My Nail Care Routine for Long and Healthy Nails
My nails have never been healthier and I owe it to a careful nail care routine, drinking lots of water, and healthy eating. In today’s post, I am sharing an in-depth, step-by-step nail care routine for long and healthy nails with links to all the products I use so let’s begin…
First off, patience is key with any nail care. Your nails won’t grow overnight. I am sorry to say, but gel manicures won’t help your natural nails grow. Although stick on nails might, but more on that later! As much as I love the look of long acrylic nails, I just cannot deal with depending on someone else at the nail salon to fix them when they chip, crack or grow out. That is also why I no longer get gel manicures. That, and the havoc it wreaked on my nails by not allowing them to breathe.
The Most Important Step for Healthy Nails
First off, a healthy outside comes from a healthy inside. What does this mean? Diet and hydration play a pivotal role in maintaining strong nails, clean skin, and healthy hair. Making sure you’re eating healthy and drinking enough water is vital for strong nails. Dehydration will result in dry skin and brittle nails. Even if you are able to grow them long, brittle nails will crack and break easily. I aim for 130 oz of water a day! Do I make my goal? Not always, but I truly see a difference in my hair, skin, and nails when I increase my water intake. One thing that has helped me keep track of ounces is carrying around this 32 oz water bottle and aiming to empty it at least 4 times a day.
Diet + Supplements
Another equally important step for longer and healthier nails is nutrition. Foods like fish, avocados, olive oil, fruits, lean meats, leafy greens, beans, eggs, and nuts have great nutrients that help our nails grow. Nails are made of protein, so make sure you are eating enough of it. If you are an individual who has dietary requirements that prevent you from getting a sufficient amount of protein or nutrients you could always take a look at taking general health and protein supplements from sites such as The Nutrition Insider (you can find more here on health supplements.)
Along with eating healthy, I take two daily supplements: Ritual Essential for Women Daily Multivitamin and HAIRtamin Gummy Stars as my biotin and antioxidant supplement. Both are vegan supplements. HAIRtamin does offer a capsule, but I just love how good the Gummy Stars taste so much so that I never forget to take them because I look forward to eating them every morning.
If you are someone that often forgets to take their vitamins, try putting the bottles right next to your coffee maker in the morning. I take mine while I am waiting for my coffee to brew.
Another key factor to healthier, stronger nails is a good maintenance routine. Mine goes like this: I take off any polish as soon as the polish starts to chip and/or my nails start to feel dried out underneath. Anytime I can soak them in water (washing my hands or taking a bath) I do. Moisturizing lotions are also great for the skin surrounding your nails and cuticles.
However, lotion alone is not enough to truly hydrate the nail bed. So for that, I apply nail oil directly. I ordered this bottle of RescueRXx Daily Keratin Treatment. It looks like it’s currently sold out on Amazon, but Walmart still has a few bottles here.) I use it as often as I can. Especially at night before I go to bed so my nails have all night to soak in the ingredients (jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, keratin to nail a few.) You case use products you already have at home. Jojoba oil is a great product that can be used on your nail, skin, and nails! After I finished the product, I refilled the bottle with jojoba oil because the small brush applicator makes it super easy to apply without getting oil everywhere. The small bottle is also great for traveling! I keep a bottle in my car and apply it to my nails before long car rides.
I realize this next step may not make any sense. However, think of this step as it applies to a rose bush, we must cut it back at times to have it grow stronger in the future. The same theory applies to our nails. If they become too brittle, cut them back to a length where the nail can survive and grow stronger. Sometimes cracks happen. Mine often happen along the sides of my nail bed. If the rest of the nail looks strong and healthy and I am not willing to cut all my nails to match the length of the broken one, I will use Sally Hansens Brush-On Nail Glue to secure it until the crack can grow out. (Note: always store nail glue upright because once the glue dries in the cap, it is not coming off.)
I do believe that nail protector products have their benefits. FOr example, before I participate in an activity that is prone to breaking my nails (tennis, polo to name a few) I will apply a coat of a nail protector such as Perfect Formula. You can buy their Essentials pack. I personally use the Perfect Formula Pink Gel Coat. Although the bottle is a bit more expensive, this bottle has lasted me for YEARS. Plus, the slight pink color is great for in-between manicures when I want a little tint to my nails. And to hide any discoloration from previous polish applications.
You have likely heard this before, be kind to your nails when filing. Go one direction, not both. I found a set of metal nail files at Dollar Tree that are great for filing down the sides of my nails.
Manicures + Nail Polish
I usually do my own manicures. Mostly for time saved from visiting the salon and I enjoy the self-care process. While I am by no means a professional, I do find that using a cotton swab with alcohol to clean off any excess oil from my nails allows the base coat to really adhere. Then let it dry, 2-3 nail polish coats, letting those dry, and finally, a TOP COAT (very important) is how my polish lasts more than a week. After that, it is general maintenance. Still apply lotion and nail oil especially at night. Re-apply the clear topcoat every few days to help avoid chipping. If you are doing any household work, make sure to wear the appropriate gloves while cleaning dishes, gardening, etc. My go-to brand for polish is Essie. I find it’s the best investment and my usual color is a beautiful, vibrant orange-red called “feelin poppy.”
Now, you know I love a good set of stick-on nails (hello KISS Products!) But your nails will need a break from these products from time to time. I use the stick on nails when I’m traveling and don’t want to have to carry nail polish + remover with me. Or, when I know I am going to be rough on my nails (ahem- camping and offroading In Indiana.)
Stick-on nails can also be fantastic for protecting your nails while you wait for them to grow. What I mean by this is sometimes we have a few nice healthy long nails and maybe a few that need some time to grow. I will use the stick-on nails for 2-3 weeks (yes they can last that long and I will share my secrets for stick-on nails soon!) Then, once I take them off, I’ll have weeks of growth to work with and nice even nails while I wait!
So there you have it. My very in-depth and extensive nail care routine for long and healthy nails! If you have any questions by all means leave me a comment below or message me on Instagram @Laura_Lily. I love answering your questions and sharing the products I love!