After I stopped my lifelong habit of biting my nails, I started researching how to make them grow long and strong. Unfortunately for me, everything I read said to “treat your nails like jewels” and basically never use your hands. I’m a stay-at-home mom. That’s an impossible expectation for me. I’m constantly buying my daughter new books that have pesky stick-on price tags, dishes always need to be done, and sometimes it’s just easier to pick at stuck on food instead of scrubbing for an hour. For all my fellow people out there who need to use their hands, here’s a real guide to growing your nails.
Note: Yes, I do know my nails aren’t insanely long, but they are strong. Length is a personal preference.
Keep your nails polished at all times, even if it’s clear polish. I do this after my daughter is in bed so that I don’t have to attempt to change a dirty diaper with wet nails. I always keep my nails polished. When I go without, my nails tend to break or peel. The polish acts as a barrier between my nails and the rest of the world. Something else I’ve discovered is that nail hardeners don’t work for me. They do make my nails rock hard but then instead of bending on impact, they just snap at the tip.
Keep your hands moisturized. I keep lotion all over my house. There’s a bottle next to every sink, there’s one next to my bed, and there’s even one in each of the kid’s rooms. After I wash my hands or do the dishes, I apply lotion. After bath time, while I’m putting lotion on my daughter’s skin, I rub the excess into my hands. Before bed, I massage my hands. Even if I wake up in the middle of the night to use the restroom, I apply lotion. It’s become a habit to the point where I don’t even think about it.
Use cuticle oil whenever you can. I will admit I don’t do this as much as I probably should, but I use cuticle oil whenever I remember to. Now, my pregnant brain can’t remember much more than my own name, so this is generally once a night, when I paint my nails, or remove my nail polish.
Don’t pick at your nail polish. Oh man, am I guilty of breaking this rule. I constantly pick at my nail polish. It’s so bad. You actually peel off the top layer of your nails when you do this. You really should remove polishes with a nail polish remover, acetone or acetone-free (I don’t really think it makes that much of a difference, to be honest). This is my next habit to break. Wish me luck! I’ll need it!
Keep your blood circulating in your fingers. This sounds really funny, but it works. Sitting on the couch watching television? Don’t just sit there! Massage your cuticle area! Washing dishes? Take that scrub brush and rub it over your nails! Washing your hands? Use a nail brush to clean your nails! The more your blood is circulating in your hands and fingers, the faster your nails will grow.
Try to use the side of your finger or a tool to open things or remove labels. Like I said, there are a lot of times when this is impossible, but there are times when I do try not to use my nails. For instance, when I open a can of soda, I use a spoon. I also try to use the side of a butter knife to scrape dried-on foods off of my countertops. I type with the pads of my fingertips instead of my nails. I try not to peel price tags, but it usually ends up with me getting frustrated and using my nails. Avoid it when you can, but don’t stress too badly if you forget and use your nails. That’s what hands are for, right?
Let me know if any of these tips work for you as well as they have for me!