A girl should have two things: Beautiful Nails and Fabulous Toes -Tammy Taylor
Long, beautifully manicured nails are gorgeous no doubt. They are the perfect accessory to any outfit and adds a feminine flair to an overall look. I used to have a friend who had these long, naturally gorgeous nails that she always made sure was glistening with a red polish. No matter how disheveled she looked, the nails always seemed to make her look put together.
For many of us, growing long nails naturally is no easy feat, fortunately there are herbs to grow long nails naturally. I am one of those unfortunate bunch that can never seem to get nails to grow past my nail bed.
And when it does grow a tad beyond the bed, I am feverishly coating on the nail hardener to preserve the little growth only to have that annoying chip a few days later that tarnishes any dream I had of sporting long, natural nails.
Ditch the falsies, acrylic and fake treatments
We often resort to regular acrylic, shellac or falsies to achieve the look of long, glamorous nails. While these artificial nails can be beautiful and fun, nothing beats having naturally long, strong fingernails.
When they are real, they will look as beautiful natural as they do painted, and no visits to the salon will be necessary. Let’s face it monthly visits to the salon can quickly add up. Notwithstanding artificial nails can leave your nails worse than before.
The nails almost always end up thinner, more brittle and more fragile than before. Some of the biggest damage is done during the removal process of false nails because it often requires soaking nails for extended periods of time in harsh acetone.
If that isn’t enough, the fumes that you expose your body to along with the ultra violet light used to apply treatments such as Shellac can have a negative impact on the body with consistent exposure.
If you’re trying to use herbs to grow long nails, it is best to avoid or limit these types of artificial nails and treatment. They might look great in the short term but can be very damaging to the natural nails.
I personally prefer to keep my nails short due to the significant amount of typing I do. It’s more practical. Plus short nails that are neat and well manicured can look equally as attractive. With the plethora of design ideas you can find on Pinterest or Instagram, you can really get creative with short nails.
understanding the science behind growing long nails naturally
Our nails are not living tissue. They are dead. Yes, you read that correct. Your nails are actually made up of dead cells which comes together to create what is known as the nail plate. What happens when your nails grow is that new cells are formed underneath your nail plate pushing the dead ones up. The more layers of dead cells, the stronger and more flexible the nail will be.
The dead tissues that are pushed up are what make up our beautiful, pamper ready nails. Although we often focus on the aesthetic qualities of the nails, our nails have an important function which is to protect the nail tip and surrounding areas of soft tissues from injuries.
The tissue that is responsible for producing new cells is called ‘The Matrix’. The matrix is directly underneath the nail plate and determines the length, size and thickness of the nails. As long as the matrix is healthy and continues to receive nutritional content that it needs it will continue to grow. Other factors that can affect nail growth include genetics, age, season, diet, exercise levels and gender.
Many women believe they will never be able to have the nails they dream of because they have always had slow-growing or brittle nails. Well this is not true. You can grow long, healthy nails. For some it might require more time, more effort and dietary supplementation due to genetics, our body composition and lifestyle factors.
It is important to note that all vitamins, treatments and herbs to grow long nails will not work the same for everyone. It really just depends on where your body is deficient. For example, if you’re body is deficient in the biotin vitamin, taking this supplement may promote hair growth and alternatively if your body produces enough of this vitamin, it doesn’t need the extras therefore taking the vitamin might offer no additional benefits.
Some basics of growing long, healthy nails
Eat healthy and eat clean. The matrix which is responsible for producing the cells that creates our nails will continue to grow as long as it continues to receive the nutrients it needs. Eating the right foods is critical to not only your nail growth but overall health. You’ll not only feel better but your nails, hair and skin will show it.
For nail growth, you need lots of lean protein and leafy vegetables as they are rich in minerals and vitamins. Fish, lean meats, egg whites, oatmeal, buckwheat, quinoa beans are all excellent protein choices. Dark veggies are loaded with vitamins and minerals like zinc.
I am a big proponents of eating the right foods to get the nutrients we need. However this often isn’t practical for many of us with busy on the go lives. You may consider supplementing with a protein powder to up protein intake with a good quality, plant based protein for women. A green powder mixed in with your smoothie can provide a lot of the vitamins and herbs for long nails.
Vitamins are a girl’s best friend when it comes to growing long nails
Biotin, vitamin B7, is a staple in hair and nail growth. It is actually quite controversial with a lot of reviews stating that it does promote nail growth but several scientific studies finding no link between the two. In general, the vitamin has been shown to improve keratin structure of the hair, nails and skin.
On the down side, there’s many many complaints of acne blemishes as a result of biotin intake. To prevent the breakouts, it usually best to limit biotin intake to no more than 2500mcg per day and drink lots of water to help move it out of the system. If the breakouts continue, it may be best to stop it all together. This is a sign that your body is having a negative reaction to the vitamin and should not be ignored.
Other essential vitamins for hair growth include: fish oil, B complex, folic acid and zinc.
Proper maintenance for long, healthy nails
- Regular manicures can help.
- A regular trim is not only for your hair, your nails need them too. Buff the nails to keep the edges smooth and prevent chips. Opt for a rounded or pointy tip when filing.
- Moisturize and moisturize often.
- Skip the acetone based nail polish remover and go for one with a conditioning base.
- Invest in a good hardener
Natural herbs to grow long nails
The beauty of these herbs to grow long nails is that they can taken internally or applied topically to the nail as part of maintenance. Adding herbs to meals, or taking them in the form of supplements will benefit the entire body. By improving health from the inside out, a lot of common nail problems may be eliminated. This includes ridges or flattening of the nails, brittleness or discoloration. It may make the nails grow faster as well as break less often. Some of the herbs to grow long nails include:
- Horsetail weed
- Oat straw
- Evening primrose
- Black Cohosh
- Burdock root
- Gotu kola
Using herbs topically
Soak nails in tea
Topical application of herbs to grow long nails can increase the rate of improvement to the nails especially if combined with taking the herbs orally. One simple way is by brewing tea and using it to soak the nails.
Green tea works wonderfully for this, but any herbal tea or tea made from a combination of any of the known beneficial herbs will work. Brew the tea slightly stronger than when made for drinking and soak the nails for approximately 15 minutes once a week.
Apply a herbal mask
Another option for topical use is with an herbal mask. Place a mix of approximately a teaspoon each of peppermint and chamomile leaves in a bowl and pour one cup of boiling water over the top. Allow them to sit for at least an hour.
This will allow the water to have time to cool as well as release the oils from the leaves. Strain the water, reserving the liquid, and discard the leaves. Add a half-teaspoon of olive oil into the water and enough wheat flour to make a paste. Apply the paste directly to the nails and allow it to sit for a half hour before washing off.
Here’s an interesting Cosmo article on making a herbal nail treatment using horsetail.
Patience is a must with growing your natural nails
It does take patience and time to grow healthy nails naturally, but it is possible. The average adult fingernail grows only one or two inches per year. However, herbs, vitamins and even seasonal changes and diet may increase the rate. To help speed up the process, wear gloves when washing dishes, protect hands from the dry winter air and exercise the hands.
There have been some studies that show nail growth is increased when there is good blood circulation, and exercise is the best way to make this happen. Consider typing more, playing the piano or taking up painting. Just be certain to protect the nails during any activity to reduce the risk of chipping or breaking.
With the right care and a little help from the right herbs, you can have long, strong and healthy natural nails. Try a variety of methods and different herbs to grow long nails because everyone is slightly different and what their body responds to is different as well. Also, consider photographing the nails weekly to make it easier to identify the changes over time.
Have you tried any vitamins or herbs to grow long nails naturally? Share in the comment box below.
Image credit: Snapguide