14 Tips And Tricks That Will Improve Your Life If You Have Long Nails

"You just did salt cooler than I'll ever do salt in my life," Seth Meyers told Rihanna after she used her acrylic nail to scoop salt for a shot of tequila. To Meyers, her method looked cool as hell (to be fair, it looked cool as hell to all of us), but Rihanna wasn't using her nail to look awesome. She was using her nail out of necessity.


When you have nails as long as Rihanna, many simple tasks become much more difficult than they are when your nails are short. Typing, texting, applying skincare, and opening items suddenly become much tougher once those tips are applied, and anyone sporting a long manicure needs to find ways to complete those everyday tasks without breaking a nail or poking an eye out. But fear not — we're here to help. These 14 tips and tricks will change your life if you have long nails.

Every part of your finger can be used as a tool

When you have long nails, you'll get used to being creative. You'll soon discover that our fingers are useful past just the tips. Trust us — every part of your finger can be used in some way. The pads of your fingers will be used for scrolling and typing. Your index finger and middle finger will be used to grab items. The palm of your hand will be used to open jars. Every single bit of your finger will be put to use.


If you don't regularly use your fingers for various tasks, take some time to exercise them. Using your fingers promotes hand dexterity, which is vital as you age. It helps prevent arthritis, and some research has even suggested it's related to executive function. Suffice it to say, hand dexterity is important, and research also suggests that it can be negatively impacted by long nails. Combat this by completing hand exercises that promote dexterity. The longer your hands are in use, the longer you'll be able to maintain long nails.

Skincare products can be applied with the top of your nails

If you have long nails, you know the struggle that is applying skincare products, especially those that come in jars. But we'll let you in on a little secret — your nails can be used to retrieve those products. Instead of dipping your finger into the entire jar, just use the top of your nail. You'll have to clean your nails afterward, but it'll be less messy if you only use your nail instead of trying to use your whole finger.


If this doesn't excite you, you do have another option. Instead of using your nails to get skincare products from the jar, use small rubber makeup spatulas. These will do the trick just as well, and you won't have to clean your nails afterward. If that option is just as thrilling as using your nails, save yourself the trouble and use skincare products that come from squeeze bottles instead of jars.

Tweezers are important -- keep them nearby

We all know how useful tweezers are when it comes to plucking stray hairs, but a good pair of tweezers can also be used in place of your fingers when you've got talons too long for tiny tasks. Whether you're trying to grab something thin or need to tug at something you can't quite get a grip on, tweezers are essential when you've got a long manicure. We recommend keeping a pair nearby at all times. Have tweezers in your purse and your car, in your kitchen and your bathroom, and anywhere else necessary. It may seem like overkill to have so many pairs of tweezers at various locations, but you'll be happy you were prepared when you're in a pinch.


Since tweezers, when used as intended, touch your face, we recommend purchasing pairs of tweezers to use in place of your fingers and nails that are separate from the tweezers you use on your body. This will keep harmful bacteria away from your body, and it'll prevent unwanted breakouts. And like with your facial tweezers, be sure to disinfect the ones you use in place of your nails on a regular basis.

Pliers need to be ready, too

Tweezers are necessary, but they don't always get the job done. For heavy-duty tasks, keep a pair of pliers around. Follow all the same rules in stashing pliers and keeping them clean as you would a pair of pliers, and you'll be grateful every time you need to pry something open that requires a grip that tweezers and your fingers can't give you. Pliers are strong, versatile instruments that will be incredibly useful in maintaining your main.


Pliers are easy to find, too. They're sold individually, but there are lots of other multi-tools that include pliers, many of which include other instruments that are useful in place of nails. One multi-tool might include pliers, a nail file, a corkscrew, a bottle opener, and scissors, all of which can make life with long nails much easier. You won't be able to keep these tools in your purse because certain places with security will confiscate them, but they're handy to keep around the house, in your car, or packed in your checked bag while you're traveling.

Car keys are essential for prying

If there's one thing long nails can't do, it's getting underneath a built-in tab. Well, they could get underneath, but you risk breaking or chipping your nail, and nobody wants that. To avoid this nuisance, keep car keys around. They're excellent for prying everything, whether it's a pop can, a can of vegetables, or some other can. (Not much needs to be pried off other than the tops of aluminum cans. Nevertheless, they're present enough in our lives for them to be an issue with long nails.)


The downside to this tip is that we're living in an increasingly keyless world. You might not have traditional car keys or house keys. They're becoming a thing of the past. Thankfully there are still keys in circulation, so if you don't have a set on hand to use, just go purchase one. It doesn't need to open any doors, just aluminum cans. Visit a hardware store or purchase a key necklace online. There are several ways to find a key if you drive a push-to-start.

Your credit cards can be used for more than just paying for your manicure

Credit cards are another super useful tool. If you've ever seen someone use a credit card in place of an ice scraper on a cold winter morning when their defrost isn't working quickly enough, you know that these little babies are versatile and strong. Use them to pick up coins and grab other thin items from the ground or the floor. Slide them underneath small items. Use two in tandem as makeshift grabbers. Credit cards are surprisingly handy, and they're easy to carry around.


If you're worried about your current credit cards breaking, use old ones instead. If you routinely shred your credit cards after they've expired, use something similar, like a hotel key card, an insurance card, or the fake ID you used in college and kept for sentimental reasons. Anything that's small and thin and made of strong plastic will suffice. And you'll be especially pleased if it can fit in your wallet.

Knuckles can be used as fingers

Another part of your finger that need not be ignored when you have long nails is your knuckle. Knuckles, though a little thicker and tougher to use, can be used in place of the pads of your fingers. They can complete tasks like removing contact lenses, popping open certain lids, and grabbing items. They're not quite as useful as other parts of your fingers, but they're more useful than the tips of your fingers when you have long nails.


You will need to exercise some caution when using your knuckles, though. Knuckles are built much differently than the pads of your fingers — they're knobby and not as soft — so it's important that you're gentle with them to avoid injuring either another part of your body or your knuckles themselves. You also might need to practice using your knuckles in place of the tops of your fingers as it's not the most natural replacement.

Extra nail files need to be kept in your purse, car, and bedside table

It's also essential that you keep extra nail files nearby. These serve a dual purpose — keeping your nails properly filed and acting as a tool to grab things. As we know, as our nails grow, they become a bit unruly. Sure, they still look good, but the edges become sharp and jagged, making any tasks we're able to do with our actual hands a disaster. To avoid scratching yourself and others or snagging your new dress, keep the right kind of nail file handy to smooth those jagged edges. You'll also find a nearby nail file handy when your nails grow out and get caught in your hair — filing down the edges near your cuticles can prevent hair pulling during hair washing.


And as noted, nail files can also be used as grabbers. They're not the most effective because of their shape, but if you need to push or pull something that you can't with your fingers, a nail file will work. And if you have two of them, you can use them like chopsticks to pick things up.

Your nails themselves can also be used for delicate tasks

Don't totally discount the use of your nails, though. For super delicate tasks, get well acquainted with your actual nails, and use them as a tool. If you're doing something that requires a gentle touch, like lightly tugging a string or turning a page, your nails can be used the same way you'd use tweezers or pliers. This tip won't work with every nail shape or even every nail length, but it's worth giving a go, especially if you don't like carrying extra tools around.


For this tip to work, though, it's important that you keep your nails properly filed. If you're working with fabrics or fragile items, the slightest pinch or swipe of a jagged nail can snag or tear whatever you're working with, while a nail with a smooth edge will be your saving grace. If you have stiletto or square nails, make sure the tips and corners of your nails are smooth, too. You don't need to dull them down so your nails lose their shape — filing from the underside to ensure they're smooth will work fine.

Gloves will be your saving grace

It might seem goofy to suggest to someone with long nails to wear gloves, but hear us out — this is an important tip. For the moments when you're worried your nails will get caught on something or get dirty, wear gloves. This is a great tip for anyone who likes to be in the kitchen, too. Plastic or rubber gloves will help keep your nails from gathering food underneath while you're cooking. And when it comes to working with certain meats, like chicken, keeping your nails clean is important to maintain your own health and hygiene.


And don't worry — there are plenty of gloves available to fit over your long nails. You just need to look for them. Regarding fabric gloves, look for pairs that are designed for long fingers. These will have extra space inside for your nails. And if you're after rubber or plastic gloves, find options that are meant for large hands. There will be extra material around your palm, but it'll be worth it to protect your nails.

Contact lenses can be removed with cotton swabs

Dealing with contact lenses can be an absolute nightmare for people with long nails. The lenses themselves are small and fragile, and you have to touch your eye. Luckily there are some methods to make removing contact lenses easier. One such method: using cotton swabs. Instead of using your fingers, use two cotton swabs to gently pop the lens off your eye. Swap ends and grab the lens from the other eye using the same method. It's quick and painless, and it's much easier than trying to avoid a coffin nail to the iris.


If you don't like putting cotton in your eyes, there are rubber tools you can purchase that can be used in the same fashion. They look like tweezers, and they're reusable. You'll have to be vigilant about cleaning them since they're touching your eyes, but it's a more economical and eco-friendly option than using cotton swabs. There are plenty of tools available to help put your lenses in, too if that's also an issue for you.

Pens of all sorts can be of use for various reasons

If you have long nails, don't get rid of your pens when they run out — keep them for grabbing, poking, prodding, and other actions you can no longer use your fingers for. The key to this tip is using pens that have run out of ink. Either make sure your pen is completely empty before using it to grab something you don't want to ruin, or employ the same tip with a mechanical pencil that has no lead.


If you're up for making a small investment, purchase a pen that comes with a wax tip. These are often used to bejewel things, and they're great for applying beads and other small adornments to the face for a glamorous makeup look, but they can just as easily be used to grab small items when your nails preclude you from doing so yourself. You'll have to keep the wax around and replace it every so often, but it's a handy tool that has a lot of practical applications.

There are tools you can purchase to clasp jewelry

Clasping jewelry is difficult for many of us, even when our nails are short. But it becomes an especially difficult task when our nails are longer. Thankfully this problem was addressed long before acrylic nails became so widely popular. There are a variety of tools with hooks and small plier ends that can be used to clasp your jewelry. They're intended more for women who are wearing jewelry and don't have anyone to help them clasp their pieces, but they're just as useful for women with long nails.


If you don't have one of these tools, be selective with the jewelry you purchase — or at least be selective about when you wear certain pieces. If you know someone is going to be able to help you clasp your jewelry, wear whatever you'd like. If you're going at it alone, opt for pieces that don't have clasps, like long necklaces that fit over your head and bracelets that fit over your wrist. Stick to earrings that you can loop through your ear without having to close or put a back on.

Toothbrushes can be used to clean the undersides of your nails

Knowing what tools to use to grab items and complete tasks on your own when you have long nails is important, but it's also important to know how to keep your nails clean, particularly the underside. We won't get into specifics, but trust us when we tell you — the undersides of your nails are dirty. Like, really dirty. And while cleaning the tops of your nails is a relatively simple task, cleaning the undersides isn't so easy. Keep the undersides of your nails clean by using a toothbrush.


Use a toothbrush to clean the undersides of your nails the way you would clean anything else with a toothbrush. If you're wiping away dirt, use the brush dry and move in sweeping motions. For a deep clean, wet the toothbrush, and use body wash to scrub away scum and discoloration. To disinfect, brush with some peroxide. It may seem extreme, but long nails have been the culprit of infection and disease before. Keep your nails healthy by cleaning those undersides.