I’ve always been so envious of those of you with naturally beautiful, long, strong nails. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been trying to sort out my nails by doing at-home acrylic sets (yes, I can actually do acrylic nails!) or trying out what’s new in the market of strengtheners and hardeners. But it’s just in my genes, regardless of what I do, to have a small nail bed. But I’m going to share with you some tips that I’ve learned along the way (and many years) that truly do help in growing your nails or actually damage your nails!
1. Limit your manicures: Do NOT indulge in a professional manicure with polish too much. You may think that manicures are helping your nails get healthier and stronger, but it’s actually the opposite! If you tend to get too many mani’s and pedi’s, they will start to weaken your nails. This is because the process dehydrates and thins the nail plate, leading to breakage, excessive thinning, peeling, discoloration, painful nail beds, and even infections.
2. Biotin Supplements: Biotin, also known as vitamin B7 or nicknamed vitamin H, is intended for the use of thickening hair, strengthening nails, and beautifying skin. We tend to get biotin in our food already, such as organ meats, avocados, eggs, legumes, berries, fish, and mushrooms. But to increase our beautifying process, taking supplements may help.
3. Stay Away From Strengtheners: Many nail strengtheners and nail hardeners are not clinically tested and can actually do more harm than good. Unless you have some seriously damaged nails, it is not advised to used either, because they won’t do any good for you.
4. Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements: Omega-3 fatty acids are those kinds of fats you do NOT want to stop taking! These fats are derived from fish oil, but they have some major benefits to them that you don’t want to miss out on. Not only does your body need these fats, but it’ll prevent many health problems. You’ll see the health benefits down to the very tips of your fingers!
5. Don’t Cut Your Cuticles: Do NOT cut your cuticles! Your cuticles are like weeds – you cut them and they just grow back more and even harder! Cutting them also make you vulnerable to infection. But here’s what you can do with them. Soak them in olive oil and warm water for about 10 minutes. Then, using a soft cloth or your fingers, gently push back your cuticles. Do this 2-3 times a week and you’ll see a massive change!
6. Moisturize: Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Using lotion, nail oils, or essential oils, it’s so important to moisturize. Some especially great essential oils for the nails and cuticles are olive oil, flaxseed oil, vitamin E oil, or even a combination of vitamin E oil or jojoba oil and tea tree oil – with any of these oils, massage them generously into the cuticle and nail bed for several minutes before you go to bed.
7. Avoid Rough Emery Board: Emery boards come in so many different grit grades – in other words, some may be way too harsh for your natural nails than others. It’s important to find the grit grade that suits your nail type so you aren’t too rough on your nails. If you have an emery board that is too rough for your nail type, it’ll end up breaking your nail. Another thing, one file in one direction!
8. Soaking: Soaking your nails can help with anything from discoloration to infections to strengthening. There are so many recipes out there, it just depends on the results that you want. The antioxidants in green tea make for a great soak for weak and brittle nails with discoloration (soak 10-15 minutes, twice weekly). Tea tree oil has antiseptic properties in it, and when mixed with warm water, it is a wonderful soak for nail infections (3 minutes, several times a week). Apple cider vinegar has nutritious properties in it that promote nail health and growth, and when mixed equally with warm water it can be used as a soak (5-10 minutes, daily).
9. Avoid Acetone-Based Polish Removers: It has been tried and tested time and again by dermatologists that acetone is harmful to the nail. Acetone is a thinning agent. It has properties in it that are damaging, especially for weak and brittle nails! Try and avoid it at all costs!
I hope you enjoy these!
Alia Brooke xx