A Guide To Growing Long, Healthy Natural Nails

Hello, collegiettes!

We are in a tricky time right now, which has (some) silver linings. We have a lot of extra time on our hands, especially time that consists of not going to particularly important events… which means… we can be creative with our looks! You might have even dyed your hair, or at least know one person who has done something major to their look. While we do not have to take this time to do something extreme, we can take it to try out some styles and things that might take longer to do. This includes allowing your brows to grow out or your nails! If you want an article on the former, read this. If you want a guide on the latter, continue reading this one!

I personally have had quite a journey with growing out my nails. I used to bite mine from a young age, but the elegance of long nails caught my eye and I was motivated to quit bad habits. I also had a whole nail art phase, so long nails gave me more of a “canvas,” to work on. I used to grow out my nails throughout middle school, and while I felt I was channeling Disney princesses, my classmates thought otherwise and often told me I looked like a witch… Fast-forward to high school, where my signature look went from long, almond nails to short-clipped ones, for the sake of not having to deal with them getting caught in stuff (do not let the haters change your style!) I alternated between lengths in college, and now that quarantine is happening, have gone back to growing them out. I also know that nail salons are not open now, and some of y’all might be running out of stick-ons. So here’s a guide on how to grow long, healthy nails!

Eat Well

A healthy, well-balanced diet is essential… regardless of what your goal is. Try to get all your vitamins and minerals, a lot of which are crucial to nail, hair, and bone health. If a diverse diet is hard to come by, try investing in vitamin pills and supplements!

The most important thing you should consume, though, is calcium. Yes, there might be supplements for strong nails, but if you do not want anything fancy, really focus on your dairies: milk!!! Cheese, yogurt, etc. (lactose-free dairy works the same!) Try to eat one of these at LEAST once a day. I personally grew up drinking milk three times a day for years… hence why I did not have them chipping often. Luckily for dairy, it is easy to incorporate them into multiple meals or snacks. A yogurt granola bowl for breakfast, a smoothie after a workout and maybe a plain glass of milk just for fun. If you choose to enrich your diet, though, make sure your intake of these items is substantial; unfortunately, one block of cheese every other day will not get you as strong nails as you might like…

Moisturize

Nails are dead, and they are brittle in differing degrees, no matter how much calcium you are ingesting. So make sure you moisturize your nails! You do not need anything fancy. Regular lotion, olive oil, coconut oil, whatever, works just as well, if not better, because of their richness. While moisturizing, cover the whole nail and cuticle and massage them in for about 20-30 seconds each, and wash about 15 minutes later, if possible. Of course, moisturize on unpainted nails, as putting lotion on painted nails will not do you any good. 

Keep your tips smooth

Chipping is natural, just make sure you smooth out any sharp angles as a result of chipping. A pointy nail is no fun for anyone, and its probability of snagging on things is bad for any surrounding fabrics, as well as the nail itself; it has a higher chance of chipping even more. 

Play around with the shape

With free time (and a nail file) play around with your nail shapes! You can look up tutorials on how to achieve different shapes, or just go at it yourself. Curved nails tend to snag less because there are not as many corners. You might, though, find that the tip of your almond shape nail gets a lot of wear and tear, and the blunt line of a square shape will not wear down. This one really depends on your lifestyle, and what you are doing in your everyday life. So try them out and see which matches your personal preference, as well as your life!

I hope this was fun and works for you all, collegiettes! Growing out nails involves patience with oneself, the ability to take care and nourish your body, and will offer a result for your efforts and love. You can get long nails, as well as a chance to practice self-care. It is like a two-for-one, and I hope you get both!