I don't have particularly strong nails but I'm 100% committed to having long, healthy nails. That's why I love Dr Erno Laszlo's quote —"Beautiful skin requires commitment, not a miracle". Because I truly believe that if you are dedicated to your beauty regime and live a healthy lifestyle, your skin, hair and nails will reflect this.
In case you haven't heard of the super luxury New York skincare brand Erno Laszlo, it was founded by the legendary Dr Laszlo in the 1920s. The skincare was a favorite of many beauty icons including, Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe and Edie Sedgwick. Unfortunately it's not a clean beauty brand that I recommend, but I like to think that back in the 40's when Marilyn was using it was more synthetic free!
"Beautiful Skin Requires Commitment, Not A Miracle" - Erno Laszlo
My nails are a total testament to this quote. If I don't follow these steps religiously they get brittle, weak and end up breaking. Here is my 5-step formula I follow to grow and maintain really strong, healthy nails;
*You can also check out the video at the end of this post to watch the tips instead!
1. NAIL STRENGTHENER/HARDENER
Nutra Nail Mineral Collection POWER GROWTH is a great product if you have very short nails that won't grow. As soon as your nails start to grow the most important thing you need to do is get yourself a good Nail Hardener.
This is the formula I follow that gives me these unbreakable results;
After you do your manicure apply one coat of nail hardener to your nail, the back of your nail, and the free edge. Repeat this three times that day. The next day apply two to three more coats. I always do mine when I wake up, again in the afternoon and always at bedtime. It need to become a habit. Do this for 5-7 days, then I just apply one coat a day. I know, it sounds like a lot! But the idea is to give your nails as much protection as possible.
After 7-10 days you're going to start all over again and give your nails a manicure. I NEVER HAVE NAKED NAILS! I always have polish or strengthener/hardener on my nails at all times to avoid breaking them. I swear by this formula. It stops my nails from from breaking by adding a protective barrier.
2. CUTICLE OIL
Nails need nourishment too! If you have weak, brittle nails then you need cuticle oil in your life! Nails need nutrients just as much as your skin and hair.
Rubbing organic oils into your cuticles and nails for 2 minutes a day is incredibly strengthening. Make your own cuticle oil with nourishing plant oils high in vitamins, minerals, protein and essential fatty acids.
If you don't have time to DIY then I recommend Simon + Tom Nails + Cuticles Oil Saviour. It has a non-toxic, clean ingredient list free from synthetic polymers and alcohols.
3. MASSAGE/BALAYAM YOGA
Just like hair growth is increased with scalp stimulation, so too are your nails. The area beneath the cuticle under the nail bed is called the matrix. This is where cells are keratinised to form the layers of the nail. Any stimulation to this area is fantastic for nail growth!
You will notice the difference in nail growth within days if you spend a couple minutes twice a day massaging cuticle oil into this area. Balayam yoga is an ancient Ayurvedic practice of rubbing the fingernails together to stimulate blood flow to the scalp to aid in hair growth.
I find this much more beneficial for my nails than my hair, but only because it needs to be carried out for much longer for hair growth! I do balayam anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes when I apply cuticle oil. It's a great way to get all the nutrients from your cuticle oil into your nails and skin while stimulating nail growth. Check out the video below for balayam directions.
4. VITAMINS & SUPPLEMENTS
A balanced diet is key for healthy nail growth. Organic fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and salmon are just a few of nutrient-rich foods we should be eating daily. But let's face it, who is really able to consume enough of these foods every day?
To be honest there's no way my nails would be in such great shape without supplements. The number one supplement I recommend for nail growth is Pycnogenol / Pine Bark Extract.
Continued research shows that pine bark contains flavonols and bioflavonoids which hold tissue-repairing properties. It stimulates blood flow along with many other benefits. A few years ago I was advised to take pycnogenol by my alternative health doctor during recovery from an operation for faster healing. I noticed that my nails grew really fast and looked really healthy after a few weeks. I continued taking it ever since!
Another supplement I highly recommend is Omega-3 Fish Oil. I notice a big difference in my skin, hair and nails when I take essential fatty acids, either plant-based or fish oil.
It has many other health benefits too, such as lowering blood pressure, easing pms and boosting your memory. Studies have shown that omega-3 can even improve ADHD symptoms. I recommend Aava Labs Omega-3 Fish Oil to get the correct ratio of omega fatty acids. Plus it's non GMO and wild caught through sustainable fishing.
5. DON'T USE YOUR NAILS AS TOOLS!
This step is just common sense. Don't use your nails to; open cans, remove sticky labels, get keys on or off the key ring, type with, or any of the other things you may be guilty of. Using your nails as tools is the number one thing to weaken them. It creates tiny splits and tears leading to breaks.
Whenever I make a conscious effort to stop using my nails as tools it's much easier to get them all one length. Treat your nails with love and they will grow long and beautiful. And last of all never, ever do the washing up (or any housework) without rubber gloves!!