You can’t make them grow faster. You can make them strong so that they will grow without breaking.
That’s your main goal, to keep them from breaking.
Brace yourself, this is gonna be a long answer.
First you want to protect them from things that make them brittle, and things that make them snap:
- Water. Every time you wash your hands, the water dries your nails out as it evaporates. This makes them weak and brittle. Like a saltine cracker, they will snap with ease. Wear gloves when your nails are going to be wet for a long time.
- Nail hardeners. Products designed to harden and strengthen your nails can very quickly become counterproductive. If you have very weak nails, you can use these sparingly to get yourself started, but I don’t recommend using them for a long time. They make your nails so hard, they snap under pressure. You want your nails to bend under pressure, not snap. If they are too hard, they won’t be flexible enough to bend under pressure.
- Using your nails as tools/carelessly lifting items, etc. One of the most common causes of nail breaking is when we use our nails as tools or forget to be mindful that they can break. As tempting as it is, don’t open electronics, boxes, etc with your nails. Be careful reaching and lifting, especially with car doors.
- Acetone nail polish remover. Acetone is the fastest polish remover. It’s also the most drying. I use to a peel off basecoat to avoid the use of acetone. When I do use it, I moisturize my nails immediately afterward. We’ll get to moisturizing in a minute. You can also use acetone free polish remover, but it’s usually not as effective.
- Buffing. Don’t buff your nails. It makes them weak. Those ridges are actually the stronger parts of your nail. Buffing them is essentially shaving the strong parts down so you only have the weak parts left.
- Biting them. Most nail biters bite because of anxiety. I used to bite them when I was a child and I had terrible anxiety. I know how hard it is to stop. Research yucky tasting products you can put on them to help you stop. I also found that polishing them helped me avoid biting.
- Going commando. Don’t leave your nails naked!!! If you want to grow them, make sure they’re always polished, even if it’s just clear polish. Polish helps protect your natural nails from harm, allowing them a chance to grow.
Let’s get to care.
Cultivating strong, flexible nails is not as hard as you might think.
The most important item you need is a good nail and cuticle oil. I have tried many different ones, from both indie and mainstream brands.
I have since wholly settled on this one by the indie brand Heather’s Hues. I swear by this nail oil. Ever since I started using it my nails are healthier than they’ve ever been. My nails have survived hitting the floor of a mosh pit. And it even comes in different scents. (not sponsored, I just love this shit)
Some people also swear by jojoba oil for nails.
Once you have your nail oil, you’re gonna want to use it often. A few times a day is best when you’re starting out. Especially after washing your hands, using acetone, using cuticle remover, or using hand sanitizer. Keep a few nail oil pens around the house, at work, in your purse. Apply it whenever you think about it.
When you polish your nails, make sure you “wrap the tip,” or paint over the edges of your nails. This helps seal in the natural nail, protecting it from the e v i l w a t e r.
Be patient!!! Growing your nails takes time. Even the healthiest nails take a few months to grow long.
These are my nails:
I grow my nails pretty long because I like to paint them. I grow them a bit shorter on my leading hand.
You may not want your nails as long as mine, but that doesn’t matter! These same rules apply even if you only want to grow them a fraction of a centimeter past your fingertip.