So you've quit biting your nails, but how do you make them grow? Allure 's got the scoop from a nail pro on how to grow the best talons you can.
One of my biggest accomplishments in 2013 (beauty or otherwise) was quitting my nail-biting habit cold turkey. After years of chewing my nails down to the quick, it feels great to look down and see white tips. But with longer nails comes greater responsibility. I've learned that you have to commit to a shape, and then file weekly to maintain it and avoid breakage. I asked Jessica Washick, manicurist and blogger, how best to take care of my nails.
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Is there a secret to growing long nails? "Eat healthy! That's the foundation of every beauty secret. I eat a lot of avocados and healthy fats. I also moisturize year-round with Londontown's Restorative Nail Cream  ($35), which comes with white gloves, so it's almost like getting a paraffin wax treatment."
What's the biggest mistake people make when filing their own nails? "You should never go back and forth with the file. It's a common mistake, and while you may not see damage right away, over time, it damages and weakens the layers of the nail. Instead, file each side of the nail toward the center. Deborah Lippmann 's nail files are my all-time favorite. They're not too soft or too harsh."
Long, pointed nails are everywhere lately. Is it possible to get them at home without using fake nails? "First, if you have small, short nails, you don't want them to come to a point. It will look too severe, like cat claws — and not in a cute way. I suggest an almond shape. File the sides toward the center like you're shaping them into a point; then just round out the point. The sharper the point, the more prone it is to breakage. Use a buffer to smooth out any invisible rough patches that might snag and cause a break."
My nails are yellow when I take off my polish. What can I do about that? "The best thing you can do is dip them in a solution that's four parts water and one part hydrogen peroxide for 10 minutes. Recently, I tried dropping two denture-cleansing tablets into a bowl of shallow water and soaking my nails in it. I was intrigued, because they clean tough stains on teeth, and nails and teeth are both translucent. It worked, but now I have denture tablets in my bathroom cabinet. Also, always use a base coat, and if you're applying glitter, use two coats of base coat."
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