11 hacks to grow the best nails of your life

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These 11 genius tips and tricks will get your nails growing longer and stronger than ever before

We’ve all been there. You’ve finally grown your nails after months and months of resisting biting and then just like that, one snaps off. Life can be so cruel. After months of winter, our nails are not looking too fab, so in pursuit of getting them back on top form, we’ve scoured the internet in search of wisdom.

1. Look after your cuticles

Healthy cuticles = healthy nails. Cuticles act as a natural barrier to infections while also acting as a seal for hydration. Nail growth also starts in the area right below the cuticle line so it’s important to keep this area healthy. By maintaining and moisturising the cuticles regularly with cuticle oil you build a healthy base from which strong nails grow.

2. Stop the biting

It may seem obvious but nail biting is a big no no when trying to grow your nails. Aside from actually removing length, biting can lead to infections and creating small cracks in the nail.

3. Take a break from gel and acrylic

Although gel and acrylic manicures make nails look great in the short term, they can leave long-lasting damage and make nails weak. The harsh chemicals and tools used in gel and acrylic manicures are very damaging, not to mention how hard they are to remove with strong acetone.

4. File properly

Similarly to getting your hair trimmed, keeping nails clipped and filed helps prevent damage and breakage. Filing nails into a round shape rather than square can be beneficial for growth and limiting breakages, as round shapes are less likely to snag and in general are stronger than a square edge. Also, when filing make sure to file in one direction rather than back and forth as this can cause small cracks in the nail.

5. Always use a base coat

When painting your nails it’s essential to always use a good base coat, as it can prevent nails from peeling and becoming weak. Even if you’re not wearing a full manicure, by wearing a base coat you’re adding an extra layer of protection to your natural nails.

6. Remove nail varnish gently

Try where possible to use a nail varnish remover without acetone as it’s far more gentle on the nails. Acetone dries out nails and makes them brittle, leaving them more prone to breakage. Plus, if you’re trying to remove glitter, try dipping an old pair of tights in nail varnish remover and gently rubbing in circles; the tights will help remove the glitter better than cotton wool.

7. Avoid nail hardeners

Although nail hardeners might seem like a great way to strengthen brittle nails, they can actually cause more harm than good. A lot of nail hardeners contain formaldehyde which can dry out nails. They can also sometimes harden nails too much, causing them to become brittle and break.

8. Use hand cream religiously

Along with using plenty of cuticle oil, hand cream is a vital part of maintaining healthy hands and nails. Hand creams with vitamin E or natural oils are particularly beneficial. If you forget to use it try keeping it on your desk or by your toothbrush, so you’ll more easily remember to use it twice a day.

9. Avoid potential nail breaking activities

It seems obvious, but if you’re trying to grow your nails longer, the last thing you want is an unwelcome breakage. Avoid using your nails to open cans, type with your fingertips instead of your nails and when washing up always wear rubber gloves.

10.  Get regular manicures

As if we needed another excuse for regular trips to the nail salon. Think of it like a nail MOT, regularly filing and gently pushing back the cuticles help to keep nails healthy and promote growth. If you don’t have time for regular trips to the salon, make sure to wear a coat of clear varnish on top of naked nails.

11. Eat a healthy diet

Just as with skin and hair, what you eat affects your nails. By maintaining a healthy diet and drinking plenty of water your nails will thank you. A diet rich in protein and vitamins is best for growing strong nails; biotin (found in eggs, salmon and peanuts), zinc (found in green beans, shellfish and cashews) and iron (found in beef, spinach and kale) are vital. If you’re struggling to get all these in your diet, consider taking hair and nail supplements – these contain all the essential vitamins and minerals necessary for growth.

Image: Essie