From the classic French manicure to the modern ‘glazed doughnut’ trend, nails have long been a tool for self-expression. However, the foundation of any nail art is strong, healthy nails. And that’s not always easy to come by.
Wondering how to grow your nails fast? Here, we break down what influences nail growth, how to maintain healthy, strong nails and what to avoid when learning how to make nails grow faster.
Understanding nail growth
Your nails are made up of many layers of a protein called keratin. When healthy, the keratin is hard and durable, and nails will be smooth and shiny, free from any grooves or discolouration. Weak, brittle and easily damaged nails are generally a sign that your body is lacking essential nutrients and amino acids that facilitate a healthy environment for nail growth. Dehydration is also a trigger for peeling, cracked and dull nails.
Nail growth and the condition of keratin begin within the nail bed and the roots of the nail. It’s here that collagen, the most abundant protein in the body, plays an important role. Collagen is rich in a variety of amino acids, particularly arginine and proline, both of which are essential in promoting nail growth. Arginine, as an amino acid, contributes nutrients and oxygen to various tissues, including those found in the nail beds and nail roots. Meanwhile, proline supports the synthesis of keratin.
When the nail bed is healthy and provided the nutrients it needs, nails will not only grow faster, they’ll also be more durable and less likely to split or tear and stunt nail growth. Unfortunately, as we age collagen production naturally slows leaving nails more susceptible to peeling, breakage and brittleness.
Tips for faster nail growth
Learning how to grow your nails doesn’t have to be complicated. But it does require patience. The key to nails growing fast starts with good general health and nutrition that’s maintained by simple habits including:
- Keep your nails trimmed and clean
- Regularly hydrate the nail bed with a cuticle oil
- Avoid prolonged use of nail polish, shellac or artificial nails
- Protect your nails with gloves when cleaning, gardening or using chemicals
- Avoid biting or picking at your nails
- Add nourishing foods to your diet
- Use a daily collagen supplement
Nail care maintenance
As they grow nails need to be properly maintained to prevent splitting or peeling. Keeping your nails clean and trimmed through regular grooming is essential for boosting the strength of your nails and encouraging nail growth. Use high-quality tools like sharp nail scissors and a glass nail file that allow you to keep your nails tidy without risk of damage. It’s important to keep your tools clean to prevent the transfer of bacteria.
You also need to be gentle with your nails. Keep your nails hydrated using a cuticle oil or moisturiser and avoid prolonged periods with wet nails as this can weaken the nail bed. And don’t forget to keep up your internal hydration.
Dietary habits for nourishing nails
Like hair and skin, nail health is influenced by nutrition. So, adjustments to your diet can help to maintain nail strength and help you grow your nails faster. Biotin is a key nutrient that promotes healthy nail growth so foods such as eggs, wholegrains and nuts that are rich in biotin are a good place to start. Other recommended foods include:
- Protein-rich foods including meat and eggs
- Protein-rich grains like quinoa or nuts
- Dark, leafy greens rich in calcium, iron and antioxidants
- Orange and yellow veggies that are packed with vitamin A
- Foods rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
We know that collagen is an essential nutrient helping to grow nails, as well as supporting your hair and skin health. However, collagen in our diet doesn’t always do the trick. Food is an inefficient source of collagen as the molecules are too large to be effectively absorbed. Vida Glow’s Natural Marine Collagen is a hydrolysed peptide powder that is activated to be absorbed more efficiently by the body. Daily supplementation works in conjunction with good nutrition to help replenish collagen stores and support nail bed health.
Mistakes to avoid for optimal nail growth
Once you have your nail growth routine in place, preventing further damage is key to long, strong nails. It’s best to avoid topical products that can be considered toxic and cause damage to your nails or nail bed. Some polishes, hardening products and polish removers containing ingredients like formaldehyde, acetone, toluene and more lead to dry and brittle nails.
Frequent use of artificial nails such as acrylics or gel manicures, and the glue used for at-home press-on nails, may also prevent your nails growing fast. Harsh, drying and damaging ingredients, as well as the mechanical disruption of the nail surface, leave nails thin and weak.
Your nails reflect your overall health so it’s important to nourish your body with essential vitamins, nutrients and proteins that maintain optimum health. Due to the natural decrease in the production of collagen that occurs as we age, supplementing with high-quality collagen like Natural Marine Collagen is an effective way to support the healthy environment that nails need to grow. Strong, healthy nails are one of the first changes people who supplement daily with collagen notice making it a convenient way to battle weak, brittle nails.