Grow Long Nails
Edited by Kathy McGraw
I love long nails. I always have since I was a little girl and saw a woman with bright red nails that were so long that they curved around the circumference of an enormous brandy snifter. Of course, nails that long are pretty impractical, but I like to keep mine at a moderate length. If you are like me and love long nails, but you have problems growing yours out, I am going to share with you some information I have gathered over the years that has helped me to grow mine.
I am not a nail technician nor a dermatologist. Some of the facts that I give in this article are scientifically proven while some are based on my personal experience. I will try to be very clear when I am pointing out facts based on evidence and facts based on anecdotal experience, but in no case should you take what I say as medical advice or otherwise.
Growing Strong Nails
While nail growth is fixed at that half to one-inch growth rate per year and can never grow faster than that, there are some things that you can do to make sure that your nails grow at your optimal rate. To do this, you have to focus on keeping the nail matrix and the skin around the nail, the eponychium, as healthy as you can.
- 1Keep your cuticles and eponychium moisturized. The things we do in daily life, such as washing our hands, can dry out our cuticles and make them less effective at protecting the all-important nail matrix. Weather changes can cause them to dry out as well, particularly in the winter.Advertisement
- Dab a little cuticle oil, coconut oil, or even chapstick all around your nails and massage it into the skin. Try and do this at least once a day, particularly after doing the dishes or washing your hands. Lately, I have been using coconut oil, and it's been working well for me.
- Drink plenty of water. Drinking enough water keeps your entire body hydrated, including your nail matrices.
- 2Check with your doctor if you have really brittle and easily breakable nails. You could be deficient in certain vitamins, but you may also have a condition such as iron-deficiency anemia or an underactive thyroid which can cause problem nails. Addressing this condition will fix your nail problems.Advertisement
- 3Try biotin supplements. There have been some studies that show a correlation between biotin and having healthier nails and hair, but according to some scientists, the correlation is weak, and they say that more studies are needed. However, it would be hard to take too much biotin, so taking a small supplement can't hurt, and might do some good.
- 4Get a manicure regularly. Regular manicures not only keep your nails looking their best, but they also keep your nails healthy. If money is tight, consider learning how to give yourself a manicure at home.
- 5Tap your nails on hard surfaces. I have found that my nails have grown stronger since I started regularly tapping them on hard surfaces. Even just typing a lot seems to have made my nails less prone to breaking and chipping. There is no scientific evidence to back this claim up; it's just been my personal experience.
How To Do an At Home Manicure
Here's a simple way to do your own nails at home. Keep in mind that I am not a nail technician; everything that I am about to show you how to do I have learned online.
- 1Start by removing your old nail polish. Use cotton balls for the best absorbency and try and stick with non-acetone nail polish removers as they are less drying on the nail.Advertisement
- 2Wash your hands. This will get all of the nail polish remover residues off your nails.
- 3Push back your cuticles. Apply a cuticle softener all over your nail plate and wait a few seconds. Then using an orangewood stick or another cuticle tool gently scrapes off the excess cuticle. You should feel some resistance against your tool as you scrape, and when you pull away from your tool, there should be some white residue coming away from your nail. Make sure that you do not cut your eponychium.
- 4Wash your hands. This washes away the cuticle softener and any remaining cuticle residue.
- 5File and buff your nails into your desired shape. More on that later.
- 6Apply nail polish if you like. You will find that when your nail bed has been properly prepared, your polish should last you a lot longer before chipping or peeling away.
There are many nail shapes to choose from, but I am going to concentrate on two of my favorites which look awesome on long nails.
The stiletto nail gets its name from the spiky heels of the same name. They look best on longer nails, but even shorter nails can be filed into the requisite points.
- 1Place your nail file against the one side of your nail and begin filing at a slant. Only file in one direction; don't use a see-saw motion because that can damage your natural nail. Sweep your nail file around the tip as you file.
Filing your nail into an almond shape is very similar to filing your nail into a stiletto shape, although you can choose to leave a less pointy tip.
- 1Place your nail file against the one side of your nail and begin filing at a slant. Only file in one direction; don't use a see-saw motion because that can damage your natural nail. Sweep your nail file around the tip as you file. If you want a rounder tip, keep your slant shallow and use more force when you are sweeping around the tip.
- 2Do the same thing for the other side of your nail. You may have to file one side for a little while and then switch to the other side to keep things symmetrical.
- 3If you are having trouble filing both sides of your nail evenly, try using some nail polish to paint a thin guideline down the center of your nail from the tip to each corner on either side.
- 4Repeat the above steps for all of your nails. Remember to keep checking for symmetry as you go, and be sure to take your time.
- 1The skin around the nail bed is called the eponychium. It is not the cuticle and should never be cut.
- 2The cuticle covers the upper portion of the top of the nail plate and grows out with the nail. The cuticle is mostly invisible and may extend over the entire nail plate.
- 3Nails grow at the rate of a half inch to an inch per year.
- 4The proximal nail fold is the pocket that contains the nail plate, cuticle, and nail matrix.
- 5The nail plate (nail) is made up of keratin and grows from the nail matrix, which is under the nail plate, under the proximal nail fold.
- 6The nail plate is dead tissue once it grows out from the nail matrix.
- Never peel or scrape off your nail polish
- Don't over buff. Once a week is enough
- Avoid nail polishes with toluene or formaldehyde. They are damaging to the nail plate
- Avoid using your nails as tools