Ever had an itch in the middle of your back that you couldn’t quite reach? If only your fingernails were a little longer, you might think. So just how long could they grow?

Believe it or not, you can grow your fingernails to be really, really long. How long? According to the Guinness World Records website, the current world record holder for longest fingernails is Christine “The Dutchess” Walton from Las Vegas, Nevada.

The nails on her left hand measure a whopping 10 feet 2 inches, and the nails on her right hand measure 9 feet 7 inches. That’s a total of 19 feet 9 inches worth of fingernails. Wow!

How did she grow them that long? Would you believe that she hasn’t cut her nails since 1990? It’s true!

Of course, you might not want nails that long. Although holding a world record would be cool, fingernails that long might make it a bit difficult to do some of the things you enjoy doing every day.

Plus, it would take a lot of time and patience to grow them that long. Fingernails grow very slowly. On average, fingernails only grow about one tenth of an inch every month. For example, if you lost most of a fingernail, it could take six months or more for it to grow back completely.

Fingernails do come in handy, though. Not only do they protect the soft tips of your fingers, but they also help you do many things, such as scratch your itchy back and open aluminum cans.

Nails are made of keratin. Keratin is the same protein that makes up your hair and the upper layer of your skin. Nails start at the nail root, which is just underneath the cuticle (the spot where your nail meets the skin). The cuticle helps protect new nails as they grow.

As your body makes nail cells, they push out from the nail root and move along the nail bed. That’s the flat part under your nails. Under the nail bed are lots of tiny blood vessels that feed your nails and give them their pink color.

 

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    • Hello, Saad! Thanks so much for sharing what you think about fingernails growing! We like to see all the cool ways people paint and decorate their nails. Some people are such amazing nail artists! We hope you have a WONDERful day! :-)

    • I read that and it’s strange as I got to know that if we stop cutting and trimming head hair they eventually get to a terminal length and then stop, nails are made of the same material, so I wonder why would they never stop growing if we stop cutting them, maybe they have a limit as well. Another thing which differs in nails is that they are not shed unlike hair. Or maybe the shed but remain aggregated so any new tiny nail thread will push away the shed one, and this would also explain why they don’t stop growing.

  1. She really has long fingernails! I don’t ever want to have that long of a fingernail. How long is the longest fingernail? Can’t wait for tomorrows!

    • Hi there, Becca! We think the longest fingernail probably belongs to the lady in the video, too! They are SUPER long, aren’t they? We think it’s awesome that she can do all the normal things other people do every day even though she has REALLY, REALLY, REALLY long nails! :-)

  2. Well, this was certainly very interesting. I WONDER how much nail polish it takes to paint over 19 feet of nails! No pun intended.

    I really have no idea what tomorrow’s wonder question is.

    This is my first time being the first person to comment.

    • We were WONDERing the same exact thing when we were watching the video for today’s Wonder of the Day®, Cassidy! We bet it takes a LOT of nail polish! We WONDER how many times the record holder in the video changes the designs or color of her nails? Thanks for hanging out in Wonderopolis today and learning some FUN stuff with us! :-)

    • They sure are, Annie! We think we would be afraid of breaking a nail if we had all of our nails that long! We think it’s cool that the lady in the video set a goal to be a world record holder and she did her best to achieve her goal! :-)

  3. Dear Wonderopolis,

    I loved today’s wonder! I think tomorrow’s wonder of the day is about homework.

    Remember back on wonder of the day #554 – Do all pirate ships have flags? I thought wonder of the day #555 was about cooking report cards and I was really close. Wonder of the day #555 was Does your food make the grade?

    TJ

    • Hi, TJ! We’re super proud of you for your guess about Wonder #555! If you think about it, you DID get it right, because the way that some foods are “graded” is like a report card of sorts! Thanks for letting us know you liked today’s Wonder! :-)

  4. Hello wonderopolis!
    I think fingernails can grow up to 100 feet.
    I found lots of interesting things in the world record book. It said that finger nails can get up to more than 100 feet, so I wonder if it’s really true?

    • WOW, Audrey! A 100 foot fingernail sounds REALLY long! We WONDER if there is anyone out there who is trying to break Christine “The Dutchess” Walton’s world record? That would be fun to learn about someday soon! :-)

  5. Hi wonderopolis,
    We measured our fingernails and we only got around one centimeter! We really like this wonder and video today because it was really cool and awesome! We wonder if tomorrow’s wonder is about turning in homework late or early?
    love,
    lisey
    and
    zibblit

    • We think it’s SUPER cool that you guys measured your fingernails after you explored this Wonder of the Day®, Lisey and Zibblit! Thanks for sharing your experience with us and THANKS for being friends of Wonderopolis! :-)

    • That’s a WONDERful idea, Eric! We’re sure glad we have Wonder Friends like YOU who let us know what they would like to see in Wonderopolis, or how they would like to access the Wonders of the Day…THANK YOU! We really appreciate your suggestion! :-)

    • Thanks for sharing what you think the next Wonder of the Day® will be about, “Wonder!” We appreciate your comment! We can’t wait to see if your guess was correct! :-)

  6. Hi. I loved this crazy article about “How long can your Finger nails Grow”. I never knew that on average only one tenth of an inch of your finger nails grow every month. Or that the nail is made of KERATIN=containing fibrous proteins that form the chemicals basis of horny epidermal tissues (for nails and hair) I can’t believe Christine Walton (the person that holds the record for the worlds longest nails) her nails are a whopping 19 feet and 9 inches.(WHOPPING=extremely large; also extraordinary,incredible). I am still wondering How Christine Walton keeps her nails clean. Thank you so much for writing this article I had fun reading about it.

    • We’re really glad you liked exploring this Wonder, Team Unger #5! We WONDERed how Ms. Walton keeps her nails clean, too! We also WONDERed how she does things like wash her hair or fold the laundry. It must be tricky to do those things with super long nails, but we bet she finds a way to do it herself! Thanks for sharing all the cool things you learned about nails. We hope you have a WONDERful week ahead! :-)

  7. Hey guys!
    In the world record book, this woman has like wicked long finger nails and it’s so gross! But she was in her car and they broke off
    Ewwwww!

    • Thanks for sharing about the world record book, Kayla! We’ll have to check that out! We hope you have a GREAT day! :-)

    • You’re right, Caelah! Her nails are REALLY long! Thank you for stopping by Wonderopolis today and exploring this Wonder with us! :-)

    • Yes they are, Neanea! We think it’s really cool that she set her mind to having the world’s longest nails and then worked hard to grow and protect her nails so she could achieve her goal! :-)

  8. Actually, nails can stop growing. This can happen if the nail bed is damaged severely. Your nails are still there, it’s just if you picked them, it wouldn’t grow.

    • Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge of fingernails, Clayton! We appreciate you adding something awesome to this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

    • I heard of this and that one has to have her nail took off in this case, it won’t hurt because the nail bed is raised and the matrix is not active, but the nail will be lost at the end, though sometimes it just grows back.

    • Hello there, Alice! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts about the video for this Wonder of the Day®! We appreciate your opinion and really like all the smiley faces you left for us! :-)

  9. Hi, wonderopolis. How are you doing? Has anyone set a world record for the smallest finger nails?

    • We’re not really sure about that one, Jacob, but we think it’s a GREAT question! We like the way your Wonder brain works! Thank you for exploring this Wonder and sharing your creative comment with us today! :-)

  10. That’s cool that you can grow them out that long, but it’s kinda weird. I wouldn’t ever grow mine out like that because I wouldn’t be able to play my favorite sport everyday!!!!

    • We appreciate you sharing your thoughts about SUPER long nails, Chesleigh! Thanks for stopping by Wonderopolis today and leaving us this GREAT comment! What is your favorite sport? :-)

    • We think it’s GREAT that you thought this Wonder was amazing, Destiny! Maybe you can grow your nails and try to beat her world record! Thanks so much for hanging out in Wonderopolis today! :-)

  11. How long were her fingernails? We can’t watch the videos at school!

    I LLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVEEEE WONDEROPOLIS!!!!

    • Hi, Emma! Ms. Walton’s fingernails were a total of around ten feet long on each hand! They were long and slightly “twirled” from growing, and they were painted gold with dark line designs on them! You can see a picture of her nails by clicking on the words “Guinness World Records website” in the second paragraph of this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

  12. Hello wonderopolis!

    AudreyG-I wonder why she wants to break that world record?
    And

    MollyH-I wonder how she types on a computer.
    and

    AudreyG-how long has she been trying to break that world record.
    And

    MollyH-I wonder how long it took to paint her nails?
    And

    AudreyG-I wonder when she started growing her nails?
    And

    MollyH-I wonder how long it took her to get in the world records book.

    Happy wondering day, wonderopolis!

    AudreyG-

    • Those are SUPER Wonders, Audrey and Molly! You guys ROCK for thinking more about fingernails after you explored this Wonder of the Day® about them together! Did you know that LOTS of the answers to your Wonders can be found in the video? Check it out! We think it’s AWESOME that there are so many COOL world records out there to break! :-)

  13. Hi, Wonder Friends. I hope you have a great day, wonderopolis. I wonder what was the longest fingernail in the world record book. I wonder Who was a fist person in the world record book. I was wondering what was the longest fingernail in the whole entire world. I think the girl in the video I think that’s her in there I wonder how many feet can grow in the world. How many minutes they took to paint their fingernails. I think like 20 minutes to paint their fingernails. I wonder how many people have the longest fingernails. I wonder how many years to grow long fingernails. I think 5 years to grow fingernails. I hope you have a great day wonderopolis.

    • We have had a SUPER day today, Taylor! Do you know why? It’s because we got to hear from some AWESOME Wonder Friends like YOU! We really enjoyed hearing about all the AMAZING things you are WONDERing about fingernails after you explored this Wonder of the Day® about them! That’s a LOT of WONDERing! Keep it up…WONDERing helps us learn, and learning new things is FUN! :-)

  14. Wow, that’s really cool! I can’t believe that her nails are NINETEEN feet long! I would never grow my nails that long, but that’s unbelievable that she had so much patience. I also didn’t know that nails grow that little a year.

    • We think patience is a WONDERful word to describe someone who grows their nails so long, Jade! Thank you for stopping by Wonderopolis today! :-)

  15. Hi Wonder friends, I was wondering how does she get dressed with such long nails? I think the wonder tomorrow will be about why do you have to turn in your home work. I wonder how long does it take to paint her nails. How is your day WONDERopolis. My day was awesome! Bye WONDER friends.

    • Those are WONDERful questions, Emily! We think the lady with the long nails can probably get dressed in the same time or maybe just a little longer than a person without long nails. She has grown accustomed to having her super long nails over such a long period of time, and most likely taught herself how to do things like brush her teeth, get dressed and do her hair in a special way! :-)

  16. Hi, I really love this topic because I care about my nails and do not want them to turn out like that. Should a fingernail really be that long? I like how the lady with the longest nails still gets manicures and pedicures!! I can not believe that she hasn’t cut them since 1990!! I had no idea about the fingernail beds and cells. Nails seriously grow one tenth of an inch each month………WOW!!! I think she should cut her nails.

    Thanks for the WONDERS!!!

    Team Unger 21

    • We really appreciate your opinion about nails and the lady in the video, Team Unger 21! It’s really fun to imagine what it must be like to have such long nails, isn’t it? It’s GREAT that you learned about nails and the science behind how they grow…we’re glad you visited this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

    • Thanks for visiting this Wonder and sharing your opinion of long fingernails, Sydney! We appreciate your comment! :-)

  17. Wow I can’t believe nails can grow that long! I was wondering if you had any tips on growing your nails very fast! Thanks:) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) <3 <3

    • Isn’t that incredible, Nicole? We are glad you’re having fun WONDERing with us today! We think it’s important to eat healthy– the nutrients from fruits and vegetables will help your nails grow nice and strong! :)

    • Great question, Carlise! We bet you will learn something new about why it’s important to wash your hands! It all has to do with great hygiene! :)

    • Hi there, Wonder Friend Jaylynn! We are glad you’re WONDERing with us– and believe it or not, those fingernails are the real deal! It’s pretty incredible, isn’t it? Have a WONDERful day! :)

  18. I think that they should cut their nails. What if they want to play basketball, but they can’t because their nails are in the way and are too long to play?

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Have you ever wondered…

  • How long can your fingernails grow?
  • What are fingernails made of?
  • How fast do fingernails grow?

Wonder Gallery

Try It Out

Do you take good care of your nails? It’s important to keep your nails trimmed neatly. If you don’t, they can become torn or jagged.

When you nails get that way, you may be tempted to pick at them or bite them. We’re sure your parents have told you not to bite your nails, and there’s a good reason for it. Your nails can be a spot for germs to hide. If you pick at them or bite them, those germs can get into your body and cause you to get sick.

Ask an adult to help you trim your fingernails and toenails. Nail clippers can be tricky to learn how to use properly, so make sure you get some help. Fingernails should be trimmed straight across with just a slight rounding at the edges. Toenails should be trimmed straight across.

To keep your nails in tip-top shape, you should also make sure they don’t dry out too much. Using some hand lotion on them occasionally will keep them nice and moist.

If you like to paint your fingernails and toenails, plan a homemade manicure and pedicure time at home with a friend or parent. Have fun using wild colors and stickers to make your fingers and toes look fantastic!

 

Still Wondering

Check out Science NetLinks’ Antibiotic Attack lesson to explore how the human body may not work as well, or at all, if harmful germs are able to get inside it.

 

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