I Give Them a Nail Soak
As soon as I remove my nail polish, I immediately begin replenishing my nails with moisture. Nail polish remover tends to be really drying and harsh, so I love giving them a nice, hydrating soak. I fill up a small bowl with warm water and add in jojoba oil, lavender oil, vanilla oil, and a teaspoon of baking soda. The baking soda helps to whiten your nails, as they tend to stain after nail polish (due to the chemical reaction between your nail and the colourant). I leave my hands in the bowl for no more than 5 minutes. The reason I leave them in for such a short period of time is because overexposure to water actually leads to brittle nails, so always do your best to avoid submerging your hands in water for long periods of time. Once the time is up, I gently pat them dry.
I Moisturize Them
After the soak, I coat a generous layer of a natural, heavy cream onto my nails — both on top and underneath them. I don’t allow any tools to touch my nails for at least another half an hour, as I really want the moisture to set and lock in. During this time, I love catching up on some of my favourite vloggers videos.
I Use a Glass Nail File For Filing
Once my nails are completely dry, I begin filing. If you’re looking to grow your nails long and strong, I don’t recommend using any other nail file except glass nail files, especially if your nails are weak or damaged from acrylics. Stay away from low grit nail files or metal nail files at all costs! These tools are notorious for splintering natural nails. If you’re adamant about using a traditional emery board nail file, make sure that it isn’t low grit — always go 180 in grit or higher.
I also always make sure to file in one direction. Hacking at them back and forth promotes breakage, as the layers of keratin begin to shred (although this risk is greatly reduced when using a glass nail file, but I find it’s always best to take optimal measurements).
I Use A Nail Hardener
I then wash my hands to remove any “nail dust” and pat them dry. I coat both the top and underside of my nails with a high quality nail hardener. This protects my nails from water and also adds an extra layer of strength to my nail plates.
I Don’t Use Them As Tools
If you’re new to growing your nails, there’s probably going to be an adjustment period for this. It definitely took me a while (and a few broken nails!) before I stopped using them as tools. This means no scraping things, peeling off labels, or prying open keychain rings! I also do my best to maneuver around things that require my nails to be in a compromised state, such as opening cans. Which in that case, a utensil is our best friend.
What does your nail care routine look like?