How to Grow Your Nails Out - Tips and Tricks

Makeup & Beauty Tips on How to Grow Your Nails Out

Share your best tips and tricks for growing out your nails!  Feel free to share your experiences, how you mastered techniques, or what you struggle with.

Temptalia’s Tips

  1. In the past, Sally Hansen’s Hard as Nails worked well for me, but this was 10+ years ago.  I haven’t had issues growing nails out in at least that long, so I don’t have any great tips 🙁
  2. Regularly use hand lotion/cream to keep your hands, cuticles, etc. hydrated.
  3. If you bite on your nails, try lightly brushing on acetone/polish remover, lemon, or something spicy a bitter nail treatment (thanks to reader AS1929 for sharing these!) over the edges to deter yourself from biting on them. This is a short-term solution that I’ve done (with polish remover) to help break the habit and make you very conscious of what you’re doing.

Thanks to Sue for today’s topic!


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Courtney K Avatar

For me, the best thing to do is to keep your nails filed and painted. The paint adds an extra bit of armor to help prevent them from breaking. I find that the OPI Nail Envy original formula works best to harden my nails and keep them strong. I can just brush it on between manicures and go. I also use it as a base.

Jenny Avatar

OPI Nail Envy has always worked wonders for me, regular use helped strengthen and harden my nails so I can grow them out longer without any chipping or breaking. It works as both a strengthener and base coat for me =) That and trying not to whack one’s hands into random surfaces and objects. I’ve recently broken my long index fingernail by accident.

Karen Avatar

I know this is going to sound very radical, and totally the opposite of what everyone else says, but: after painting my nails weekly for many years, I took several months “off” from nail polish. And guess what? My nails are longer and stronger and more healthy and beautiful than they’ve been in years. None of the usual chipping and splitting. Something to consider trying.

Andrea Avatar

I also noticed that if you file your nails in a more rounded shape, they are less likely to break than if they are squared, which in turn allow all nails to grow out and grow evenly too.

Ellen Avatar

Make sure you invest in good, sharp nail clippers! My nails had problems with splitting, and after switching to a new pair of clippers because they were closer, I discovered that my nails grew beautifully without splitting!

I also love Essie’s Apricot Cuticle Oil.

Gretchen Avatar

I’ve been using the OPI’s Nail Envy and I have found that it does seem to strengthen my nails. For me, it also turns them that horrible orange/yellow color (like having worn a deep red with no undercoat) as well as making them split more severely than before I used it. The splitting doesn’t happen until they’ve grown out to a nice length and then when they do split they split to nail bed. I think I am done with this product. I might trying eating more vitamins and in the past I have taken prenatal vitamins, which also seemed to help.

AS1929 Avatar

Acetone will evaporate from the nail almost immediately and will not leave any flavor to deter biting. Keeping nails and cuticles free of rough edges through proper grooming, and promptly trimming hangnails, will reduce the sensations that trigger biting in many people. If the behavior is highly disturbing or results in repeated damage to the eponychium or nail plate, it is best to see a doctor or psychiatrist to explore psychological or pharmacological treatments of the obsessive behavior that is resulting in self-harm.

Christine Avatar

Is it just polish remover that’s not 100% acetone that leaves a taste? I would use polish remover (this was maybe five years or so ago?) to help deter me from gnawing (when I get stressed, I’ll still bite at times) out of boredom, because it had such a bitter taste.

AS1929 Avatar

I would guess that it is the other additives in the polish remover that would leave a taste, e. g. the emollients, colors, fragrances. The solvents themselves, such as acetone or ethyl acetate, would dissipate quickly. There are products available on the market designed to leave a bitter residue for nail biting treatment that might be a better option since all the ingredients are safe for ingestion. However anything containing solvents such as acetone or alcohol (including many bitter solutions) will dry out the skin and nail, which could cause roughness that increases the urge to nibble.

Christine Avatar

I only would do it for maybe a couple of days (I certainly wouldn’t say to soak your hands or nails in alcohol for weeks on end), as it was more about becoming aware and stopping behavior (and I only speak from what I did and that it took me from biting CONSTANTLY to only biting maybe once a month or less – when I’m super stressed out). I’m still trying to find something to help me to do the same with my posture 😉 I’m the person who just bites on the actual nail – not to break it, not skin, just the nail, lol!

I didn’t know they had bitter nail biting treatments available, so that’s great! I am definitely going to look into those. Thanks so much for sharing!

AS1929 Avatar

It’s great that you were able to find something that worked for you. Your nails are so beautifully and exceptionally healthy. It’s fantastic whenever people can take something like bitten nails, which can be a source of shame or anxiety, and make them into something in which they take joy. Avatar

I have been using the Sally Hansen Hard as Nails nail hardener as a base coat for 3 years now. It has really improved breakage and my nails are very thick. I think keeping them painted and the rounded edges definitely helps me.

Amy Avatar

OPI Nail Envy is expensive, but it’s a miracle worker. I also noticed a difference when I started using a glass nail file in terms of nail health. I bit my nails until I was about 18 and I think what finally got me out of the habit was buying nice nail polish that I loved and keeping my nails painted and looking good so I didn’t want to ruin them! I also became more of a germophobe that that age, so I didn’t want my hands in my mouth, haha!

Michelle Avatar

For me, Burt’s Bees cuticle cream massaged on the cuticles and then onto the nails has worked WONDERS! I am a chronic nail biter and my nails are always really weak. But the cuticle cream has made them much stronger in no time.

Kristen Avatar

Lots of good nail biting suggestions here. If it’s really distressing, don’t hesitate in seeking professional help. I can be a compulsive disorder, and can be treated. Don’t feel ashamed. No one is perfect. Some of us are less perfect than others, and that’s okay.

If it a nail strength issue, I’ve had great success taking Biotin (10,000 MCG) once daily and using CND solar oil every night. The biotin makes them grow faster and the solar oil keeps them hydrated so they don’t peel as easily. I still don’t have the strongest nails in the world, but I can now actually grow them long enough so I have to trim them sometimes (instead of just fixing tears and peeling).

xamyx Avatar

I was a chronic nail biter until I got braces at 16, but since that’s not a convenient solution, I would suggest chewing gum. When I was younger, I would chew gum in the Summer, and it really worked, but when I would go back to school, it wasn’t allowed. as a result, my nails looked great 3 months out of the year, LOL. I’m also a huge fan of Sally Hansen Hard As Nails, not only as a nail protectant (it doesn’t “strengthen nails once removed), and as a basecoat, as it does wonders for me in terms of making my polish last longer. I wouldn’t recommend using anything like acetone, alcohol, lemon juice, or even those products designed to curb biting; for one, they’ll actually dry out the nail, leading to splitting/peeling/tearing, and I’ve known many who’ve tried them, but just got used to the taste. there’s also the constant reapplication, if you wash your hands regularly, or use moisturizer. Regular filing is also important, especially if you’re just getting used to your nails being longer.

daheep Avatar

I read somewhere that nail strength was related to 3 things; genetics, age, & diet. There’s only so much you can do for the first two, but you can cut some junk out & add more protein & nutrient-rich foods instead. Also get some good multivitamins & take them religiously. Other things that I find encourage growth are: Moisturizing whenever possible & be sure to massage the cuticle area, wear gloves when doing dishes or digging in the garden, try not to linger to long in the bath/shower, avoid soaking nails in strong chemicals (acetone, bleach, alcohol, gasoline, ammonia etc), take extra care when dealing with rough surfaces (brickwork, pavement, etc), & don’t use your nails as tools to open or score things.

Tigerlily Avatar

Your advice on the bath/shower reminds me of something my dermatologist told me: water appears to make nails weaker. So one should try 1) not to wash their hands too many times a day (i.e. not compulsively which I was guilty of) and 2) to use what is called in french ‘surgras’ (+- ‘lipid’ in english?) soap such as La Roche-Posay’s Lipikar, which is extra mild and won’t be as hard on the nails as regular soaps.

Alinda Avatar

I have found my holy grail nailhardener: Trind Nail Repair Natural. I have been using it for years and I’m still amazed at the results. My nails are really hard, don’t break, grow really long and are smooth and easy to maintain. Also i tend to keep my hands really moisturised, especially my cuticles. I oil them every day and push them back carefully once a week after using Sally Hansen Cuticle Remover. I don’t clip my nails, just file them every 2 weeks with a thick glass nailfile from the brand Koh. This all has changed my nails completely!

Kate Avatar

There is a product called ‘stop ‘n’ grow’ sold in high street chemists/drugstores here in UK. It is so vile and bitter you will learn very quickly never to put your fingers anywhere near your mouth! Hope you can find it over there, if not I’ll post you one!

Marilyn Avatar

Taking a biotin supplement. My mom started taking it because she has thinning hair, and noticed that her nails are also growing like weeds. I’ve just started taking it too. Also, If you wash dishes by hand, gloves are your friends.

Abbey W Avatar

Yes! Biotin! I started taking it about two months ago and it has worked wonders. Also, Christine, the reason the nail polish remover worked for you is because most companies add a bitterant to deter children from drinking it. Pure acetone won’t have that, but most nail polish removers sold in stores do.

Jennifer Avatar

T.I.P.S. nail polish remover available from QVC. It is the best nail polish remover I’ve ever used and the only one that makes my nails healthier every time I use it. Moisturizes nails and cuticles and makes my nails super strong.

Leslie Avatar

I usually use OPI Nail Envy to keep my nails looking nice. Just recently I started painting nails with CND Vinylux polish. Since using their polishes, my nails have grown like crazy.

VickyM Avatar

Up until now, I only paint my toes and I´m perfectly fine with that, also is part of the reason for me not to have expensive nail polish, since most of my collection is made of drugstore brands with only two exceptions. I actually find biting my nails kind of fun, not willing to give up on that anytime soon :p .

Rusty Avatar

Thanks for the 3 tips! But I think what really works and works best is the usual eat well, rest well and have enough exercise. In other words, a healthy lifestyle. I also heard that eating certain vitamins and supplements help them to grow faster and stronger as well. Also, keep your nails free from manicures/nail polishes from time to time so that they can regain their strength and not become weaker as time goes by. 🙂

Monica G. Avatar

I swear by OPI Nail Envy! My nails used to be weak, peely, and never grew past my fingertips. After using this product for a few months, my nails became noticeably stronger and longer. After a year of use, my nails are super strong and healthy. I also refrain from using nail clippers to cut my nails unless I want to shorten them a significant amount, I find that it causes splitting. I prefer my nails a square shape, so I file them once a week to maintain the shape and to shorten them. To prevent biting, just keep your nails painted a non-neutral color. Just the thought of ingesting nail polish grosses me out and it’s poisonous!

Malia Avatar

But what about those with weak nails? I don’t bite and never have, never will, but my nails are really thin and tend to peel. I dont have opi where I am either. I use cuticle oils, balms, and olive and almond oils. I eat well, sleep fine, take vitamins, etc. etc. but no matter what my nails are small 🙁

Jennifer Powell Avatar

Nothing consistently worked for my peeling nails until I started reading up on your blog. Duri rejuvacote has worked wonders for my nails. They are harder, stronger and rarely break. I’ve had great success with duri. Another one that worked for me temporarily was nailtiques 2 protein formula but it wasn’t as consistent.

Dora Avatar

I have bitten my nails for 40 years and have only stopped a few months ago. I tried the bitter stuff and every other tip I had heard without success. What finally worked for me was nibbling on whole flax seeds with my front teeth. Nibbling on them is the same sensation as biting nails–I just made sure to always have some nearby. Simutaneously, I kept my cuticles moisturized with an emolient cuticle salve and kept my nails filed when they were long enough. I began using Sally Hansen Hard as Nails. For the first time in my life, my nails are long and strong. I hope these suggestions will be helpful for others who can’t break this habit.

Becca @ The Beauty Sample Avatar

Biotin supplements are supposed to help with hair and nail growth. They also sell Viviscal at drugstores like CVS now. It’s supposed to be good; supposedly all the professionals and models use that. I also like to take fish oil. Oh and apply cuticle every single night and really massage the area–I think it really helps to stimulate growth!

Montréalaise Avatar

I’ve always had nails that break, split and peel easily; my mother does too, even though we both have super-healthy diets, so there must be a genetic component! A couple of months ago, I started moisturizing my hands as an experiment: every time I washed my hands (and I do mean every time, even if it meant doing this ten+ times a day) I slathered on hand lotion, really rubbing it into my cuticles. I did this at before going to bed as well, adding some cuticle oil for good measure. The results were very gratifying: my nails stopped splitting and peeling, and actually grew longer (I had never been able to grow them past my fingertips before).

Diane Avatar

I bit my nails for years, and wore press-ons to cover them. It’s only in the last 5-6 years that I’ve stopped biting, and let them grow. Like many others, I swear by OPI’s Nail Envy (I prefer the matte formula) for strength.

If you’re a biter, I find that smoothing out the edge of the nail helps a lot in starting the growth; my biggest problem was feeling that one little jagged edge catch on something, and then I’d be chewing the entire free edge off. Now, I always carry a nail file, nail clippers, and cuticle trimmers in my purse. I had to teach myself to reach for the manicure tools instead of biting, and it took a few years, but I did it.

When my nails are short, I keep them polished with a very light or clear strengthener, just to give them that added layer of protection.

Christina J. Avatar

Prenatal vitamins! I took these when I was carrying my son and my hair grew almost two inches in as many months and my nails grew hard and long. After I had my son three years ago, I continued to take these because they are so beneficial for so many reasons.

Leenie Avatar

How I keep my nails long? I keep my nails painted if I see chipping or fading of the nail polish I redo them and I make sure my nails are are filed down smooth. Acrylic and false nails weakens your real nails so that’s a big no no for me

Elizabeth Avatar

I will bite my nails when I am stressed out (nasty habit) but what helps for me is keeping my nails painted. I have used Essie’s- ‘grow faster 5 day growth treatment’ and it works. I used it as a base coat then painted my nails with a pretty nail polish color.

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