As you can see, my nail at the right is normal with long nail bed, while the others are truly messed up. This is my fault, because I accidentally cut them too short. This has been going on for nearly a year now, and it makes me really sad. I really loved my long nails, but is there anything I can do to make them long again? Thanks a lot.
Here's my best advice for getting (and keeping) some length:
1. NO CUTICLE CUTTING, PLEASE!
Whatever you do (or whatever your manicurist does), DO NOT cut your cuticles!
You see, our cuticles are a very important barrier that stops yucky bacteria, germs and fungus (ew!) from getting into the nail bed. Guess what happens when you snip, snip, snip them away? That barrier is dunzo and your fingernails just became the entrance to Germchella. The result could be irritation, inflammation and even infection—all of which could slow down nail growth!
As if those things weren’t bad enough, once you cut your cuticles, they can grow back thicker and tougher. That's because your body recognizes that something’s gone (terribly) wrong, and is trying to protect you by re-growing your cuticles, and then some. So you enter a vicious, never-ending cycle of cutting off your cuticles because they keep growing back ugly—because you keep cutting them off!
The bottom line: don’t be shy to tell your manicurist to lay off the cuticle cutter. Seriously.
And if you’re an OCCC (obsessive compulsive cuticle-cutter) yourself, then STOP! Your cuticles just need some TLC in the form of a moisturizing oil and an orange wood stick. Massage the oil into them every night before bed, and push them back with the stick every few days. Your cuticles will thank you.
2. STOP FILING BACK AND FORTH
One direction is the way to go—and I'm not talking about the band! You may not know this, but filing your nails back and forth does more harm than good. When you file in all kinds of directions, you actually cause teeny tiny breaks in your nails, which may be why they can’t grow past your fingertips without chipping or cracking.
To up your chances of growing nails that are long and strong, try your best to file your nails in one direction only. It’s going to feel weird and take twice as long, but it’s the best thing you could do for your nails. Promise.
Now you just need a cute nail file:
3. BE CAREFUL, WILL YOU?
The number one comment I usually get regarding my nails are “How do you get them so long?” followed by “I could never grow my nails out.”
Trust me, if you knew me at 17, you’d know that my nails were never long or strong. (In high school, I even let my nail polish chip completely off my nails because I ran out of remover. Cringe!) My nails were always short, brittle and absolutely terrible… until I really started taking care of them.
That means I became actively conscious of how I used my nails, and I still am today. Your nails are not tools, so don’t go around opening soda cans with them. Don't do anything with your nails that you could easily be doing with your fingertips (so, type with the pads of your fingertips, not your nails).
I swear, as soon as I realized how I used (and abused!) my nails, I became more cautious of them, and things started looking up. They didn’t magically grow overnight, but it was a step in the right direction.
4. GO ROUND, NOT SQUARE
True story: I used to loathe round nails. Seriously, I couldn’t stand them. And now look at me, with my rounded-off, almond nails!
What happened? I noticed that square nails were a major hassle to keep long. A corner would always break, crack or chip off every few weeks, forcing me to file the whole lot down again. But when I rounded off my nails into the almond shape that they are today, it meant no corners, and that meant fewer breaks.
So if you’re having a hard time growing out square nails, I totally recommend giving a rounder shape a shot. It might take some getting used to, but you’ll be able to grow them way longer with less breakage. It worked for me!
5. KEEP ‘EM PAINTED
If your lifestyle permits you to have painted nails at all times, do it.
I almost never have naked nails, and it’s 100 percent part of the reason why they grow long.
Think about it: there’s base coat, two or more coats of coloured polish, and then a top coat on your nails. That’s at least four extra layers serving as protection to your nails.
In my opinion, having polish on your nails keeps them stronger and free from breaks.
If you want to grow long, strong nails, start by breaking bad habits, such as biting your nails or wearing acrylics and gels. Get the right vitamins, such as biotin, folic acid, vitamin A, and vitamin C. Lastly, make sure that you manicure properly. File your nails properly and take care of your cuticles. Consider applying strengthening treatments.
Are you trying to grow your nails? Have you tried any of these tips? What has helped you the most?
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