There’s no feeling quite like strutting out of the nail salon with a new set of claws. But while we love acrylics, growing your own nails out offers an unmatched sense of accomplishment. Plus, it’s a lot more affordable and better for the overall health of your nails. Let’s dive into a few ways to keep your natural nails long and strong.
A swipe or two of a high-quality strengthening polish can work wonders. It adds an instant shield to your nails, regardless of how brittle or thin they may be. Strengthening polishes are perfect if your nails need a little extra love between professional manicures. Look for ones with biotin additives or peptide infusions, which promote healthy nail growth. Some of our faves include Sally Hansen Advanced Hard As Nails ($7.82, shop here) and Ellie Chase 7-in-1 Nail Strengthener ($6.99, shop here).
When your cuticles are dry and ripped, they can cause potentially yucky infections, ruining your overall nail health. Prevent this by keeping your hands moisturized and applying cuticle oil, which deeply nourishes and penetrates the base of the nail. Massaging the oil into each nail bed improves circulation, stimulating collagen production and healthier nail growth in the future. Leave the oil on your bedside table and have it be the last step of your self-care routine before you tuck in for the night.
Go Au Natural
Once in a while, you have to let your nails breathe. That means no gels, acrylics, or even regular polish. Though it may not seem dangerous, regularly wearing nail polish allows chemicals to seep into your nail beds, causing flaky, brittle, thin, and unhealthy nails. Letting your nails go naked gives them time to replenish, restrengthen, and hold their own until your next manicure. This may be a hard one if you’re a regular in your local nail salon, but distance makes the heart grow fonder.
Your nails say a lot about what’s happening inside your body. They can indicate which nutrients and vitamins your body may be lacking. Brittle nails or nails that peel or chip once are sending a message that your body may need more biotin, collagen, protein, or zinc! If you want to follow in the footsteps of Jennifer Aniston, you can try Vital Proteins Original Collagen Peptides Powder ($27, shop here) to get your daily intake via morning cup of coffee, juice, or water.
Change Up Your Diet
If you’ve tried all of the above and still don’t see a difference in your nails, you may need to look at your diet, which sets a pretty big standard in how your body functions and, more specifically, how your nail grows. For example:
- If you have ridged nails, you may need more biotin, which is found in meats and nuts.
- If you have dry, peeling nails, you may need more calcium, which is found in milk and cheese.
- If you have hangnails, you may need more vitamin C, which is found in fruits and veggies.
- If you have cracked, chipped nails, you may need omega-3, which is found in fish.
Do you have any tips for keeping nails long and strong? Share them with us in the comments below!