How to Grow Your Nails: The Realistic Version

Basically, how I went from tiny nublet nails to decent talons.

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The last, I don't know, few weeks or so I've been getting a lot more attention on my nails. Not to start this off braggy and gross or anything, but you know, it's true. It could just be down to the new ring, or the fact that I've spent a good two or three months really paying attention to my nails. And it's kind of funny, I finally put in some effort and my nails have actually grown. If you go to google and let it auto suggest while you type how to grow your nails (or some other variation) you'll get some bonkers results. Like, how to grow nails in a day, how to grow nails overnight, how to grow nails fast. 

So, I thought I'd bring just a tad bit of realism to growing your nails. Unless you get fake nails, there is no way to grow nails in a day. Sorry! Actually, not sorry, human bodies just can't do that. But, if you take good care of your hand/nail situation you can grow out decent nails in a couple of months.

Let's take me as an example! I have naturally very weak, thin nails. I also spend all day typing and most free time doing some sort of crafting with these here paws. My nails go through a lot of wear and tear just by being attached to little old me. I used to think it wasn't possible for them to grow past my fingertips. 

Most of the time my nails would look like these guys on the left. Nicely (ish) polished, but way above the tips of my fingers. It's not like that's a bad look or anything, but I just didn't like it. Then after a few months of actually having something of a nail care routine, I've got these cuties on the right! They're certainly not Instagram nail artist length talons, but they're long enough for me to do something with. My tricks on how I grew out my nails aren't all that complicated but they do work if you've got a little patience.

1. Regular (DIY) Manicures

Real talk, I abhor getting my nails done in a salon. It's like nails on the chalkboard, but attached to my own hand for, whatever, half an hour or so that it takes. And I know, a lot of (most ?) people would love to splash out on a weekly mani to chill out and be pampered for a hot second. If that's you, cool! Go for it! But if you're like me, you'll be DIY-ing this whole process. No biggie, it's my favorite way to do it.

My manicure process isn't all that complicated. I just start off by removing whatever polish is on my nails with whatever nail polish remover I have on hand. I'm not overly picky but I do tend to use straight up acetone because it's fast. I'll then use the Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover to remove any cuticles, if need be. I finish up the manicuring process by shaping my nails with a glass/crystal nail file. Before moving on to polishing my nails, I'll clean them off with rubbing alcohol to get any oil or gunk off, pre-polishing.

2. Protect Your Nails With Polish

Hot tip number one for growing out your nails: don't break them. Helpful, yes? That really is the key to growing out your nails though, time to let them grow, and not breaking them before they get there. The best way to protect your nails from the stress of protecting your fingertips, is nail polish. 

Basically, you'll want to keep your nails polished at all times. Any hooha about letting your nails breathe is, um, BS. Your nails are made of compressed dead keratin cells, there isn't any breathing for them to do. I suggest using a sticky base coat that will help the nail polish adhere to nails. My favorite always and forever is the ORLY Bonder Rubberized Base Coat. Then follow it up with two layers of your favorite polish, sealing in the tips of your nails for that little bit of extra protection. Last thing is a durable top coat. I still love Seche Vite because it's thick and makes your nails look almost like gels. 

3. Hand Care Counts Too

One of the major changes I've made that has helped in my nail growing game is taking care of my hands. This is especially helpful in winter when things are extra dry and cold and people's hands straight up crack. 

I keep a lotion around pretty much at all times so I'll remember to put some on at least once or twice a day. My favorite lotions are from L'Occitane, specifically the Almond Delicious Hands (really), the *Avon Silicone Gloves for some hard core hydration, and anything from Bath and Body Works for a little light lotioning. 

I've also taken to exfoliating my hands every now and again in the shower with a little bit of body scrub. I find that it keeps my hands extra soft, especially this winter.

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4. Nightly Nail Oil Routine

Probably the number one thing I've done that has helped me grow my nails longer, is using a nail oil nightly. I picked up Bliss Kiss Simply Pure nail oil on Black Friday for a little deal, and I've been obsessed with it ever since. 

It's chock full of Jojoba oil (well really, Jojoba wax ester) which is apparently very similar to human sebum. I'm aware all of this sounds ridiculous. But, for whatever reason, it works to nourish your nails like never before helping them grow while staying flexible.

As a sneaky little money saving trick, you can use just plain old Jojoba oil and get the same result! I just filled up an old Essie Apricot Oil bottle with Jojoba oil and use it interchangeably with the Simply Pure. 

5. A Few Things To Avoid

Last think I want to chat about is what you should avoid, when trying to grow your nails. It all boils down to two things, avoiding water and anything that would thin down your nails.

Hear me out real quick. The whole water thing sounds the most insane out of everything I've said so far. But, you know when you take a bath or you have your hands wet for a while, and your nails get all bendy? It's because the water softens up your nails to that point. It's like how when your hair is wet, it's at it's most vulnerable. Your hair and nails are essentially made out of the same thing and it works both ways. You don't need to wear gloves when washing your face or anything, but you should when washing the dishes or cleaning. This helps to keep your nails from bending to the point of breaking.

And lastly, avoiding anything that can thin down your nails. So, don't buff your nails. Also, don't pick at your nails. This is something that took me a really long time to break because I used to be an awful nail picker. Picking your nails or filing down the surface makes your nails weaker because they are even thinner! Don't do it, save your nails. Use nail polish remover always, and try to avoid polish that is difficult to get off, like gels. I know that gels do have a place, especially when you're doing a lot of hard work with your hands (like moving house). But don't do them for every manicure because they are so hard to get off. 

What does your hand and nail care routine look like?