Luckily, I’ve never been a nail-biter, so I’ve never had to experience those bitten down, short stumpy nails. Not only do they look unattractive, it also makes growing your nails long and healthy again majorly difficult.
If you are a biter, or just have sluggish growing nails, you may find yourself jealous of all your friends who have gorgeous long and strong fingernails. For some reason, I’ve always managed to keep my nails looking good, and I get asked quite often if I have any secrets.
I didn’t think I had secrets, but maybe I do? I get that it must be really annoying when you’re trying to grow out your nails but they just don’t seem to grow! You wait and wait, but to no avail. Then, they chip and break, until you’re forced to trim them. And so, your efforts of growing them out have failed miserably once more.
So, my tips and tricks below are to help you get those talons growing long and strong. And remember: don’t give up! You haven’t tried everything just yet….
Keeping nails at a length that’s functional for your day-to-day life helps prevent breakage and tearing. But, when you file your nails, make sure you’re doing it correctly. Shaping your nails may seem like a mindless activity, but it can actually weaken and break your nails if you don’t do it correctly.
The best way is to use a fine-grit file, and start on the outside edge and pull towards the center—then continue to gently swipe across your nail in that one direction. Don’t saw the file back and forth, which creates too much friction and gives you frayed edges that catch and snag easily. Experts also recommend holding the file tilted underneath the tip, as this prevents over-filing by allowing you to see exactly what you are doing.
Always wear a base coat
This is super important for those who regularly wear polish everyday. Even if you don’t have time for a full manicure, applying a hydrating and strengthening base coat can prevent the nails from peeling and becoming weak. Apply before you paint, or even just alone.
You can find them now packed with ceramides and peptides to fortify nails and promote growth. One of my favourites is Nails Inc Nailkale Superfood Base Coat.
Don’t forget about your toes!
Remember that nail maintenance doesn’t just single out your hands – it’s all about the toes as well. Keeping your feet in socks and boots/trainers/closed toe shoes all day can mean they don’t get the sunlight or air they need, hence delivering yellow-ish nails prone to breakage.
It’s all well and good treating yourself to manicures, but consider pedicures equally. Your toe nails don’t get half as much love, and as the nails on your toes tend to be thicker, these can actually grow quite strong if you look after them. Look for the salons with good quality pedicure chairs and excellent staff, so they can advise a professional routine for your feet and your toe nails.
Maintain a balanced diet
Just as with your skin and hair, what you eat can also affect your nails. Making sure you consume protein can really help (you can get it from pork, broccoli, milk, and lentils), biotin (eggs, salmon, peanuts), zinc (green beans, shellfish, cashews) and iron (beef, spinach, kale) for better nails.
When I’ve looked into diets before to encourage stronger nails, I’ve found that those low in carbohydrates and high in fat (think: Atkins), are supposed to help. Also, as hard as it is, you might want to steer clear of the vending machine! They say that people tend to see an improvement in nail growth when following an organic, minimally processed diet.
This is one I find proven from my own experience. Every time I take a Skin, Hair & Nails supplement, my nails grow pretty much off the scale! They say that nails tend to show the first signs of a vitamin deficiency, so when you up your vitamin supplements, with zinc, biotin, vitamin A and C to name a few, you’ll notice the improvement.
Get regular manicures
As if you needed an excuse! Having professional manicures remove the rough edges, dry cuticles, and those flaky bits we tend to pick at and get caught on things. They really do help keep nails in the best condition. But remember to make sure it’s always a gentle manicure, as nails and cuticles are much more delicate than people realise.
Avoid Acrylic nails
Acrylic nails, in my opinion, look the best by far. But with everything good in life, they can be more damaging! Acrylic really does stick to your nails in a rock-hard way, so they can be really difficult to remove and cause damage to your natural nail when they do eventually come off.
So you have more awareness of what acrylic nails actually are, they are a combination of a liquid monomer and a powder polymer that creates a hard protective layer over your natural nails. The acrylics harden from exposure to air, and as they are so hard, the acrylics will gradually grow out with your nails, and you will need to return to the salon or a nail professional in order to “fill” in the space. Keep in mind, this usually requires soaking your nails in acetone for 10-15 minutes in order to fully remove.
Gel nails are a much healthier alternative if you want to minimise as much damage as possible to your natural nails…
Dry hands are a major problem when it comes to maintaining nail strength and health, and it’s one that often gets overlooked. Women don’t think that their nails and hands need to be treated like the skin on their face, but it wouldn’t occur to most women to wash their face and not apply a moisturiser, but they wash their hands over and over and don’t apply lotion.
Basically, for the healthiest hands and nails, you need to seal in moisture. Greasier products such as Vaseline are most effective because they really do seal in the moisture, but lighter creams also work wonders. Especially if you’ve had bad experiences with Acrylic, and have exposed your nails to too much acetone when removing.
In general, using a hand cream keeps your nails looking glossy and healthy, and helps them to retain as much moisture as possible. And need I say how good it is for your hands!
So there you go, just a few little tips I’ve found are potentially the reason I never seem to struggle with sluggish nail growth. I may not have the nicest hands in the world (they actually look wrinkly and old!) but they are super looked after…
If you have any extra tips, I’d love to hear them!