I’m often asked what I do to care for my nails and how to grow your nails, so here it is!
They key to growing your nails has less to do with the growing part and EVERYTHING to do with reducing weakness and breakage.
In my experience, actively attempting to grow your nails can be difficult and time consuming. I have tried various ‘quick fix’ methods and I can’t really say that any of them were that successful. However, by reducing splits, tears, weakness and breakages; nails can reach their full potential.
Wear nail varnish!
Wearing nail varnish reinforces the nail, making it more resilient and adds a waterproof layer, which reduces contact with water. Prolonged exposure to water weakens nails, which can cause peeling, splitting and/or brittle nails. So by taking this step you have increased protection and reduced dryness.
You don’t have to wear colours, just a good quality base coat will do. In my opinion, nails do not necessarily need a break from nail varnish, but they do need a break from nail colour.
Coloured nail varnish can contain pigments and other chemicals, which have the potential to stain and alter the flexibility of the nail. So I would advise taking a break every now and then. Even if its a day or two, go bare or wear a simple base coat.
Nails need to be protected, especially if you intend to grow your nails beyond a short length. Protection includes everything from keeping fiddly tasks to a minimum, to reducing excessive exposure to water. You don’t have be paranoid about it, but taking little steps such as these can help:
- Wear gloves when using or working with chemicals – which can dry and weaken nails.
- Avoid/take caution when doing tasks that could split or break nails. Again, don’t be overly worried about this, but take care when opening a can or lifting up loose edges etc
- To avoid peeling nails, make sure to seal the free edge (the horizontal edge of your nail) when filing them. Do this by filing in one direction only with the finest grade of a buffer.
This is somewhat linked to protection, but dry nails = weak nails = no nails. When dry, nails are prone to breakage, just like our hair! Keep nails hydrated by moisturising and limiting processes that dry out the nail:
- Reduce the amount of Acetone (the active ingredient in nail varnish remover) you use. Acetone is a drying chemical so be sure to rinse after use and/or switch to an Acetone free nail varnish remover
- Moisturise after washing hands to replenish moisture lost during the washing process
- Use a ‘sensitive’ handwash/soap. They are usually less drying than regular hand washes
- Make sure you moisturise your cuticles too, either when you’re moisturising your hands with a cream, or use a specific cuticle oil
The hard truth
When attempting to grow nails you have to be aware that there are biological and medical factors involved. Everyone has a different genetic makeup and therefore, some people’s nails will grow at a slower or faster rate than others.
The health of your nails (which is often indicated by length, texture and colour) is very much linked to your general health. Certain health conditions will affect how your nails grow.
In the absence of long-term health issues, one of the best things you can do for your nails is have a protein rich diet and meet the daily required intake of Vitamin A, C and D. Being healthy overall will have an extraordinarily positive effect on your nails!
In order to grow your nails: reduce breakage and the rest will follow!
Picture taken pre change of nail shape