Facts You Didn’t Know About Your Nails

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Taking care of our hands and feet is one of the most important parts of our daily care essentials but do we truly understand our body’s functioning structure? or do we just like a fresh Mani-Pedi to cure our stresses?

Ladies and Gentlemen here are some top tips to keep your natural nails healthy and growing strong.

The Basics

Nail Unit 

Nails grow from the root of the fingers and toes and their main purpose is to form a hard protective defense. 


The matrix found at the bottom of the nails is a growing part of the nail made up of cells. These are tiny particles that make up all living things. The cells divide to produce the nail plate. 

Nail Plate

The nail plate is the correct name for the nail that covers the nail bed, the portion of the skin on which the nail plate rests. The cells here are clear and have become hardened. These hard cells serve to protect the nail bed below and, become hardened. These hard cells serve to protect the nail bed below. As this part of the nails are clear, it allows you to see if the living nail bed is a healthy pinkish colour. This function of the nail plate is to protect the nail bed. Our nail grows slowly forward over the nail bed, at a rate of about 0.5 mm – 1.2 mm per week! It takes between 4-6 months for a nail plate to grow fully from cuticle free edge.

Nail Bed 

The nail bed is the part of the skin covered by the nail plate. The nail plate and nail bed separate at the free-edge end of the finger. The nail bed is also made up of living cells that contain many blood vessels, which provide the necessary nourishment for Healthy growth and repair; the nail bed also contains nerves that send signals to the predominant system. The functions of the nail bed are to supply nourishment and protection against damage or infections. 


The cuticle is the overlapping skin at the bottom of the nail plate that grows forward onto the nail plate. When the cuticles are overgrown, it can grow thick onto the nail plate and will often split and feel rough, which can then become infected. it is important to keep the cuticles soft and loose by regularly cutting with cuticle nippers and then oiling with cuticle oil or hand lotion. The function of the cuticle is to protect the nail plate from infections.

Free Edge

The free edge is the part of the nail that grows far-off the fingertips. It is usually white, as it does not have the pink nail bed below it. It is the part of the nail that is filed and shaped. The function of the free edge is to protect the fingertip. It is advisable to wear your free edge short to medium length as the extra-long free edge can cause hygiene issues and are more susceptible to break easily causing damage to the nail.

What about the shape of our nails?

Lets jump right into it…

Each person’s hand shape, size, finger length, and nail shape is unique to them. It is important that when selecting a nail shape and length that it suits your hands and fingers. The shaping of the nail plate free edge is done to improve the appearance of the hands and fingers. There are many different types of nail shapes which all have importance. 

The different types of nail shapes explained:

Oval: This is the most common shape, the sides of the free edge are curved. This shape is ideal if your fingers are short and sturdy as it makes the fingers appear slimmer and longer.

Square: This is the standard shape, the free edge is filed straight across. This nail will improve the appearance of thin, long fingers, giving the fingers the illusion to appear fuller and shorter.

Squoval: The modern nail shape that is a combination of oval and square. The nail is filed to a square finished off at the free edge with gently curved corners.

Round Nails: This is one of the earliest shapes that many people are born with, the free edge is rounded and is an ideal shape for short nails, this style is popular with males.

Pointed: Also known as the stiletto nails, this shape is filed diagonally at each side of the free-edge to create a point. It is advisable to avoid the pointed/stiletto nails as this shape weakens the strength of the nail at the sides making it easy to break and damage your nails.

Fan: Traywick explains that often this nail “has no natural grooves on each side so that it is flat as well as fan-shaped. Many times when it is extended, it looks like an ice cream cone because of the V shape at the cuticle.” The nail appears broader as it grows towards the free edge, taking the shape of a fan.

​Other tips for growing natural nails fast:

Vitamin B: According to Healthline taking a regular dose of vitamin B supplements helps boost the strength of hair and nails.

Home Remedies: Try oiling your cuticles and nails every day after washing hands at least 3 times a day. This helps to keep your cuticles smooth giving room to your nail bed to grow naturally.