close-up flatlay of nail care products laying on yop of a rose-gold fur rug

It's time to put away the masks and admit that I, too, have a board on Pinterest called "Nail Goals." For many reasons, many of us can't seem to get anywhere near the nail length of our dreams. Our claws seem to break, crack and peel at the most unsuited moments! Luckily, with age and nail trial and error comes experience! Meet the ultimate nail care post that will help you on your nail growth journey. Here you'll find everything you ever wanted to know about nail care, nail growth, and manicures, as well as some useful nail care tips that will help you grow your nails long and strong. 
Disclaimer: Please note that some of the following tips may not be suitable for your skin type or specific skin condition. I'm not a medical professional. All beauty advice is taken from online sources and my own experience. Consult your dermatologist before trying any new ingredients, products, or treatments.

How to Grown Long Natural Nails?

Trying to grow your natural nails, but they keep breaking, snapping, and layering off? But, to come up with an effective solution, it is crucial to know and understand the main reasons which cause your nails to be fragile. Let's take a quick look at some of the most common nail troubles.

• Onychomycosis or fungal nail infections is another common reason for fragile nails. In some cases, fungal infections may cause nail discolorations, cracking, and even separation of the nail from the nail bed. Let's don't imagine this, but instead, visit a dermatologist, if you feel like you might have it.

• You might have an annoying habit of biting your nails. According to Psychology Today, onychophagia or nail biting is very common in teenagers and adults. Most research estimate around 20 to 30% of the world's population are nail-biters. Long-term nail damage from biting is highly uncommon, but not entirely impossible. Therefore, if you want to grow long and healthy nails, you'll need to work on this habit.

• Genetics is another common reason behind weak fingernails. If your close relatives and parents experience the same nail issues as you, this may be genetic. Unfortunately, there is no cure for the gene that causes our nails to break.

• Constant usage of harmful chemicals like cleaning products, hair bleach, or industrial solvents without special protection may be extra damaging to the skin and nails. It is always important to use special protective gloves.

• Various health conditions like psoriasis, diabetes, and anemia can be the cause of nail problems. It is best to ask a specialist's advice to know for sure and receive adequate treatment.

close-up flatlay of nail care products laying on yop of a rose-gold fur rug

How to Make My Nails Grow Faster?

It is important to understand that there are no magical potions, treatments, or vitamins that will grow your natural nails quickly. On average, our fingernails grow 3.5 millimeters per month and you can't quicken this process. However, a few simple nail care tips will protect your natural nails while you are trying to grow them.

- Moisturize the nails

In Hannah Baxter's article for Coveteur Dr. Dana Stern (dermatologist and nail expert) stated that brittle nails tend to break, so to avoid damage it is important to moisturize the nail plates and cuticle. Moisturizing and nourishing nail care products will make your nails more supple, preventing damage.

- Trim the damage

Unfortunately, mechanical damage can happen to the healthiest and the strongest fingernails. No one is 100% safe from it. If you were unlucky to break or peel off a part of your nail, it is best to file down the damaged area. Don't worry, your nails will grow back in a few weeks.

- Protect the surface

A coat of clear nail tops is a very simple way to protect your nails. If you are ready to go further, apply a few coats of glitter nail polish. Think and rough glitter particles are sturdy enough to protect your nails from minor damage.

Gel nails are another popular manicure method that will protect your nails. Gel nail polish is more sturdy than regular polish. It lasts longer on the nails, allowing you to grow nails without damaging them. Nevertheless, this isn't a panacea for all nail troubles. Gel nail polish, press-on fake nails, and even regular nail polish may damage the nails. 

Another thing to remember: just like hair, fingernails are made of keratin (a type of protein), which is highly hydrophilic. It means that keratin absorbs the water when you wash your hands or after the shower. The nails become bendy and more prone to damage in this state.

- Keep a healthy diet

Even your diet can determine the speed of nail growth, so keep eating healthy to grow your nails strong! Wondering what to eat to have healthy nails? Usually, a nutrient-rich skin care diet works just as well for the nails. 

• Calcium and iron, which you can find in spinach, kale, and other dark leaves, for strength;

• Salmon is rich in fatty acids and will keep your nails shiny and flexible;

• Vitamin B6 and Vitamin E that you consume with eggs, dairy products, almond, and vegetable oils are good for overall nail and bone health.

Why 'Yellow' Nail Tips Don't Matter

Another frequent issue that bothers nail care lovers is the yellowish tint of the nail tips. White nail tips seem to be yet another nail goal everyone craves to achieve. Certainly, discoloration of the nail and yellow tint, in particular, can be a sign of fungal infection. If you worry about the unnatural-looking yellow color of your nails, you should visit dermatologists. A few simple tests will determine if you have any issues with the health of your fingernails.

Although, there are a few other ordinary things that turn your white nail tips yellow. For example, do you cook food colorful food without gloves? Carrots, oranges, different juices, spices, and sauces can easily stain your nails. In this case, lemon juice or vinegar can help you remove the yellow tint, making your nails white again. Love nail art? Brightly-colored nail polishes contribute to this cause turning white nail tips yellow. A layer of base coat should reduce the staining effect.

Sometimes, the yellowish tint of nails and teeth is genetic, and there is nothing wrong with that. In the end, yellow nail tips don't really matter. As long as your fingernails are healthy and you are happy with them. Cristine from the Simply Nailogical channel even made a whole nail care video, demanding equal treatment for yellow nails. I can't disagree with her opinion!

close-up flatlay of nail care products laying on yop of a rose-gold fur rug

The Ultimate Nail Care Routine for Long and Healthy Nails

Now that we know and understand the reasons that cause weak nails and how to protect and grow them, let's build a basic beauty nail care, which you can improve and personalize according to the needs of your nails.

  • Step 1: Remove your old nail polish

Every beauty nail care routine begins with this essential step. Applying nail care products and new nail art is impossible if your nails are covered in layers of old nail polish. Acetone is undoubtedly the most popular nail polish removal method. Thankfully, there are a bunch of non-acetone removers that will effectively remove the old nail polish, keeping your nails moisturized. I like using Born Pretty nail wipes* for this step. They remove old nail polish and help clean nail stamping plates and stampers with ease.

  • Step 2: Take care of your cuticle

The cuticle is a thin, almost transparent layer of skin, growing at the root of your nails. This skin consists of dead cells, so removing or pushing it back doesn't cause any pain or damage. However, only the dead edge of the cuticle that covers part of the nail and interferes with the application of nail polish should be removed.

There are a few ways to remove the dead nail cuticle. You can use a pair of sharp cuticle nippers and carefully cut off the edge or a liquid or cream cuticle remover to 'dissolve' the dead skin. Nail care tools like a cuticle pusher or orange stick will help you during the process.

Why do my cuticles grow so fast? This is one of the most popular questions, especially among nail-biters. Your body tries to protect your nails from damage by covering them with more skin. So the more you bite your nails and the skin around them, the more cuticles grow.

  • Step 3: Trim your nails

Nail trimming is a peculiar nail care question. To trim, or not to trim? Well, reducing the length of your nails is necessary, particularly if they are damaged or have uneven lengths. But, what trimming method should you use? Most of us would reach out for the stainless steel nail trimmer and get rid of the length in one painless cut. However, your natural nails may snap lower than the length you aimed for, throwing your nail growth a few weeks back! Now you are at the beginning of your nail growth journey again!

Scissors are the second most popular alternative to a nail trimmer. Still, they can cause the same trouble. So, what nail trimming method to choose? I would opt for a nail file. Sure, filling your nails down takes longer than cutting them off. However, a good nail file allows you to control the process, slowly reducing and shaping the tip of your nail. Pick a 100/180 grid nail file* on a sturdy base that works best with natural nails. Move slowly, but surely! 

close-up flatlay of nail care products laying on yop of a rose-gold fur rug

  • Step 4: Buff

Buffing your nails is not a mandatory step in a beauty nail care routine. If your nails are weak, buffing may only cause further nail damage. However, some manicures demand a super-smooth nail surface. That's when nail buffing comes into the picture. 

Make sure to buff gently and softly, slowly moving the buff on top of your nail. I like to use a nail buffer sponge by Born Pretty* to smooth the surface of my nails. A high-quality nail tool is just as important as the technique. Buffing will even out any imperfections on the surface, including courses and layering.

  • Step 5: Nourish 

Nourishing your cuticle and nails is just as important for their strength, as eating healthy or trimming off the damaged nail tips. In the article mentioned above, dermatologist Dr. Dana Stern mentions that dehydrated cuticles can detach from the skin and cause nail infections. It is the most susceptible during the colder months of the year when the skin feels drier.

The best nail care products, which nourish and moisturize your cuticle and nails, aren't always the most expensive ones. You can find affordable and working nail care products in your closest drugstore. Even your kitchen cabinet can hide some of the most popular nail care products like lime and olive oil. I like to apply a few drops of nail oil from a pen applicator. It moisturizes my nails, cuticles, and the skin around them. Plus, it smells fabulous!

  • Step 6: Manicure

Now that your fingernails are trimmed, the cuticle is removed, and the skin is nourished, it is time to give your nails a little makeover. I prefer manicuring my nails myself and coating them with regular nail polish. You can use gel nail polish, press-on nails, or get your nails professionally done.

The only thing I wouldn't recommend, especially if you have fragile nails, is leaving them completely naked. A few coats of clear top or a layer of see-through nude polish will protect the surface of your nails, allowing them to grow undamaged. 

  • Step 7: Repeat

Beauty nail care, just like hair or skin care is all about regular repeating of the steps. If you finally build a nail care that perfectly works for you and helps you to keep your nails healthy and strong, it is best to stick to it and thoroughly follow it. Of course, it is nice to be trying new nail products and treatments, but the most basic stuff usually works the best!

close-up flatlay of nail care products laying on yop of a rose-gold fur rug

Final Thoughts...

Having long and healthy natural nails is a beauty goal that anyone can achieve. A thorough, personalized beauty nail care routine is a good start on the road to healthy and long natural nails. A healthy diet and the care of a dermatologist will also help you along the way. Take your time and don't let minor nail problems and breakages discourage you on the way. You can always start your nail growth journey again. Just make sure you've got a solid backup!

Where to read about nail care?

1. The New Harvard Guide to Women's Health by Harvard University Press.
2. Nail Health in Women by Jessica K. Reineckea and Molly A. Hinshaw.
3. Cosmetic Dermatology Products and Procedures by Zoe Diana Draelos.

Lots of love,