If you found this, then you probably have the same problem I do- short, stubby nails (and in my case hands, too).
I was blessed with terrible hand genes. My hands are tiny and my nail beds are wider than they are short (think “squatty”). 31 years later (and many months after I first wrote this post) I learned I actually have hereditary clubbing on most of my nails. Yay for bad genetics!
This makes my nails look short and unattractive.
Lately I decided that, unless by some miracle of cosmetic science they discover a way to completely replace your fingernails (or even give me robot fingernails- that would be cool), then I’m stuck with these stubs.
I started googling it and discovered that, to my dismay, I’m pretty much out of luck. I’ve tried the hair and nail vitamins, I’ve tried acrylic nails (they destroy my real nails), and I’ve tried the Sally Hansen pink nail growth polish (I’m allergic to it).
Nothing seems to help. My nails are brittle, snag easily, and grow out strangely- they’re still wider than they are long and the nailtip is very flimsy.
Yesterday I decided that I was going to try to do something about it. I was going to try to embrace my nails since I’m stuck with them.
If you also have short, stubby nails, fear not. Think like an artist and use illusion to add length while you try to grow your nails out.
Here’s the steps:
1. Apply a basecoat
2. Find a design
4. Spray your nails with hairspray from several inches away- too close and the Sharpie will smear.
5. Wait until the hairspray is completely try, then apply a thick topcoat. A thinner topcoat made my Sharpie design smear.
6. Do not clip your nails, file them. Clipping damages nails like ours.
1. I opted to buy a light nude color as a basecoat. I found Covergirl’s Outlast in “Forever Frosted” # 115. I’m very fair, so this color matches my skin tone.
At this point I have to say that I am incredibly inexperienced with painting my nails, considering I have never cared about them before. My paint jobs are always uneven, so I usually opt for a glittery or frosted polish because they seem to be forgiving.
Protip: if you don’t paint all the way to the edge of your nails and nail bed it will make your nails look a little longer. It won’t magically give you longer nails, but hopefully the results will be better than what you expected.
Use a small paintbrush dipped in nail polish remover to “cut in” around the edge of your nails. I also read drawing around the edges with Elmer’s white glue works, but I haven’t tried it yet.
I didn’t even even have nail polish remover (I told you I never cared about my nails before!) so I just tried to leave that gap around each nail by hand.
2. I started thinking about art and illusion. Vertical lines help lengthen the body, and patterns help hide imperfections.
I’m too cheap to go to the nail salon and I’m too embarrassed of my stubs to go if I wasn’t cheap, so I started researching something I had seen on Pinterest- Sharpie manicures. Here’s another great site for ideas.
I LOVE Sharpies. For our first Valentine’s day as a married couple I asked for Sharpies- and I still have most of them. That was 9 years ago, so they last a while.
3. I just started dotting. Heavy dots, and light dots, in quick movements. The best part is that the Sharpie comes off with rubbing alcohol, so if you mess up or if you’re a perfectionist like me you can just take it off and try again.
I’m happy with it and I hope that it will encourage me to let me nails grow, stop picking my cuticles, and embrace what nature gave me.
4. Spray your nails with hairspray from several inches away and let them dry completely.
I discovered step 4 after trial and error. If you apply the topcoat without this step the Sharpie will smear (or at least it did for me)
5. Add your topcoat. Also discovered through trial and error- if you use a thin layer of topcoat you risk more smearing. I used a thick layer and even then a few of the dots smeared to streaks. The picture above was taken before I added the topcoat.
6. Never clip your nails, file them instead. I read several articles that talked about how clipping short nails like ours causes more damage to our already delicate nails. File them lightly to shape them.