Achieving Long and healthy natural nails is generally a struggle for most of us. Our nails either don’t grow or they begin to break off one by one after we’ve finally reached our desired length. So instead we opt for acrylic nails and nail extensions to give us the look we can’t achieve on our own. But then our nails get damaged and it becomes even harder for them to grow from all the glue, buffering, filing, etc. and we’re back to square one. For reasons that tend to be unknown sometimes, natural nails can be pretty weak and have a hard time growing and sustaining length on their own. But it’s not always complicated and the solution is usually right under our noses, but what we tend to lack is consistency and the right products to help us.
I’ve binge-watched a ton of youtube videos of women who’ve grown out their nails and gathered the tips mentioned the most; quality nail files, moisture, and protecting the nails. Growing out the nails can often come down to genetics but having a quality routine in place with quality products can take you a long way too.
1. Glass Nail File
This has been one of my favorite beauty discoveries in a while and it actually makes me excited to file my nails. How crazy is that? The first time I filed my nails with this, I was amazed. The movement was incredibly smooth on my nails and didn’t leave them feeling rough or anything, it felt entirely different from an emery board. If you’ve used one of these, you know what I mean. My crystal/glass nail file of choice is from OPI ($10) and I can already tell I made the right decision with this investment. I know $10 sounds crazy for a nail file but after I finish telling you all the wondrous benefits of glass nail files, you’ll buy this and never want to buy emery boards again.
Long story short, glass nail files are made from glass and have a very fine grit as opposed to emery boards that are made of sandpaper and can be very rough on the nails. If you notice the tip of your nails feeling rough after filling them with an emery board and later on splitting and breaking constantly, there’s a big chance the cause of that is your emery board. When filing with an emery board, especially back and forth, it creates small tears in the nail and weakens it. When using a glass file, the glass actually seals the tip of the nail each time you file it and leaves a smooth finish, preventing any cracking or tearing in the nail in the future.
In addition, glass nail files are sanitary and easy to clean, as well as long lasting in comparison to emery boards which you often need to repurchase as they don’t last long. Now what’s better, one $10 purchase now or several purchases of emery boards for the rest of your life? The glass material of these nail files allow them to last years, if not a lifetime, as long as you’re careful with it and clean them on a regular basis.
2. Cuticle Oil
Cuticle care is probably the most important part of getting your nails to grow. If they’re dry, cracked, and peeling all the time, it doesn’t offer the best environment for your nails to prosper in. The best part about nourishing your cuticles is that it doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming at all. Most cuticle oils on the market are really just a blend of oils like sweet almond oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, etc. so any oil you have on hand will do the trick even if it’s something like olive oil.
I’m currently loving the CND Solar Oil ($8) which is a nice blend of jojoba, rice bran, and sweet almond oil that smells heavenly and will last me a while since a little goes a long way. Some other popular favorites are the Essie Cuticle Oil ($9) and the Cuccio Milk and Honey Cuticle Oil ($7). You can also use cuticle balms like this one from Sally Hansen ($5) for mess-free moisture. You’ll want to moisturize your cuticles every single day to ensure consistency and promote nail growth, the easiest way to do this is to keep your cuticle oil next to your bed and moisturize before going to sleep.
3. Hand Cream
I remember when I used to work at Sam’s Club as a cashier my hands were rough all the time, my nails were constantly breaking, and they would never grow because of all of the manual labor I was doing. Scanning and lifting items all day took a toll on my hands and nails until I finally bought a hand cream and kept it in my pocket at all times. I started using it consistently; each time after I wished my hands, any time they looked or felt, dry, before bed each night, etc. and I saw a huge difference in my nails. They began to grow again since I had been moisturizing my hands and cuticle area more.
Hand creams are sort of like a little cheat when it comes to growing out the nails because it nourishes both the hands and the cuticles, so if you don’t want to get an oil and a cream, you would be better off getting a hand cream. Some favorites are Soap and Glory Hand Food ($7), Burt’s Bees ($9), and L’Occitane ($12-$29).
4. Nail Hardener
Last but not least, you’ll obviously want a polish to help strengthen your nails. You can grown your nails out with bare nails but if your nails tend to peel and split, you’ll want to use a nail hardener at least to act as a protective shield of sorts. You have a lot of options with this and it doesn’t need to be anything expensive or fancy, I’ve found that even nail hardeners from random brands in CVS or the beauty supply store work just fine. In fact, I’ve found that any nail polish works to help harden my nails if I’m consistent. Though, if you’re someone who doesn’t wear colored polish often, nail hardeners like OPI Nail Envy ($12), Nailtiques ($12), Quimica ($10), and Essie Millionails ($10) may be a great little investment for your nails since they’re clear.
So to recap: Invest in a glass nail file, moisturize your cuticles every single day, keep your hands soft and moisturized, and protect your nails with a layer of nail hardener (be sure to remove old polish and paint on a new layer each week). Don’t forget to document your nail growth and share your tips below!
“Erin Dyana is a freelance writer with a focus on pop culture, criticisms, and beauty. Her work has been featured in Teen Vogue, Urban Social TV, Wear Your Voice Magazine, Clementine Zine, and Philadelphia Print Zine. In her free time she likes to create art, watch films, read books, and eat everything in sight."