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Sunday, 18 December 2011

How to Turn Weak, Split Nails into Long, Healthy Nails

While growing up, I spent many years biting my nails. Looking back on it, I think it was more so out of habit than anything else. I didn’t have the excuse of anxiety; it was simply a matter of motivation. During the later years of high school, I can remember looking with envy at my friends’ long, beautiful, white-tipped nails. I was lucky in the sense that I never really bit them that badly. I knew a girl who would end up all the way down to her skin! Once I reached university, I found the motivation to grow my nails and care for them. Generally, they have white-tips and healthy skin around them, and it wasn’t that hard to achieve, once you know what you’re doing. Here are my tips for growing long nails:

If you spent a long time biting your nails as a child, you need to be aware that your nails are naturally weak. They will start to seem fairly long and you will be very excited, and then they will break. Without fail. They will break. It’s awful, but it’s just what happens. Even now, if I’m not careful, mine will still break, and I haven’t bitten them for years. 
For this reason, you must always wear nail polish. People might tell you that you should let your nails breathe (even though they’re dead?), and that it’s bad to continually paint them. Ultimately, it’s a matter of having them long, or letting them breathe. This is the absolute number one rule to growing your nails. 

There are two reasons this works.

Wearing nail polish helps give strength to your nails. It provides a support, leaving them much less vulnerable to damage. If I left my nails clear, I would only have to wait a couple days before I’d be starting to try and grow them again.

Wearing nail polish makes you less likely to bite them. Chipped nail polish never looks nice. Also, you are generally biting your nails because it gives you a satisfaction (even if this is unconscious). If you replace this satisfaction (biting your nails) with bad fingernails and having to repaint them every single time you chip them (keep nail polish on you at all times), it shouldn’t take too long until you unconsciously prefer good nails.

Here is a tip for those who just can’t stop biting, or for those who aren’t allowed to wear nail polish. Find a terrible tasting nail polish remover. I know they exist from the number of times I have accidently tasted my finger after giving myself my (usually) daily manicure. Optimally, you should choose one that specifically says it ‘strengthens’ or ‘moisturises’. Moisturises might be better considering you’re going to be putting it everywhere. Each morning after you have finished getting ready and you’ve had your breakfast, put some nail polish remover onto a cotton pad. Wipe it over your finger tips and all around the finger nail area. If you’re not wearing nail polish, put it on your nail as well. Anywhere you bite, it should go. If your nails and skin are really damaged, this could potentially sting, so be careful and logical if you try this. As long as the nail polish remover truly tastes awful, it won’t be long until your nails start to get long enough for you to appreciate them (and hopefully stop biting them, considering it takes three weeks to break a habit).  

Avoid getting acrylics (fake nails). They look great, but once they fall off your nails are left incredibly thin and vulnerable. Acrylics are best for those whose nails are already strong.

Once they have started to grow, you need to look after them. This can be completely new to those of you who have spent their life biting their nails, or having their nails break every time they reach a moderate length. Ensuring that each of your nails are of equal length dramatically reduces the chance of breaking one, for obvious reasons. Try to buff and shine them at least a couple times a week, especially if they are looking unhealthy or begin to split. 

If one of your nails does break, you should never bite or pull it off. You should always file it down. For this reason, I leave nail files in my bag and in my car. If you bite or pull it off, you could potentially put yourself back on the road to old habits, and you risk making it more vulnerable. 
Finally, you need patience. Your nails will not grow over night. I find that I can grow my nails to having fairly long white-tips (assuming no breakages) takes me a couple weeks. I am sure that some people will find that it takes them much longer. Just give it time. Each day that you keep this up, they are growing longer and longer. I can assure you that once you grow your nails to a nice length and see them shining with health, you will never go back.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

these are just great tips!
I bite my nails all the time, grew them out wonderfully in the summer.. they looked amazing. Then the stress started and my nails look atrocious