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How to make fingernails grow?

Tips to Make Your Nails Grow Faster

There is no scientifically proven method for making nails grow faster. But taking good care of your body through proper nutrition and using the following tips to strengthen your nails can help them grow strong and long over time.

1. Take biotin

Biotin is an important type of B vitamin that allows the body to turn food into energy. It’s also highly recommended as a supplement to help boost the strength of hair and nails.

Several human studies suggest that taking a biotin supplement daily can help strengthen nails. Some scientists say a dose of 2.5 milligrams of biotin daily can improve nail strength in just a few weeks. Biotin can be found naturally in:

  • brewer’s yeast
  • cooked eggs
  • sardines
  • nuts and nut butters
  • whole grains
  • soy and other beans
  • cauliflower
  • bananas
  • mushrooms

Shop for biotin supplements online.

2. Use nail hardeners (sparingly)

Nail softness makes nails more prone to breaking, which increases the need for nail regrowth. To prevent nails from breaking, experts normally recommend nail hardeners. These are substances that get painted onto nails like a polish and are later removed with nail polish remover.

This is helpful in strengthening nails and preventing breakage in the short-term. However, experts say prolonged use of nail hardeners can sometimes cause nails to become weaker and more prone to breakage.

Shop for nail hardener online.

3. Avoid glue-on nails and toxic polishes

Researchers have found that regular use of glue-on artificial nails can weaken real nails and make them more prone to breaking. The better option is to paint your nails with nail polishes that have little or no toxic chemicals, such as:

  • toluene
  • formaldehyde
  • dibutyl phthalate (DBP)

Look for water-based formulations that indicate they’re toxin-free. Some popular nontoxic nail polish brands include Acquarella and Suncoat.

4. Practice good grooming

Regular nail grooming can also help boost the strength of your nails, encouraging growth and reducing breakage. Some ways to keep your nails well-maintained include:

  • keeping your nails dry and clean, which keeps bacteria from growing beneath them
  • using sharp manicure scissors or clippers to trim your nails straight across, and then using them to round the tips of your nails into a soft curve
  • moisturizing your hands and nails with a lotion, making sure to rub it into your fingernails, especially at the base where the cuticles are located
  • avoiding nail biting or cutting your nails too short

Shop for manicure scissors and nail clippers online.

So, you’ve ditched the acrylics and taken a much-needed break from the gels, but your nails are still weak, brittle, flaky and parched.

We feel you, which is why we went on a mission to try out all the hacks in a bid to make our talons grow longer, stronger and healthier.

Here are 6 of the best tips and tricks you need to get on board with ASAP.

How To Grow Longer And Stronger Nails

1. Use A Cuticle Oil Daily

Ragged cuticles are one thing, but dry, brittle nails will only lead to splitting and chipping – not cool when you’ve spent an hour or so primping, perfecting and painting – so a daily slathering of cuticle oil to repair, nourish and moisturise is essential.

Dr. Bharti Rajput, nail expert and founder of Sole Body Soul, suggests combating nail dryness by looking out for a cuticle oil with an almond oil base.

Try…

– Nailberry Little Treasure Nourishing Cuticle Oil, £17

Healthy cuticles = healthy nails. This little bottle contains a large dose of sweet almond oil to keep nails flexible (read: not flimsy or bendy), making chips and breakage a thing of the past.

BUY

Other

– Nails Inc Superfood Repair Oil, £15

Hangnails and splits? They don’t stand a chance against this lightweight oil, filled to bursting with almond, rosehip and argan oils and vitamin A.

BUY

Selin AlemdarGetty Images

2. Consider Taking A Biotin Supplement

Studies show that brittle nails prone to peeling and breakage could be a sign of Biotin deficiency, so it might be a good idea to supplement your diet with an extra dose of the essential B vitamin.

– Perricone MD Total Skin & Body, £75

This all-rounder pack boasts multivitamins, minerals, biotin and Omega 3 capsules for stronger, healthier nails as well as normal skin and hair.

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– Holland & Barrett Biotin Tablets, £15.99

Teeny tiny and so easy to swallow, these 1000mcg biotin tablets contribute to thicker, tougher nails – we swear by them.

BUY

Ki PriceGetty Images

3. Invest In A ‘Soft’ Nail File

You might have heard that glass nail files are better for filing with, but while they’re pretty, longer-wearing and easy to clean, it pays to invest in a ‘soft’ file, according to Session Manicurist, Ami Streets. That means ditching the multi-packs.

‘To get the best finish from your filing, always opt for a soft file to prevent tearing or splitting your nails,’ she says. Her top picks?

– Orly Nail File 180 Grit, £1.95

‘This nail file is probably one of best I’ve used because of the durability and the way it gives the smoothest finish really fast,’ says Ami.

BUY

Other

– The Natural Nail Company 320 Grit For Soft Nails, £2.40

‘Pro products are always best and usually more hard wearing,’ says Ami. ‘I really like the Natural Nail Company because you can choose a file depending on whether your nails are soft or hard and there are even options for acrylics.’

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And you really need to nail (sorry not sorry) your filing technique. Back and forth see-saw motions will only cause the nail to splinter, so always file in one direction, using long, swift but gentle strokes.

Pro Tip: ‘Start from the outside edge and move into the centre,’ advises Ami. ‘This technique will give you a smooth finish and more control over the shape you’re trying to achieve.’

S. AlemdarGetty Images

4. Up Your Vitamin B9 Intake

Bumpy, ridged nail-bed completely ruining your mani? You might need to increase your vitamin B9 intake.

Otherwise known as Folic Acid, the vitamin repairs and multiplies the cells that constitute nails, which speeds up growth and promotes overall nail health. It has also been shown to boost strength and prevent peeling.

If you think you’re deficient, foods like beans and whole grains are rich in folic acid, but you can buy folic acid supplements over the counter, too.

– Holland & Barrett Folic Acid Tablets, £7.99

BUY

Rosdiana CiaravoloGetty Images

5. Swap Out Your Acetone-Packed Nail Polish Remover

When your manicure shows signs of chipping, it’s all too easy to pick up any old bottle of nail polish remover – guilty as charged.

But those containing high concentrations of acetone (the potent solvent that is responsible for dissolving nail polish quickly) is super-harsh on fragile nails and can dry them out almost instantly – cue peeling, splitting and those unsightly white, mottled marks.

Your best bet? To go acetone-free, but don’t underestimate them, because there are heaps of gentle yet effective formulas out there with the muscle to whip off remnants of polish in moments.

– Ciaté London Choc Pot Dark Chocolate, £6

This eliminates the need for stringy cotton balls, dissolves nail polish in seconds and smells like chocolate. Simply dunk your fingers in and twist.

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Ciate

– O.P.I Acetone Free Nail Polish Remover, £7.50

This formula may be acetone-free, but there’s a reason why experts swear by it. It lifts off even the darkest of shades without leaving behind stains.

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Other

– Bourjois Magic Nail Polish Remover, £4.99

The internal sponge is drenched in acetone-free remover, so one quick dip is all you need to erase all traces of polish.

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Other

6. Pick A Nail Strengthener Packed With Keratin

Nail strengtheners can be hit and miss, often making nails so hard that they end up completely breaking off – but that’s where keratin comes in.

Found naturally in nails, it’s responsible for making them flexible – but don’t let that word put you off. It doesn’t mean they’ll be thin, fragile or bendy, but fortified and much less likely to chip.

– CND Rescue RXx, £20.95

With keratin protein and jojoba oil, this delivers a double-pronged attack on weak, dry nails prone to splitting. After a few days, ours looked and felt a hell of a lot more healthy and hardy.

BUY

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Long, gorgeous nails aren’t necessarily made in a nail salon. In fact, there are plenty of reasons to avoid the professional mani/pedi altogether. Acrylics are pricey and can damage your nails, and the toxins from nail polish can do some scary things to your body, too.

As for growing out your nails au natural? That often seems like a pipe dream, especially for habitual nail biters and those with brittle nails. (These everyday habits are ruining your nails, too.) Thankfully, you don’t have to be blessed with flawless nails to have a manicure you’re proud of.

Yes, really! All you need is this simple trick from YouTube beauty blogger Ela Gale. Using only three ingredients, you can make your nails grow faster and considerably stronger in just a few weeks. And not only will this all-natural idea save your wallet, but it’s also super easy.

Here’s how it works: In two small bowls, mix together ½ cup of orange juice and one clove of crushed garlic. Then, soak your fingers in the mixture for 15 minutes. Pour out the bowls and fill them with ¼ cup of olive oil, soaking your fingers for another five to 10 minutes. Wash your hands to clear away the leftover residue. Once you get this simple, natural beauty trick down, here’s how to file your nails so they never peel or break again.

Voila! After doing this twice a week, you’ll start to see longer, stronger nails in no time. Just don’t forget the 14-step process to getting healthy and gorgeous nails while you’re at it.

  • What are the parts of a nail?
  • How do nails grow?
  • How to grow your nails faster
  • The takeaways

A set of natural-looking nails are something most women dream of…and today we’re going to help you make this dream a reality!

Learning how to grow your nails goes way beyond polishes and filing. The nail is a complex thing and in order for it to grow and strengthen, it must be cared for and nourished correctly.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally posted in August 2016 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in January 2019.

What are the parts of a nail?

Knowledge equals power and nails are no different. A better understanding of the different parts of your nail means a better understanding of what they require to grow and long and strong.

Your nail might look like one solid sheet, but it’s actually made up of several different parts and layers. The layers are made of a protein called Keratin, which is also a component of hair and skin. The half-moon at the base of your nail is called the Lunula, and the slither of white that lines the top of your nail is the free edge.

We’ll discuss the matrix and cuticle in more detail later on.

How do nails grow?

Nail growth isn’t as simple as you’d expect. The part of the nail visible to the human eye is actually dead. The section at the base of the nail, the matrix, is the only area which contains living cells.

Nails grow from the matrix, where new cells are produced. As new ones form, they push old ones along, increasing the length of our nail.

Once these living cells lose contact with the root, they die, which is why we feel no pain when cutting or trimming our nails.

Growing your nails requires learning how to take care of both the matrix and the nail bed.

How to grow your nails faster

You won’t get long, strong nails overnight!

There has been much speculation in the past over just what encourages our nails to grow at a set rate. Theories include:

  • Metabolism and blood flow – physician, William Bean, discovered his nail growth rate slowed significantly after the age of 50.
  • Injury – an Oxford dermatologist named Rodney Dawber saw a lesser rate of growth in a hand that had been injured in a rugby match, than the other, uninjured hand. This suggested that the prominent hand achieved a faster rate of growth, as the blood vessels were more stimulated.
  • Usage – how often we use our body parts could also explain why our fingernails grow faster than our toenails.

While more active fingers, a higher metabolism and avoiding injury may indeed contribute to longer nails, they’re not very reliable or realistic methods of growing yourself a set of fabulous fingernails. It’s time to find out what you can do to improve your nail health and get the nails you’ve always dreamed of.

Pick the right emery board

Regular filing is essential to keep nails strong, prevent tears, and promote growth.

An ideal emery board shouldn’t be too rough, as this can lead to small fissures and cracks that cause your nail to tear. Instead, go for something semi-smooth that can be used to gently and slowly file your nail down into the desired shape.

Avoid chemicals

Have you noticed that your nails look almost opaque after cleaning the house? The chemicals in the majority of cleaning products will have an adverse effect on the strength of your nails, causing dryness and damage – just as they would the skin.

Wearing a pair of rubber gloves is an easy way to prevent this and help you on your quest to grow long nails.

Don’t cut your cuticles

Regular maintenance is essential if you’re after fine looking fingernails.

Despite what you may have heard, cutting your cuticles is never a good idea.

The cuticle is the layer of skin that covers and protects the matrix (remember, this is where the new nail cells grow from) so it’s important to care for it properly and keep it intact.

By removing it completely, we leave the matrix exposed to germs and bacteria, which can lead to fungal infections – not exactly the modelesque manicure you had in mind!

These infections will lead to weak cells and dimish your hopes of growing long, strong nails.

We’re not done here yet! Keep learning how to get long nails with more great beauty tips below.

Moisturise dry cuticles

Instead of removing your cuticles, focus on caring for them. Without any TLC, they’ll become stiff and may also get stuck to the nail plate, preventing them from doing their job properly.

In order to keep your cuticles supple, matrix protected, and grow healthy new nail cells, you should moisturise your cuticles daily. They should also be gently pushed back on a regular basis – a process most easily carried out after you’ve showered and they have softened.

How to grow your nails faster with supplements

The key to natural nails is natural goodness!

We know that vitamins are good for us, but with regards to nail health, it’s a particular member of the vitamin B family that will really do wonders.

Biotin has been found to increase nail thickness in several studies. A thicker nail means less chance of breakages or splitting so your nails will stay longer…for longer.

If you’re worried you’re not getting enough, why not try taking a daily supplement of 2.5 mg? It’ll help your hair grow too! You can pick tablets up at most health stores and online too.

Don’t use your nails as tools

Are you guilty of turning to your nails when you need to scratch off a stubborn sticker or remove a stuck object?

While your nails may feel strong, the delicate layers are easily damaged! Treating them gently will prevent splitting and flaking and mean you don’t have to get those clippers out.

File your nails correctly

Avoid damaging your nails.

Remember, your nails are made up of very thin layers, which means they must be treated delicately – that goes for filing too.

Save the sawing back and forth for your woodwork – your nail file should be used in one direction only, with only a small amount of pressure applied to ensure even, gentle filing.

Keep your nails as dry as possible

After a long, hot soak in the bath, you’ll notice that your nails are softer and more flexible. This is OK every now and then, but prolonged or regular exposure to water will weaken your nails and contribute to splitting.

When they do become soft, stay away from arduous tasks for a while until they have regained their prior strength.

Treat hangnails with care

We’ve all been there: a little hangnail we think will tear away easily ends up taking half of our nail off with it, leaving it half the size it was before. Not only does this process shorten your nail, but it will damage the delicate layers it’s composed of too.

We know it can be tempting to pull these annoying tears straight off, but you’ll do much more damage than good in the process.

If you’re committed to getting long nails, be sure to carry a nail file in your handbag at all times, and you’ll never have to deal with the mess – or pain – of a torn hangnail again.

Avoid nail polish

They may look pretty, but they won’t do nails any good if overused!

There’s quite a lot of controversy regarding whether a layer of protective nail varnish is beneficial or detrimental to nail health.

We know it looks pretty but don’t go overboard with glamming up your nails. The chemicals in polish and nail varnish remover don’t do nails any good, especially if they’re already brittle.

Learn to nourish and look after your nails correctly, and you’ll find they look just as lovely au-natural.

How to grow your nails fast with food

It may be last but it’s certainly not least. Like most things beauty, diet is probably the biggest contributing factor when it comes to nail growth.

We can’t stress enough how important a varied, nutritious diet is to overall nail health. Even if you slack off on your nail maintenance, a healthy diet will always provide the building bricks to start back strong.

Some of the most important nutrients for nail growth and health include:

  • Protein – keratin, the tough, protective material our nails are made of is a protein, which is why eating enough protein is so important to nail growth. Ensure you get the recommended daily allowance of 0.8g per kilogram of body weight.
  • Fruit and vegetables – fresh produce contains many essential nutrients, including many vitamins and minerals.
  • Magnesium – pumpkin seeds (sigh) and dark chocolate (wahoo!) serve as all-natural anti-stress solutions, preventing things like ridges from appearing on your nail plate.
  • Seafood – prawns and other shellfish contains heaps of zinc, which is essential in the biological production of the protein which forms and maintains nails.
  • Biotin – Remember that biotin we were talking about earlier? Well, it can be found in one of our favourite breakfast foods – eggs.

The takeaways

Eggs contain the magic Biotin vitamin that does wonders for our nails.

The most important things to bear in mind with regards to growing long, strong nails is that they are just as much a part of you as any other body part.

Just as your teeth will rot if you have a poor diet and don’t brush them, your nails will grow weak and grow less if they are not cared for.

If you’re really determined to get gorgeous nails, nourish your body and your nails will be nourished too. Once they lengthen, look after them – it really is that simple!

Q&A

How much do your nails grow in a week?

The average nail grows around 2-3mm a month (so around 0.6mm a week) however, some people find their nails growing at a much faster or slower rate.

Is Vaseline good for nails?

It is thought petroleum jelly such as Vaseline could help benefit the nails by preventing moisture loss and nourishing cuticles, helping them to grow faster.

Does toothpaste help the nail to grow?

There is no scientific evidence to show that toothpaste can make your nails grow faster. However, some people claim when scrubbed onto nails, it whitens them to improve their appearance.

I hope my tips help you get the long strong nails you’ve always dreamed of! Do you have any tips and tricks that work for your own nails

Now, don’t let that freak you out too much, because Dr. Adigun also happens to be a big fan of gel manicures and the good they can do for her patients with nail conditions. To combat the negative affects of the UV radiation, she recommends that “consumers have an easy, thoroughly protective garment that either they bring with them to the nail salon or that nail salons consider providing for their consumers”; that way, people can enjoy their gel manicure while still protecting their skin!

It’s also imperative that the polish is removed correctly. Improper removal is the leading cause of the damage that gives gel manicures such a bad rap. Don’t try to peel off the polish yourself! To properly take off the polish, Shields suggested, “First break the topcoat layer, which is done by very gently buffing the top layer of polish. Next, you’ll wrap each finger with an acetone-soaked cotton wrap, then use a foil to make sure the cotton is pressed against the nail. Never, never drill, pick, or soak off the polish. Allow for the acetone-soaked cotton to gently turn the polish brittle so it flakes off like wax in less than 15 minutes.”

5. Patience Is a Virtue

Keep in mind that growing strong nails is a long process that requires plenty of patience. Your hands aren’t going to become perfect overnight. It takes time for your nails to respond to your regimen of maintaining a healthy diet and handling them with caution. Chances are, your nails are still going to break along the way, even with all the attention and effort you give them (I know mine did!). If this happens, there’s a chance that a quick repair at a nail salon can salvage it. If it’s too far gone, try to swallow your inevitable frustration and simply begin again. Everyone’s nails grow and heal at their own pace. As long as you listen to and respond to what your nails ask of you, there’s no doubt you’ll eventually get the nails you’ve always wanted.

Image Source: Roya Backlund

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