Nails are easy to grow out. For a healthy individual, it should take no more than two to three weeks to grow long nails. But it is a challenge to keep them from tearing, chipping and snagging once they are long. Here are some care tips to grow long natural nails perfect for art canvases.
Eat to be healthy
Eating healthy is the foundation of great looking nails and hair. It is better to eat a balanced diet than to eat unhealthy and compensate with supplements. Nails reflect our overall health, which is why a doctor looks at the colour of your nails during a check up. Eat food rich in Omega-3 fatty acids like fish and nuts to improve keratin.
Choose a better file
Some nail care tools do more harm than good such as wood cardboard nail files. Cardboard files are cheap and disposable but if you file your nails regularly, try using a glass file instead. Glass files have an abrasive surface that smoothes edges without damaging the nail plate.
Use wood cuticle pushers
Avoid metal cuticle pushers that scrape and mark the surface of the nail. Instead, use disposable birch wood cuticle pushers. Wood pushers are less likely to scrape the nail surface and are more sanitary because they are disposable. When having your nails done, request that the manicurist not use a metal pusher or provide your own wood cuticle pushers.
Nails crack because they dry out. Regularly massage your hands with oils or lotion. There are products specific for moisturizing cuticles. It does not have to be any special product, just be sure you make moisturizing a part of your routine. For those with brittle nails, avoid acetone as a nail polish remover. Acetone is highly volatile and dries very quickly. Instead, use an acetone-free nail polish remover.
Layer with nail products
Ridge fillers, base polish, and top coat polish helps strengthen nails and protects nails from moisture. There are also nail strengtheners sold specifically to keep nails strong while you grow them long.
Round versus Square nails
If you get tears at the edge of the fingers, use a file to shape nails into round shaped tips or the more retro almond shaped tips. This simple change prevents any future edge tearing and snagging.
Wearing work gloves will save your hands from damage. So be sure to have gloves for all your manual labours – including dish washing, laundry chores, gardening, and mechanical repairs.
Never trim or file wet nails
Trim and file nails before soaking them in cuticle remover or soapy water. Never trim and file when hands are damp. Wet or damp keratin tear and crack into the nail bed. They do not clip off cleanly like they should when dry.
Do not over buff
Buffing is a great remedy for ridged surfaces, they take off the top layer of the nail to smooth out the nail surface and make the nail shine. But do not over buff or your surface will become thin and weaken. Buff only when needed, once a week or less.
Do not over trim cuticles
Your cuticles are there for a reason, they protect the nail bed from dirt and bacteria. An injured cuticle can result to abnormal growth of the nail. A severe injury can cause the entire surface to die and fall off. Trim cuticles only occasionally to keep neat, but when ever possible do not trim the cuticles at all. Instead, push it back gently with a wooden cuticle pusher.
For bitters, growing long natural nails is an especially challenging task. Chewing, sucking and biting is a coping tool we do to relieve anxiety. Most bitters find distraction strategies to break their habits. Replace the nail biting habit with another action to keep you from biting your nails. Try filing with a glass nail file whenever your feel like biting your nails. You can also try getting an expensive manicure to remind yourself not to bite your nails. There are products available at your local drug store that change the taste of your fingertips to help discourage nail biting.