How I Finally Got The Long Nails I've Never Been Able To Grow Before

Over the past few months I’ve tried everything I could think of to get my nails strong, healthy and long, but nothing seems to work. In the end, I turned to the dark side…

My nails have always been iffy. My cuticles and skin are always dry, and I get hangnails constantly that I often can’t help but rip off. The actual nails themselves are even worse: they peel, they crack, and if I do manage to get them just a little bit longer than usual, they tend to simply break right off.

When my nails grow in, looking at the tips is almost like looking at a cross section of an onion: there are weird layers, and the top layer will come loose and peel off, leaving the thinner more fragile lower layer exposed. They get caught on my tights and sweaters constantly, and sometimes it’s just plain painful when they break.

I’ve known for a while now I need to do something about them, but what?

My first step was Butter London Horse Power Nail Fertilizer. Praised as the best nail product ever by my healthy-nailed friends, I figured this was the place to start. I got a bottle of Horse Power and a bottle of Melt Away Cuticle Eliminator, and for an entire month carefully followed the directions:

“Apply one coat to clean dry nails. Reapply every day (alone or under lacquer) for seven days, then remove. Repeat for four weeks, or until nails have reached desired strength. A one month break is recommended after each full treatment cycle.”

Well, four weeks went by, and I’m sorry to report not too much had changed. Though it works for so many folks, my nails seemed to be too far gone. They did look a little bit better, though: they were still breaking and peeling, but not as often, and they were definitely harder to the touch.

Melt Away also helped aesthetically, as I was finally keeping my cuticles in check.

Next, I added vitamins. I started taking a vegan multi, and a silica supplement. I figured if I couldn’t fully fix my nails from the outside, fixing them from the inside would do the trick.

I also started to moisturize properly: I used Rosebud salve on my cuticles if I was out and they seemed dry, and Burt’s Bee’s Hand Salve every night. I started putting Davines authentic nourishing oil on my cuticles every couple of days and every time I painted my nails, and I even bought a new Tropical Shine nail file and brought it around everywhere with me like a crazy nail lady.

On top of all of this, I continued using Horse Power nail fertilizer almost constantly.

With all of this effort, my nails definitely improved, but they were still nowhere near perfect. They broke and cracked, though less often, and still felt extremely fragile. They looked great when I painted them, but awful when the polish was removed.

And so I reached my last straw:

Kiss sent me a package of super-pretty press-ons, a route I had never even thought to try. I’ve never worn fake nails of any sort, probably because I always just imagined big, long French tips; but these were tasteful and cute, and I figured it couldn’t hurt to try a new route. Maybe having longer fake nails would help my real nail underneath grow in undisturbed and strong?

So, turns out press-on nails are my new favourite thing.

As someone who has never had the chance to feel what long nails feel like, these fakes are nothing short of a miracle. For my first try, I used Kiss Gel Fantasy nails in Charmed Life, a glittery rainbow set fit for a mermaid.

Though I got off to a bit of a rough start (I put the wrong size on the wrong nail, then applied a whole hand upside down and had to restart), the nails were pretty easy to shape and use. My little packet came with glue, stickers, a file, and an instruction booklet (which I clearly didn’t think I needed to follow).

I had to cut them a lot shorter and round the tips, but all in all, putting these on was like getting an affordable, instant nail transplant. I can’t stop tapping my fingernails on things!

Who knows if using press-ons with do more harm than good for my nails, but I’m hoping my real nails will prosper under their new rainbow shield. Barring that, I’m not sure what to try next; if I went for Alle’s tea bag tip I’d be covering my entire nail in fabric weekly, or maybe I should just invest in some Eve Lom cuticle cream and see how my nails fare?

Give me all your nail tips! I want strong beautiful nails.