How to grow long and strong nails

Long nails
Long nails/ iStock

Ditch the fake nails and grow your own long and strong natural nails.

Have you always dreamed of having long, healthy and beautiful nails? Growing your own nails can be hard for some people. Sometimes your nails are soft, brittle and split easily. Giving your nails the correct care can help you achieve that long nail look without having to resort to fake nails.

Here are four things you need to stop doing if you are trying to grow strong and healthy nails.

Avoid bad nail habits
Bad habits can ruin your nails and hinder growth.

These habits include biting your nails, filing them the wrong way, and cutting cuticles.

Don’t keep nail polish on for too long
Leaving your nail polish on for too long, especially when it’s chipped, is a bad idea if you are trying to grow your nails.

“The danger with keeping your nail polish on too long is that the pigment in the nail polish can soak into the top few layers of the nail and dry it out,” foot specialist Joy Rowland, DPM, told Cleveland Clinic.

So, as soon as the nail polish gets chipped, it’s best to remove it.

Don’t use your nails as tools
Avoid doing activities that can bend or break your nails.

Scrapping glue, or unfastening a key ring are just some of the things that can damage your nails. Instead of using your nails to cut, scrape, or peel, use the correct tools.

Don’t cut your cuticles
“Your skin is your body’s largest organ and your cuticles are the end of the skin – they are meant to be there to act as a barrier for bacteria,” Deborah Lippmann, the founder of the eponymous luxury beauty line told Huff Post.

“You must go around the cuticle area several times to get a clean cuticle. Never cut all the way around the cuticle because that will cause the skin to become ragged and tear, opening the body to bacteria,” she added.

Here’s what you should be doing to promote nail growth.

Eat the right food
Lean poultry, fish, beef, pork, and vegetables that contain protein are great for helping nails grow.

Use chemical-free nail polish
According to nail expert Lynn Gray, you should avoid using nail polish that has formaldehyde (a preservative), toluene (a solvent), parabens (synthetic preservatives) and camphor (which gives a glossy finish and prevents chipping), which can damage your nails.

“Using polishes with nourishing ingredients, such as natural oils and vitamins, are more beneficial for nails and promote a good condition underneath gels and polish,” foot expert and Cult Beauty founder Margaret Dabbs told Telegraph.

Use a base coat
A base coat helps nails grow stronger. It also provides a barrier to protect your nails from chemicals inside your nail polish.

Wear gloves when cleaning or doing dishes
One of the best ways to protect your nails is to wear gloves when cleaning or washing dishes.

Doing the dishes or engaging in any other prolonged water exposure activity can also dry out your nails.

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Image courtesy of iStock/ Natkinzu