Growing and Maintaining Long Nails

long polished nails
Pictures of Long Nails

Many women dream of having long nails. With the right care, you can grow and maintain strong, healthy nails with the length you desire.

Growing Long Nails

Diet

Growing long nails starts from the inside out. A diet rich in fruits, vegetable, whole grains, and lean protein sources will give you the proper nutrition to help your nails grow. Drinking at least eight glasses of water, more in warmer climates, will also help to hydrate your body and keep your nails healthy as well.

Supplements

A healthy diet can usually supply the vitamins and minerals you need for healthy nails, but if you think yours needs a little boost, you may want to consider taking supplements.

  • Vitamins A, B-complex, C, D, E, and minerals calcium, zinc, and phosphor are all known to contribute to growth of healthy tissues.
  • Essential fatty acids, such as those found in salmon, are also available in supplement form if fish isn't your preferred cuisine.

Many companies now formulate specific supplements to help nails grow, or in combine hair, skin, and nail formulas. These often combine vitamins, minerals, and a substance called biotin, a vitamin B complex that promotes enzyme growth. GNC and Perfectil make popular formulas.

Treatments

Nail treatments can also help promote and maintain strong nails. Nail strengtheners containing protein, vitamins, calcium, or other agents can help create a strong protective layer to seal our moisture and resist breakage and splitting.

Avoiding Damage

To grow long nails, it's important to take proper care of your nails. Some of the biggest detriments to nail growth are:

  • Harsh use
  • Submersion in water
  • Exposure to chemicals and solvents

To avoid problems associated with these nail abuses, treat them gently. Some tips for preventing damage include:

  • Never use your nails as tools for picking, scraping, prying, or opening.
  • Limit the amount of time your hands spend in water.
  • Always wear gloves when using chemicals or cleaning.
  • Wear gloves when gardening or doing household chores as well.
  • Use only non-acetone nail polish remover.

Nail Care

Home Care

Whether you are trying to grow long nails or have already achieved them, it's essential to treat them right. Although avoiding damaging factors is important, it doesn't end there. Massage hand cream into your cuticles and nails on a daily or at least weekly basis to keep them from becoming too dry. Keeping a nail file handy is important, too, to help gently treat snags before they do too much damage.

Manicures

A weekly manicure, whether at home or at a salon can keep your nails at their best and at your desired length. Gently pushing back cuticles, cleaning -- an especially important consideration for longer nails -- filing, buffing, and a adding a protective polish can do wonders towards achieving and keeping long, beautiful nails.

Polishes

One of the best aspects of having long nails is showing them with beautiful colors of nail polish or intricate nail art. Look for high quality brands of polish with professional brushes, such as Essie or OPI. Experiment with rich or pearlescent shades, glitter polishes, or some of the modern brights such as canary yellow, turquoise, and kelly green.

If you are interested in getting airbrushed designs, decals, or other nail art, start with well-manicured nails and treat with a layer or two of a protective topcoat for added protection.

How Long Is Too Long?

While long nails are the envy of many women, overly long nails can also be problematic. Keeping extremely long nails clean can be difficult, and may impede daily activity. Nails may also begin curling at the ends if they become too long.

So how long is too long? Nail length is a highly personal preference. Choosing depends on assessing your lifestyle and activities, as well as the amount of time and effort you want to spend maintaining long nails. For many women, a weekly manicure and a little cuticle oil is nothing compared to having long nails they love.

Growing and Maintaining Long Nails