks and leave the nails looking brighter and healthier.

6. Herome Natural Nail Whitener Pink Glow

Buy from: Amazon

Herome Natural Nail Whitener Pink Glow

The Herome Natural Nail Whitener is a clear polish that helps to camouflage yellow stains, and make the nails appear whiter. It has a slight pink tint, so when applied to the surface of your nails, it will help to accentuate the natural pink colour of the nail.

This is a convenient product to keep as part of your nail care routine since it can serve as a base coat, top coat, or be used alone. Dull and discoloured nails are left looking shiny and healthy.

7. L’Oreal Resist and Shine Nail Whitening Corrector

Buy from: Amazon

L'Oreal Resist and Shine Nail Whitening Corrector

L’Oreal’s Resist & Shine White is a colour corrector to help mask yellow stains and leave you with healthy looking, white nails. Apply the polish from the base to the tip of your nails and leave to dry. You can then use a nail file and cuticle tools to tidy up the shape of the nail.

8. Trind Nail Brightener

Buy from: Trind

Trind Nail Brightener

The Trind Nail Brightener helps to hide discolouration and brighten dull nails. It can also be used as a top coat over nail polish, or acrylic nails to help intensify the colour, or as a base coat. The product has a slight pink tint and will not only whiten the nail but also accentuate the pink part of the nail as well. If you have dull or yellow nails this brightener will give you beautiful results.

9. ARTDECO Nail Whitener French Rose

Buy from: Amazon | Parfumdreams

ARTDECO Nail Whitener French Rose

The ARTDECO Nail Whitener is one of my favourite products for whitening and beautifying the nails! It comes in a pale rose colour which not only removes yellow stains but also leaves a transparent rose shimmer. Apply two coats for more of a French nails look.

10. Flexitol Nail Revitaliser Gel

Buy from: Amazon | Boots | Superdrug

Flexitol Nail Revitaliser Gel

The Flexitol Nail Revitaliser is a gel which you apply to the nails and leave to dry. It is designed to be used twice daily until the discolouration has disappeared (up to a maximum of 7 weeks). The gel helps to improve the condition and health of the nails and keep them in tip-top shape. It softens and whitens yellow, thickened nails on both the hands and feet.

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This Post Was All About How to Whiten Dark Toenails

Thank you for reading my post about how to whiten dark toenails. If you have tried any of these products or tips to whiten your nails, please leave me a comment below and let me know how you got on.

If you have toenail fungus, or an infection you could also try natural remedies such as apple cider vinegar mixed with a few drops of tea tree oil. Apple cider vinegar and tea tree oil are both excellent at home antifungal treatments, and work well on infected toenails.


Sunday 7th of November 2021

Really interesting! I love that you gave home remedy ideas as well as those you can buy. I have terrible nails due to health issues, they are weak and always break.

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