Long and Strong : Ash’s Nail Care

My friend Abby is #nailgoals personified. She has had super long, Adele style nails for as long as I can remember. Even after two beautiful babies, she has managed to keep her claws. “It’s my thing”, she says. I have decent nails but I have never been able to get them quite to Abby lengths without one of them snapping off (isn’t that the worst first world problem of ’em all?). Until…recently.  I recently sent Abby herself this snapshot of my nails, she is very proud.

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I have been able to keep my natural nails long and strong for the last few months without any breaks at all! I wanted to share some of the tips and tricks that I think helped.
I have to mention that my nails have always been pretty strong and I have quite a long nail bed. I appreciate this because even when my nails are on the shorter side they never look stubby.
Here is a rare picture of my nails with no polish (I ALWAYS have nail polish on).

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Right after this picture was taken, I decided to cut them down a bit, and here we now are:

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Sun
Please know I am not suggesting you go bake in the sun to grow your nails, not at all. Sun exposure can be very dangerous and can no very bad things for your skin and complexion. However, I cannot deny that I feel the sun played a role in the quick growth of my nails this summer. As you know if you follow @theneonleopard on social media (shameless plug alert), we spent some time in the very hot Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba about a month ago. I find that whenever I send a good amount of time under the hot sun, my hair and nails grow super-fast. Do you notice that when you paint your nails and go on vacay , you come back and can see from the colour at the cuticle how much they have grown out? It’s always way faster than at home, methinks.

That good old vitamin D definitely accelerated my summer nails.

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H20
Drink up! Over the last few months I increased my water intake and I have noticed positive results in the hydration of my skin. I know that this includes my hands, nails and cuticles. Dry, brittle nails will just break off while dry straggly cuticles can be painful as they start to peel. They also don’t look so great.  I’m not the greatest at moisturizing and still I rarely have dry hands or nails, I think this is due in large part to my chug a lugging water all the time.
I used to think I drank lots of water, but it wasn’t until I installed an app on my phone to help me track it that I realized I wasn’t consistent in getting enough. The app that I used is called Hydro Coach, but there are lots to choose from.

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I recommend using the app to monitor your intake and get used to the increased drinking, then no need to continue use. It’s tedious to track all that water.

Vinegar                                                                                                                                                         Nope, you didn’t misread that . I said vinegar.                                                                                       I once read that by applying vinegar to your nails before polishing , you prolong the life of your manicure and I have been doing it ever since. When my nails have no nail polish on them , I swipe a cotton swab of apple cider vinegar over each nail before painting them with colour. This effectively removes all oils from the surface of the nail to prime it for polish. Apple cider also contains beneficial vitamins, potassium, magnesium, calcium and iron and has both malic and acetic acid that can help to fight and prevent nail infections. It is a very quick pre-colour step that I think makes a difference.

Chip Proof Polish
I have written about my holy grail nail product on TNL before.
Sally Hansen Miracle Gel is the only nail polish I use on my nails, unless I am getting a Shellac manicure. This is just the very best nail polish for my nails.

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I find it easy to work with the wide flat brush and I love the colour range, particularly the nude shades.  It is long wearing and shiny on my nails. Best of all, these polishes never chip when I use them on my nails. That’s huge! Before I discovered the Miracle Gel polishes, my polish used to chip all the time. It was bad enough for my nails that I always wear polish (it’s good to let them breathe sometimes, I’m bad at that) but chipped polish took a toll on my nails. Usually a layer of the nail would come off with the chipped colour, leaving my nails ridged and brittle.
You will rarely find me without this stuff on my fingers and toes!

Nail Hardener
Always use a basecoat on your nails before colour. This will prevent them from staining and turning yellow. My basecoat of choice has always been a nail hardener. Why not take this opportunity to strengthen your nails if you’re going to be throwing a coat of something on there anyway? My favourite hardener is by Nail Tek.

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I always go for their regular Maintenance Plus They make loads of different nail therapy products depending on your needs but strengthened for normal healthy nails, but I have tried them all. They also make hardeners for soft, peeling nails, dry, brittle nails and weak damaged nails. I usually pick mine up at Sally Beauty Supply for about ten dollars, but you can also find Nail Tek on Amazon and if you have a sharp eye, at Winners or TJ Maxx.

Biotin

Biotin is a B vitamin that is also sometimes known as vitamin H. It is beneficial for skin , hair, nails, eyes and nervous system. Biotin can be found naturally in some meats, eggs, avocado, cauliflower, berries , fish , legumes and mushrooms. Biotin is also available in supplements for those looking to bump up their intake. I take 5000 mcg of Biotin daily. However, I would suggest checking with a health care professional before adding this or any new supplement to your routine. I have heard of individuals breaking out if they do not drink enough water while taking biotin. So get that water app and drink up.

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There you have it, some of the tips and tricks that I feel have definitely resulted in some serious nail length and health. I would love to know what you do to keep your nails looking great so that I can give them a try, so please share below!

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