Nail Growing Tips and Tricks

11 April, 2013

I was asked to share a few of my nail tips to help others who struggle with growing their nails the way I used to.  I am by no means an expert but I know that when you are searching for an answer it's nice to get any advice you can!  What I'm writing here is based purely on my experience with the products and tricks that I've tried, I hope that maybe you'll find something that can work for you too!

Taken from Google Images

Fighting the Urge

When I was younger my mum always put the 'No Bite' nail polish on, but it never helped.  If you are still trying to use that now I wish you luck because if you are a hardcore nail biter the bad taste isn't enough of a deterrent.  Keeping my nails looking pretty is the best defense for me.  I love having nice looking hands so by keeping them well groomed and painted I was less likely to bite them off.  I've read that it takes a month to form a pattern and three months to form a habit.  So stick with it!! Even if you fall back and bite your nails off after a few weeks try again, eventually you will break the bad habit and replace it with a good one!

Strengthening Your Nails

I have tried using all sorts of strengthening nail products but so far they don't work.  I still have yet to find a polish/top coat that actually makes my nails stronger, and I've tried quite a few ranging from OPI to Orly to Sally Hansen to Essie.  I am currently using the Essie 'Trillionails' Daily Nutritional Formula but only to use it up, not because I think it helps.  

The only thing I have found to as far as really getting stronger nails is Biotin.  I started taking just 250mcg way back in October and I stayed at that low dose for quite a while.  I noticed a difference within the first four weeks.  My nails were much stronger, I had less peeling and I think they were even growing faster! I am currently taking 3000mcg daily and though this is obviously a much higher dose I would say that my nails were just as strong taking a low dose (250-500mcg). I am mostly taking the Biotin for my hair, but the stronger nails were a bonus side-effect.  **Some people experience acne when they take Biotin so be cautious if you decide to use it**  I am taking the Nature's Bounty brand from Shopper's if you're interested.  If you use your nails as tools (picking at things, prying things open) this can be very damaging and can cause strong nails to weaken.  I try as much as I can to not use my nails to pick at tape, open cans or scratch things - including your nails! Picking at your nail polish is still picking, so don't do it!

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Cuticle Care

Thick hand cream is my best friend.  I keep some in my purse, beside my bed and around the house so that at any point I can moisturize my hands.  If I don't want to do my whole hand I often just quickly do only my cuticles. Keeping them well moisturized helps them stay healthy and less prone to hang nails and cracking.  I love the Sephora Body Butter (Mango scent!) and the Kings and Queen's hand cream (also Mango scent).  I have used cuticle cream from Burt's Bees and J.R.Watkins and mostly I just think it's extra smelly grease.  If you've ever used them you know what I mean, they leave your fingers so oily that you almost have to wash it off before you do anything.  Well if you're washing off the cream I can't imagine it's doing much for you!

I use a wooden orange stick to push back my cuticles and sometimes I trim them a little using 1/4 inch Revlon nail trimmers.  I know some people think trimming them causes the cuticle to grow back faster but this has not been my experience at all.  You do need to be very careful while trimming though that you don't cut too far and cause bleeding.  Trimming my cuticles has helped my nails appear much longer!  I have never used a cuticle remover cream but I would like to try one. (Leave your recommendations below!)  Having your cuticles pushed back instantly makes your nails look nicer, so get pushing ladies!

Shaping Your Nails

I stick to the basic shape that my nails grow naturally, for me this is a little more on the square side.  Always file in the same direction using even pressure with your strokes or you could damage your nail. I angle the nail file almost under the nail instead of directly on the end.   I never really clip my nails because I don't find they need it, filing once in a while will do the trick nicely.  I also file along the edges of my nails so that there are no rough edges to get caught on anything.

Painting Process

The following products I use because I feel they help with the longevity of my manicure. Prep - I use ASP Prep N' Clean Dehydrant once in a while and I don't know if this actually helps extend the polish wear but it claims to balance the pH of your nails which is a good thing.  I also buff my nails using a buffer once every two weeks.  Base Coat - CND Stickey is an absolute must have, if you can get your hands on a bottle do it, it will be a life saver!  Polish - I use many different brands, providing you apply them well most cheap polishes can look as good as expensive ones. Top Coat - Currently using Essie Trillionails but sometimes I skip the top coat all together. I discovered it was the Sally Hansen Triple Strong that made my polish bubble a few weeks back, not cool.  Quick Dry - OPI Drip Dry works the best.  Seche Vite shrank the polish and OPI Rapidry isn't as fast.
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Fixing Breaks and Splits

I use good old Krazy Glue when I get a nail split or peel.  Make sure your nail is clean and polish free and keep your other fingers away before applying the glue (getting your hands stuck together is not cool).  I always re-apply every other day to ensure the bond stays solid.

Polish Removal

I use only acetone-free polish remover because I feel it is better for my nails and it is also not as drying for my cuticles.  I use regular cotton balls when removing all of the nail polish.  When I'm finished painting my nails I use a trick from a Nail Polish blogger (I can't remember who, if it was you let me know!).  Take a skinny brush and dip in it polish remover and then wipe the excess from the edges of your nails.  It leaves you with a nice clean polish line and no extra on the edges of your fingers!

Another thing I do if I don't feel like taking the time for that it just wait until it's fully dry and then wet my hands enough that the polish scrapes right off. There you have it!  Good luck to anyone trying to grow their nails!