If you told me years ago that I would be sharing with you tips on how to grow your nails long and healthy, I wouldn’t believe it. I always thought that I wasn’t genetically blessed to have healthy nails, but I was wrong. I have learned on my example that it has nothing to do with genetics but unhealthy nail habits and nutrition. For many many years, I have been neglecting my nails by always covering them with gels and chemical nail polishes, so that they can appear well looked after. In August 2019, after I took off a thick layer of gel polish, my nails looked so damaged and weak that I decided to give them a well-deserved break and stop all the unhealthy manipulations with their appearance. In result, the transformation was amazing! And it only took about three months for my nails to grow out strong and healthy.
Down below, I am going to share with you what have I changed in my routine and what new habits I have adopted to grow my nails long naturally. Since I am writing this during the quarantine, and most of you are stuck safely at home, I thought it could be an excellent time for you to give some extra love to your nails and transform them into the nails of your dreams without any outside help.
First things first….
STOP WEARING ACRYLICS AND GELS
If you are going on a “healthy nails ” journey, then you will have to stop wearing toxic gel polishes and extensions. As much as it advertised to us by the salons, that gels are not damaging for our nails, you need to realise that it is not entirely true. For the gels to stay put well on your nail beds, the nail technician must prep them, which often means the excessive filing of the nail that can lead to damages and future abnormalities. Also, some nail technicians are not always following thorough instructions and safety protocols when applying several layers of acrylics or gel polishes, which may lead to your nails to suffocate underneath. And don’t forget about the fact that you need to soak your nail-beds in acetone to remove the layers, which dehydrates your nails and makes them more sensitive and prone to breakage.
I have avoided any nail polishes for at least three months to give some time for my nails to breath and recover. I have also done some research and find out what brands are the least toxic so that I can use them to pamper my nails in the future for socialising events. Now, when my nails are long and healthy, I am not looking for ways to cover them up all the time, because I am finally proud of how they look. So be patient and give your body some time to do the work.
While on this journey, I have discovered the brand of nail polishes “Nailberry,” which is vegan, cruelty and toxic-free. It’s breathable, lasts a long time and has a great variety of colours. You can do some research and find out which salons work with this brand so that you can use it too. It’s not an ad, just an honest review of a happy customer!
STOP OBSESSIVELY MANICURE YOUR NAILS
Did you know that you don’t need to cut out your cuticles every single week neatly? The women’s magazines are continually brainwashing us how we need to keep up with our manicure appointments, where in reality, most of us are perfectly capable of maintaining healthy nails at home. To keep your cuticles tidy and healthy, all you need to do it to use a little bit of olive oil and a cuticle pusher to push them back gently. You can use professional services to trim your cuticles if you feel like they are overgrowing the nail area, but always be very careful with this process, as cuticles are put there for a reason to protect your nails from infections and fungus. That is why the professionalism of a nail technician is highly essential.
Another factor that you should be paying your attention to is how you file your nails. Either it is you or your nail technician, you should always file your nails in ONE DIRECTION ONLY! When I see nail technicians chaotically filing nails back and forward it makes me cringe! It’s damaging and eventually causes nail peeling. Just use a side-to-centre motion, where you sweep the file over the tip of the nail in one direction, and then shape your nails as desired. This was one of the first rules I learnt in beauty school, so your trustful nail technician must know this too!
TIP: I have noticed that my nails were more durable if I had them in an oval shape. The oval shape is known to be one of the strongest shapes and looks very elegant, so you might want to consider it.
IMPROVE YOUR NUTRITION AND VITAMIN INTAKE
I think most of us take multivitamins or some supplements, but here I want to mention the essential vitamins and nutrients that you need to adopt into your diet for healthy nail growth.
Biotin is also known as Vitamin B7 or Vitamin H, and it should be first on your list of supplements for a healthy complexion. Biotin promotes the growth and the strength of nails, and you can consume it either through food or supplements. I have been taking one pill daily of 10,000 mcg of Biotin for about eight months now. My nails became visible firmer and grew out very fast. You can try to rely only on the food you eat to consume enough of this vitamin, but since most of the foods that contain Biotin are animal products and I eat plant-based, I prefer to take it in the form of a pill.
The easiest way to make sure you get all the vital B Vitamins for healthy skin and nails is to take them in the complex. I am currently taking a complex like that which includes Vitamins B3, B5, B6, B2, b1, B9 and B12. For healthy, strong nails, you need to make sure that you get enough of Vitamin B12 and B9 ( folate.) They both contribute to the development of red blood cells, healthy nail growth and help with the absorption of other vitamins and minerals.
Zinc is another critical supplement for healthy nails and overall complexion. I have been taking zinc as a part of my multivitamin pill, but you can also try it in a liquid form (zinc sulphate). Naturally, the human body doesn’t store zinc, that’s why you should also consider increasing your intake of legumes, seeds and nuts to make sure you get enough of it from your daily diet.
After I did some research, I have realised that I lacked Magnesium because my nails have developed vertical ridges over the last years. I have started taking Magnesium at the same time as Biotin, and have seen significant improvement in the quality of my nail beds since then. If you feel like you don’t need to take a whole separate supplement pill for it, then make sure you eat enough of dark green leafy vegetables, quinoa, nuts and beans. These foods are proven to be a rich source of Magnesium and can help you to maintain healthy skin and nails.
To make sure you have a balanced diet full of essential vitamins and minerals for healthy nails, include these foods into your diet as much as possible: hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, wild blueberries, avocados, bananas, lentils and chickpeas.
So you might ask, what can I do at home to protect and strengthen my nails?
APPLY STRENGTHENING TREATMENTS
There are a good variety of serums and creams on the market that you can use at home. It can be a moisturising cuticle cream, keratin or protective polish treatment. Just choose what suits your budget!
Below on the picture, you can see the exact three products I have been using lately. There are no specific instructions, and I have been using these whenever I have time. I like the look of simple shiny nails whenever I go out, so I have been using my strengthening nail polish not just as treatment, but as a tool to get that clean look.
ADOPT NEW HOME REMEDIES
One more thing you can do to nourish and hydrate your nails at home is to use oils. Coconut and olive oils are known for providing moisturising properties and can help to soften cuticles. Warm it up for 20 seconds and massage into your nails and cuticles before bed or before you perform a manicure. Coconut oil is also anti-fungal, which is an excellent choice if you are prone to nail infections.
If your nails grow long but snap easily, try jojoba oil. It can help to make your nails more flexible, so in some cases, your nails instead bend than snap.
WEAR GLOVES WHEN DOING CHORES
That’s what my mama always told me – wear gloves whenever you do the dishes or cleaning the house. Chemicals and excessive exposure to the tap water are not only damaging for your hands but to your nails also. Wear latex gloves with a protective lining when doing house chores to keep your nails safe.
Take care! X