I love having gel on my nails and I’ve had them done consistently for 2 years without any complaints. I’m lucky enough to not have oily nail beds and so I haven’t found a brand of gel that doesn’t last on my nails for less than 4 weeks. Anyway, last week when my plane back home from PE was delayed I ended up committing one of the biggest nail sins known to mankind: I picked (read ripped) off my gel. Needless to say my nails are now in one helluva state. I pulled off a few layers of my actual nail but over and above that, my nails are now incredibly thin. Well done Sarah, well done.
When I first sat down and assessed the disaster that was in front of me I didn’t know what to attack first: the ridges and bumps, the shape and length or the revolting cuticles? I decided to start on the actual quality of the nail. I used a buffing block gently (seriously you need to be gentle especially if your nails are as thin as mine now are) on each nail to help smooth out the bumps and ridges. Next up I had a go at the cuticles. I went at them like Edward Scissorhands with my cuticle nipper, trimming off all of the thick, dead, gross skin. Be careful not to cut off “live” skin! When your nails are in a state like mine: thin and damaged, it’s a good idea to keep them short while they heal and get stronger. I was a bit nervous to use nail clippers in case they made my nails split so I used a file and gently shaped and shortened them.
Then it was time to treat my poor, flimsy nails. First I needed something to actually fix the mess I created. I needed a base or top coat that would treat my thin nails. Enter the Sally Hansen Diamond Strength Instant Nail Hardener. In big black letters on the box it states “Stops nails from breaking!” That’s exactly what I needed! This base coat (it can be worn on its own as well) hardens and treats my nails so that I won’t have to suffer with split, cracked or peeling nails. Of course, I couldn’t help myself and I picked a Morgan Taylor colour called Magician’s Assistant. I love this pearlescent, light purple shade – it’s neutral enough to go with everything and gives a nice pop of colour while still being subtle.
The second thing that is very important when it comes to nail care is nourishing your cuticles. This is where your nail grows out of after all so it would make sense that you want your cuticles to be as healthy as possible. I like using a great cuticle oil once or twice a week (because I’m too lazy to do it every day) and of course a good hand cream as often as possible every day. The Essence 3 in 1 Cuticle Oil is a goodie. It helps to soften the cuticles and moisturise the nails, promote nail growth and it strengthens the nail. It’s not your typical cuticle oil that comes in a nail polish bottle, it comes in a glass tube with a roller ball applicator which is quite nifty. The oil absorbs quickly so that you can carry on with life immediately without worrying about leaving oily fingerprints everywhere. When it comes to hand cream, I don’t have an out and out favourite but I picked up the Good Stuff Rooibos, Lemongrass & Ginger Hand Cream the other day for our guest bathroom and it has sneakily found its way into my hand bag. It smells awesome – very zingy and fresh. Of course we all know that Rooibos is a great source of anti-oxidants which is an absolute plus. Like the Essence cuticle oil, it absorbs quickly and your hands are left feeling moisturised but not oily or sticky. When I apply my hand cream I make a point of massaging it into my cuticles to help moisturise them but also to stimulate growth.
I could really kick myself for damaging my nails the way that I did – I should really have known better! For the next few months I’m going to give the gel a rest and just concentrate on getting my nails back into a strong, healthy state. Plus, instead of paying for gel every month I can buy two nail polish colours to add to my ever growing collection – yay!