Scrolling through instagram and feeling envious of all the gorgeous long nailed manicures? Never been able to grow your nails longer than stubs? Well, worry not. With these tips, you can also have healthy, long and strong nails to flaunt off or just to gaze at. Let’s jump right to it then…
1. Do Not Buff
What's one tool you always find in abundance while looking for nail care items? Nail buffers! This might lead you to believe that buffing must be an important and normal part of nail care routines, but that couldn’t be further from the #truth. In fact, healthy nails don’t need any buffing at all. #Buffing removes the top oily layer of the nail and makes it rough which is required for getting your nails done (extensions or gel polish). This isn’t required for normal grooming, but is detrimental to your nails if you do it on the regular. It can weaken your nails and make them thin and brittle. You might like doing it for the temporary shine the polishing step gives, but it is just not worth it. Just apply a glossy top coat instead. Maybe you #buff your nails to get rid of nail ridges? Well in that case, applying a ridge filler base coat is better or be ever so gentle to just buff the ridges (if they are too deep that is) and don’t damage your nails.
So in conclusion, don’t buff your nails and leave the buffing to the professionals.
2. Don’t Soak Your Nails
Ever step out of a long steamy shower and notice how soft and translucent your nails have gotten? That’s what #soaking your nails does to them. The #water gets in between the layers of your nails and makes them swell up. This makes them easy to bend and tear. It might also cause the layers to flake if your nails are weak to begin with. So what to do? I’m not recommending avoiding water as that is impossible, but you can take some precautions. Take extra care of your nails when they are soft and weak after showers till they dry up. Wear rubber gloves while doing activities which involve your hands being wet for long periods of time. Bare nails are more at risk when wet.
Now you might wonder what about when salons and spas soak your nails during mani-pedis? There is a lot of debate going on about that, but it is all right once in a while. You will mostly get your nails dried and painted immediately afterwards and not be working them after a manicure anyways, so they are protected. So water isn’t the enemy, post soak carelessness is.
3. File, Don’t Clip
As your nails grow, the edges become rough and uneven with cracks too minuscule to see. #Filing them regularly even and smoothes the edge which prevents breaking and hence, gives the nails the chance to grow longer. You might feel cutting the nails with nail #clippers would be quicker, which albeit technically true, creates uneven and sharp edges which are more prone to snags and breaking. Use nail clippers only when you want to cut a big portion of your nails, followed by filing to seal the edge.
Although it sounds counterintuitive, you actually need to file down your nails regularly to grow them longer. Once a week, file your nails using a glass nail file. File in one direction. File as little as possible, and preferably give your nails a round shape as square nails are more prone to breaking because there is more free edge to tug into things and break.
4. Base Coats Are A Must
Although it might seem like a cumbersome extra step, applying a #basecoat is very important. Not only does it make your nail polish go on smoother and last longer, it can have additional properties to enhance your nails. There are tons of base coats in the market which cater to different problems, but the one we are concerned with is the nail lengthening one. Get one’s which have nail healing and protecting qualities, as they will nourish and prevent nail breaks to let your nails have the opportunity to grow.
Even if you are not wearing any nail polish, make it a habit to wear a base coat so that it can work its magic.
5. No Bare Nails
Never keep your nails bare. You must have heard that you should let your nails breathe. First of all, “nails don't breathe”. They don't have pores nor are they living tissue. The correct term is to give them ‘a break’, but that is true only in some cases of nail extensions and gel polish, where the nails get weaker with each buffing session (which is completely preventable with the right nail tech). Leaving the nails bare leaves them exposed to natural elements which fastens the wear and tear and leads to nail breaks and tears. Having a layer of nail paint or base coat minimises the damage from water and other abrasive things. Use #5-free non-toxic nail paints so that the nails and the nail bed isn't damaged.
If you need a break from colour or you don’t like loud shades, just opt for barely there nude ones or a base coat which nourishes them.
6. Nails Are Not Tools
It can be very tempting to scratch an itch with your nails, or someone might ask you to open a lid because ‘it's easier with nails’; but say NO! Nails, even though strong, are not strong enough to be used as tools. The force required to open cans or lids can break your nails or cause cracks which further develop into breaks and your nails don’t get a chance to grow.
Use the tips of your fingers if need be, or better yet, use a spoon or an actual tool to open things.
7. Don’t Bleach or Whiten
Nails have turned yellow? They don’t look pretty while bare? Heavily #stained because of regular nail painting? Well just paint them over, but do not bleach or whiten them! #Yellow nails generally do not mean unhealthy or dirty nails. The most probable cause is use of dark nail polishes which leave stains and/or regular painting of nails. You must have seen a million remedies to get rid of them online, ranging from lemons to bleach. These ‘remedies’ might work but they leave your nails weaker by taking off the top protective oils and layers of the nail. Rubbing lemons, #bleach, toothpaste, baking soda and buffing; doesn’t get rid of the stain, but gets rid of the top layer of the nail which was stained. This leaves your nail bed thinner and weaker. Rather than getting rid of yellow nails, avoid them. If you don't wear nail polish and your nails are still yellow or stained it could be from your food (turmeric, etc.) or an underlying health condition for which you should consult a healthcare professional.
So yellow nails are just a part and parcel of the fabulous nail art life and shouldn’t be a point of contention or worry.
8. Invest in Cuticle Oil
You know how moisturiser is important for your skin? The same applies to your nails. Nails lose #moisture and become dry which makes them more prone to flaking and tearing. Applying cuticle oil daily on the cuticles and underneath the nail moisturises the layers without making them soft like water does. The #oils nourish the ‘germinal matrix’ which aids in the formation of stronger healthier nails which eventually lead to long nails that last. Maybe #cuticle oils at leading stores are too expensive to be used daily so you can diy some for yourself. You can use jojoba, almond or any non-sticky oil. Mix in a little vitamin E oil for some additional boost.
If you are worried about having sticky fingers, just apply it before going to bed. You’ll notice the change within a week!
9. Don’t Bite Your Nails
Maybe you bite your nails when stressed or bored, or maybe it is a nervous tick. There are a lot of solutions you can find in stores which you can apply to your nails to deter biting. If your nail beds have become too short and damaged because of long term biting, get extensions done on them for a while so that the nail bed gets a chance to heal and grow. Also, #extensions deter biting because they are too tough to be bitten off. Once your nails get to a decent size, use nail oils and nail biting deterrents to encourage nail growth.
This might seem obvious, but nail biting can be a very hard habit to beat.
10. Healthy Diet
No matter what you do from the outside, if you aren’t healthy on the inside, it will show up on your hair, skin and nails. Having a well balanced #diet will lead to overall improvement in your body which will show up in your nails too. If you are unable to maintain an healthy diet because of dietary restrictions, there are a lot of supplements available in the market, but consult a healthcare professional first.
A healthy diet will heal you from the inside out and let your nails grow to their maximum potential.
Having long nails doesn’t happen overnight, but takes time and care. Following these tips, you can take optimal care of your nails making them healthier and stronger which is the key to grow long nails. Check out the blog for more nail art inspiration and tips and hacks. Take care and flaunt those gorgeous nails.
P.S.- None of the images used are owned by us unless watermarked with @nails_by_sujata.