How To Finally Get Long, Healthy Nails Like A Beauty Editor

by Leeor Bronis

For as long as I could remember, I've been able to maintain long, healthy nails. I don't think it's all entirely due to genetics, either. Since the age of 12, I've spent countless hours Googling “perfect nails” in the hopes of grooming them into the healthy daggers they are today.

I'd never be caught dead biting my nails or cuticles, investing in an arsenal of finger products. Fancy files, buffers, nail scissors and polish? Got 'em.

I'm not perfect, though. I will never go without a manicure, even though many believe rocking bare nails can make them significantly stronger. Hey, I have a reputation to maintain, and perfect nail varnish is key to achieving aesthetically pleasing hands.

I'll be honest, I get a rush when women ask me if my nails are fake; it means they think I have nails so pretty, they couldn't possibly be real. When a woman asks if I've done my manicure myself -- which I always do -- she automatically becomes my favorite person for the day.

When you work hard at something, even something as trivial as pretty nails, it feels good to be recognized for the result.

I'm no expert, but I've cultivated a method to achieving long, healthy nails.

First, start growing those babies out.

As you start the process, try filing your nails in a rounded shape. Ideally, you're supposed to file your nails into the same shape as your nail beds. Though my nail beds are squarer, I round them out because the smooth edges are less likely to snag on something and inevitably rip off.

I also tend to keep my two thumb nails short, as I constantly have to use them to text and open everything from jars to cleaning products. Think of it as an out of sight, out of mind mentality. When you're not constantly reminded of your long nails, you won't be bothered and tempted to chop them off.

In two weeks time, you'll have enviously long nails. If they break, don't freak out, there are lots of nail repair kits out there. Simply glue the broken nail back together, and move on.

Fix It Up Silk Wrap Repair Kit, $20, Amazon 

Give your nails the princess treatment with oils and lotions.

When growing out your nails, it's important to keep you cuticles moisturized in order to strengthen the nails. As your nails grow, your cuticles will naturally grow with them along the nail plate, according to Essie. Don't fret, you can always push them back with a handy tool.

A good oil stops your cuticles from getting dried out and helps prevent gross hang nails.

In the winter, this is especially important because the cold air can dry out every part of your body, including your nails. This can cause them to easily rip off. Sadly, I've lost quite a few good nails to the cold weather, so I've been moisturizing like crazy. Be sure to use a thick cream-based product and push the lotion into the sides of your nails.

When removing your polish, it's also important to choose a non-acetone remover, as the chemical will further dry out your nails and cause breakage.

Apricot Cuticle Oil, $9, Amazon; Healthy Body Butter, $16, Amazon

Be smart about your manicures.

Though I enjoy trying out the latest nail trends, I will never get a gel manicure. Not only does gel polish contain the cancer-causing chemical BHA, but the polish is also set with ultraviolet light, exposing your skin to damaging skin-cancer causing sun rays.

When I see my friends continuously get gel manicures, it kills me because there are so many gel-like products on the market that don't include any of the harsh chemicals found in those manicures.

My DIY mani process contains products that will further strengthen my nails, helping my weekly paint job last longer. First, I start with Essie's First Base Base Coat, as the anti-chipping formula is designed to add durability and shine to the nails.

Essie First Base Base Coat, $9, Amazon 

After applying two coats of my desired color, I finish the look off with my holy grail product, Essie Gel Setter. Trust me, this is the stuff of gods. It ensures the nail doesn't chip and also sets the manicure to glossy, perfection.

Essie Gel Setter Top Coat, $10, Amazon

Water is your nails' worst enemy.

If ever there was an excuse to invest in a dishwasher, this would be it. Water is your mani's worst enemy. It eats away at the polish, causing dreaded chips. Katie Jane Hughes, global color ambassador for Butter London, also told that nails can “swell” in water, leading to “weakened nail beds.”

Opt for rubber gloves when washing dishes and keep your fingernails out of the tub when taking long baths.

I also tend to wear gloves when cleaning my bathroom, as most cleaning products contain harsh chemicals like bleach, which can strip your polish and weaken your nails.