When it comes to strong, healthy nails and hair, the saying 'beauty comes from within' is an appropriate adage.
From eating a balanced, nutritious diet to ensuring we stay well hydrated, these factors play a pivotal role in keeping our bodies nourished and our locks in good condition.
In addition to a healthy lifestyle, you may wish to support your hair and nails by taking a daily supplement of vitamins and minerals. According to a recent study, nearly a quarter of us (24 per cent) are taking vitamins more now than we were pre-Covid-19.
However, where to start? There are so many vitamins out there - how do you know which ones are right for you?
Boots has designed, in partnership with Vitl, a vitamin selector tool to help you find what's best suited for your needs. It asks a few questions, then sends you your personalised recommended vitamins. Find out more here.
The clever Boots vitamin selector tool will help you work out the right supplements for you
If healthy hair and nails are what you're striving for, here are nine tips to help you reach those beauty goals, starting now.
Eat a vitamin-rich balanced diet
While genetic factors appear to play a role in the thickness and strength of your hair and nails, the food you consume can also have an impact.
Vitamins and minerals are important for normal bodily functions, which includes the growth and function of cells. When there is a deficiency, it can contribute to hair loss.
Eating a vitamin-rich diet will help you on the road to having healthy hair and nails
Ensuring you eat a well-balanced, healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, proteins and fibre should mean you are getting all the specific nutrients, vitamins and minerals you need for healthy hair, nails and skin.
Try a vitamin supplement
If you feel like you're not getting enough vitamins and minerals from your diet, a supplement such as Hairburst Chewable Hair Vitamins could help to safeguard your intake.
Available for £20 (for a 30 day supply) at Boots, these tasty, two-a-day strawberry and blackcurrant flavoured pastilles include nutrients which can help to maintain healthy hair.
If you feel like you're not getting enough vitamins and minerals from your diet, a supplement such as Hairburst Chewable Hair Vitamins could help to safeguard your intake
Along with vitamins A, B5, B6, B12, C, D and E, Hairburst Chewable Hair Vitamins contain biotin, selenium and zinc, which contribute to the maintenance of normal hair.
Another yummy option - also available at Boots - is Sugarbearhair Women's Multi 60 Vegan Gummies (£28 for 60). These delicious, berry-flavoured chewable vitamins are formulated with omega-3, 16 micronutrients and vegan-sourced amino acids.
As well as containing vitamins B12, C, D2 and E, the Sugarbearhair gummies are designed with folate, a form of vitamin B9.
Our bodies are made up of between 60 and 70 per cent water, and with summer and spells of warm weather (hopefully) on the horizon, it's more important than ever to keep hydrated.
Every cell, tissue and organ in our bodies needs water to work properly. Water also helps to rid our systems of waste and toxins through urination, perspiration and bowel movements.
Water helps to regulate our circulatory systems, which in turn helps to lubricate our nails and hair follicles and maintain a healthy scalp. Studies have also found a strong link between drinking more water and having healthier-looking skin.
A good target is to drink between six and eight glasses of water a day.
Protect your hair from heat aggressors
Many of us have been styling our hair less over the past year due to lockdown, and our locks have likely benefitted from the break from straighteners, tongs and hairdryers.
As the restrictions continue to ease and we're able to socialise more, going back to our old routines could take its toll on your treasured tresses. Make sure to use a heat protection spray and/or serum when styling. It's also worth investing in one with a sun protection filter to ward off damaging UVA and UVB rays that can penetrate the hair shaft and cause dulling and breakage.
Our bodies need fat - and no, we're not talking about the kind you get in doughnuts.
Essential Omega-3 fats are often found in oily fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines, and have various health benefits.
Most of us should aim to include more fish in our diet, especially oily fish, according to the NHS.
Zinc is an essential micronutrient which plays a number of important roles within the body.
This includes helping metabolic needs and contributing to the maintenance of normal hair.
Zinc also enables proteins in the body - including in the nails - to grow and stay strong.
You can usually get enough zinc from your diet; it's found in vegetables like spinach, mushrooms, broccoli, kale and even garlic.
To support the normal health and appearance of hair, nails and skin, you can supplement your intake with Vitabiotics Perfectil Original Triple Active, priced at just £6.50 (30 tablets) at Boots.
As well as zinc and selenium, which also contributes to the maintenance of normal hair and nails, these tablets from the UK's no 1 beauty supplement brand* contain riboflavin (vitamin B2) and biotin which help us sustain normal skin.
To support the normal health and appearance of hair, nails and skin, you can supplement your intake with Vitabiotics Perfectil Original Triple Active, priced at just £6.50 (30 tablets) at Boots
Embrace mindfulness to relax and de-stress
Life's everyday stresses can not only make you feel anxious at times, but may also have a physical impact.
Heavy stress makes it harder for your body to absorb the nutrients required for healthy hair, skin and nails. Additionally, when you're feeling stressed, your body burns through those nutrients quicker, leaving a deficit. Your body also produces the hormone cortisol when you're stressed, which can negatively affect the function and cycle of your hair follicles.
You also may find yourself developing nervous habits such as biting your nails, which can be damaging to the nail bed.
Mindfulness, which means stopping to pay more attention to the world around you and how you feel in the present moment, can help to improve your mental wellbeing.
Try to carve out some time in your day to practise - there are plenty of apps out there which offer simple mindfulness exercises.
Breathing exercises can also help to reduce the feeling of stress and anxiety; try breathing in through your nose as deep into your belly as is comfortable, then let the breath flow out through your mouth. It may help to count to five during each inhale and exhale. Continue doing this for several minutes.
Don't neglect exercise!
Getting regular exercise is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle.
It helps to maintain good circulation, which allows robust blood flow to the scalp, which is important for delivering the nutrients to your hair follicles.
Exercise also helps you feel good; when we're physically active our bodies release endorphins - known as the happy hormone - which can boost your sense of wellbeing.
Iron is an important mineral for a number of bodily functions; it helps to make red blood cells which carry oxygen around our body - all the way to the roots of our hair.
Most of us get all the iron we need from eating a varied, balanced diet. If you're not getting enough iron, you may find you feel tired, your nails might become more brittle and your hair may also feel dry and dull.
Foods such as lean red meat, leafy greens, eggs, brown rice, beans (such as red kidney beans, edamame beans and chickpeas), nuts, dried fruit or fortified breakfast cereals are good sources of the essential nutrient.
If you're worried you aren't getting enough iron, consider taking Boots Skin, Hair & Nails 30 Capsules.
Priced at just £6 for a month's supply, the multivitamin mineral food supplement contains iron as well as Evening Primrose Oil, which is rich in omega chain fatty acids and contains Cysteine, an amino acid found in beta-keratin, the main protein in nails, skin, and hair and important for making collagen.
Collagen is a natural component of the skin and helps it to preserve its firmness and elasticity. It consists of protein molecules made up of amino acids.
Collagen is a good source of proline, an amino acid used to make keratin, a structural protein found in our skin, hair and nails.
Eating a balanced diet which has enough protein, vitamins and minerals and omega-3 fats will ensure your body produces an adequate amount of collagen. If you wish to supplement your diet, consider trying the Gold Collagen Forte 10 Day Programme, priced at £40 at Boots.
This is an extra strength version of Pure Gold Collagen and contains added vitamins, evening primrose oil and copper which contributes to normal skin and hair pigmentation.
To see the full range of beauty wellness vitamins and supplements on offer at Boots, head down to your local store or visit the Boots website.
 Mintel: Findings were based on research carried out among 1,978 British internet users 16 years and older, over July 2020.
 Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a balanced varied diet and healthy lifestyle. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, taking prescription medication or under medical supervision it is advisable to consult a GP prior to taking any supplements. Discontinue use and consult a GP if adverse reactions occur. Do not exceed stated dose. This product contains vitamin A. Do not take if you are pregnant or likely to become pregnant except on the advice of a doctor or antenatal clinic. Do not exceed the stated dose.
 NHS Eatwell Guide
 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3746228/ and https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5315033/
*Perfectil is the UK's number one beauty supplement brand. Source: Nielsen GB ScanTrack Total Coverage.