The trend right now leans toward short, polished and slightly rounded nails – a great, low-maintenance windfall for ladies with healthy nails whose only concern is which polish color is the next big thing. But if your nails are constantly breaking or your fingers look a little pudgy when your nails are too short, it’s more likely you turn to French solar tips or acrylics for pretty nail days.
Give the fake nails up, ladies! They’re expensive and out of fashion. Instead, grow your nails longer and stronger with these tips:
- STOP BITING THEM! I’m so guilty of this, but I’m trying to quit. Seriously, biting your nails causes hangnails and damage to the nail bed. To quit biting your nails, keep a pack of gum around and chew a piece whenever you get nibbly.
- Keep ’em polished. Keeping polish on your nails (even just a low maintenance clear polish) protects them from the elements and lets them grow longer without breaking in the meantime. If you have trouble finding time to polish your nails, just keep your clear coat on your bedside table and do it right before bed. You’ll stay still so it dries even, plus it’s a soothing, Zen-like activity that’ll calm you down for getting to sleep.
- File early and often. Nails naturally grow unevenly, so filing’s a necessity for keeping hangnails at bay. Go buy a bunch of cheap nail files from the drugstore and stash them everywhere: your nightstand, car, purse, bathroom, and any junk drawers.
- Don’t dry them out and don’t get “dishpan nails”. Common chemical inclusions in nail products can be very drying, which just like the rest of your body, is bad for your nails. Avoid products with toluene and DBP, two of the biggest offenders. Wear gloves when doing any household chores, not just dishes. Cleaning products are especially bad for nails, since most contain drying chemicals.
- Trim your cuticles. Overgrown cuticles actually suffocate nail growth. Cuticle trimmers come in nearly every personal grooming set; it’s that thing that looks like a tuning fork that you never use. Manicure sets often also have a blunt tool for pushing cuticles back off of the nail bed, but you can do this yourself with a towel right after you get out of the shower, so they’re still soft.
- Nip nicks in the bud. The second you spot a hangnail, nick in the polish or pointy edge, fix it. These little imperfections attract more damage.
- Moisturize cuticles. Cuticle oil like Nail Tek Renew will keep the skin beside the sides of your nails soft and smooth.
- Quit getting ANY fake nails. Don’t listen to the “solar is better” propaganda at the nail salon – both acrylic and solar treatments rip up your nail bed by filing it down and creating weak nails for weeks to come.
- Get supersoft. Yes, softer IS stronger. Spread moisturizer over the entire nail area, put on some soft fuzzy spa gloves (or socks over your hands!) and wear them as long as you can. Heck, go to sleep with them on if you can stand it!
- Take your vitamins! Making sure you’re not deficient in the number of vitamins that are great for hair, skin and nails. Multivitamins are a great solution to this, but make sure you read how much of the recommended daily dosage they include for each vitamin. You could still be deficient if your diet isn’t enough to make up the difference.