What to Do When Your Nails Just Won't Grow

Tips for your tips.

Caitlin M.
ByCaitlin M.

You take your supplements, you stopped biting your nails, and you gave up those weekly gel manicures. But alas, long and strong nails still seem like a pipe dream. If this sounds far too familiar, listen up. Hope is not completely lost! There are a few things you can do to encourage your nails to grow. We chatted with celebrity nail artist (and founder of JiNsoon Nail Lacquer), Jin Soon Choi to get her expert tips for what to do when your nails just won't grow.

Eat properly

If you're not seeing the pretty tips you crave, you might need to rethink your diet. Eating protein and vitamin-enriched foods can help with nail growth, explains Jin. "If you’re afraid you’re not getting enough from the foods you eat, make sure to take supplements like fish oils, flaxseed oil or the biotin." Another thing you can do for stronger tips: eat gelatin. "I know it sounds weird, but gelatin helps nails grow long and strong," says Jin. "Hand models have been using this trick for years."

Keep 'em groomed

"I can never stress enough about moisturizing your nails and cuticles!" she says. "You should be applying a cuticle oil at least twice a day, more in the winter due to the dryness in the air." She also suggests giving nails a week in between each polish application to allow them to breathe. If the thought of going completely bare nailed sends shivers down your spine, Jin says it's best to turn to polishes that do not contain harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde, toluene, and camphor. "Do you research when it comes to selecting polish shades—your nails will thank you," she adds.

Practice safe removal

Acrylics and gels get a bad wrap when it comes to manicures. But it’s actually the removal process that can do the most harm to nails, explains Jin. To avoid damage, Jin says to make sure that you are properly removing your manicure every time. "Never peel anything off your nails, even regular polish!" she says. However, if the damage is already done, Jin suggests doubling up on your water and vitamin intake and keeping nails as moisturized as possible to combat the damage. "Reversing the damage will take time, be patient," she adds.

Use the right products

1) A nail file: "I recommend everyone have a great nail filer on hand at all times," says Jin. "Be gentle however, overfilling can cause a lot of damage as well."

2) Cuticle oil and cream: Apply these every single day, says Jin.

3) Sunscreen: "Don’t forget your hands when protecting from the sun and especially, if you use any type of UV lighting for any nail look," she says.

4) Orange sticks: "These are very inexpensive and are a great tool to have when doing manicures at home," she says. "Pushing back your cuticles on a weekly basis will keep nails look clean." But, she adds, leave the cutting to the professionals.

5) A base coat: "Never skip on applying a base coat," she says. "It is the most important step. A base coat allows the polish to go on smoothly and stay longer."

What are your go-to nail products? Share with us your picks in the comment section.

About the Author
Caitlin M.
Caitlin M.
Runner. Music lover. All things nachos. Follow me on Instagram: @caitlinsmiller