Looking to grow your nails long and keep them healthy? Read on!
Nail polish and nail art has only grown bigger, bolder, and more extravagant in recent years. As a nail hobbyist myself, over the years I’ve learned (both from experience and the nail community I’ve been lucky to be a part of) a few nailcare tips to ensure my nails are able to grow long and healthy.
First off, let’s quickly dispel the most eyeroll-inducing myth that I personally have had enough of. For the most part, if you wear nail polish frequently, yellowish nails are totally normal. Pigment stains your nail beds, so as long as the yellowing isn’t coming from where your nails grow, it’s just because the color stains. If you don’t like the look, either stop wearing polish altogether or always wear polish.
Second, let’s be very clear: everyone’s nails, health, and body chemistry are different. People have different nail lengths and shapes, growth rates, and reaction to polish or nailcare. What works for me may not work for you and vice versa. But if you’re really committed to growing long, healthy nails because you love getting manicures, then you should take care of them as well as you can. Here’s how!
USE NAIL OIL
@nailbetch Everyone asks how to grow out their nails – this is the 🔑❤️ #naturalnails #nailideas #diymanicure #nailinspo ♬ Untouchable (No) Sped Up – Remix – Xanemusic & NVBR & kevoxx
Nail oil, cuticle oil, cuticle balm—whatever you call it, it’s a holy grail. Hydrating and moisturizing your cuticles and nails is a tried-and-tested way to minimize dryness and breakage, and stimulate healthy nail growth. A couple of weeks after I started using cuticle oil, the sides of my nails no longer felt dry and tough, and I haven’t had a hangnail since. Whenever I stop using it, I would notice my nails and skin were peeling more often.
There are different formulas to nail oil—just choose which one works for you! You can buy or even make your own. The most important ingredient that many nail artists and enthusiasts swear by is jojoba oil, which is easily absorbed by your skin. Jojoba oil is also very similar to the natural oils our skin produces, and it has the ability to make skin super smooth and soft.
KNOW YOUR NAILS AND THEIR LIMITS
People think they can simply be the kind of people that can grow nails supremely long. Spoiler alert—and not to be cruel—but not all of us can grow our nails to certain lengths. Some people find that if they let their nails grow past a certain point, they’re more prone to breaking a nail or two. Experiment! Know which nail lengths and shapes consistently work for you, and while it’ll take some time and patience to figure out, it’s worth it for smooth nail sailing ahead.
DON’T USE YOUR NAILS AS TOOLS
We know—it’s so convenient to use your nails for everything, from popping open a soda can to prying something off. But as much as possible, use tools if you have long nails, since they can easily get caught on something and snap off. My worst nail break happened as I was haphazardly trying to pry off my phone case using my nails—my index finger nail snapped right at the nail bed and started bleeding. Would not recommend!
BE CAREFUL WITH YOUR CUTICLES
@ritalinknermd Never ever ever cut your cuticles | I liken cuticles on the nail plate to grout on the tiles in your bathtub. Trimming, pushing, and worst case completely cutting your cuticles compromises the distal nail matrix which is where your nail grows. When water, bacteria, fungus, and viruses can access your nail matrix, nail dystrophy begins. Keep your cuticles healthy and with time, your nail plate will be healthy as well. #nailplate #donttouchyourcuticles #rvlskincare #greenscreen @Rita V. Linkner, MD FAAD ♬ original sound – Rita V. Linkner, MD FAAD
So many people think it’s necessary to trim your cuticles, but it’s really not. In fact, they can be really damaging to your nails and increase your risk of infection. Instead, just gently scrape dead skin off your nail bed with cuticle remover and a cuticle pusher and keep those nails protected and healthy!
KEEP NAILS CLEAN AND DRY
Do you ever feel your nails become soft after a shower or after you wash the dishes? Given that your nails are very absorptive, too much water can actually weaken your nails. Does this mean you have to stop washing your hands? Of course not. Hygiene is still top priority—make sure your hands, nails, and the undersides of your nails are always clean and free of dirt. You can simply limit your exposure to water by wearing rubber dish gloves when washing the dishes and being extra careful with your hands when they’re wet.
NAIL POLISH AS PROTECTION
Contrary to popular belief, your nails don’t need a break from nail polish (unless of course, your nails are dry and damaged or you simply just want a break). If you enjoy the look of long nails, nail polish will be your best friend. A manicure protects your nail with layers of lacquer or gel, and keeps it from being brittle and easily damaged.
Photo in artwork courtesy of @jenialys.nailart on Instagram.