Today I wanted to share with you some time-tested products that have worked for me consistently over the past 6 months in taking care of my nails. I used to never care about how my nails looked and I would hide my poor cuticles, that not only looked ragged, but were very painful! Here is a before and after photo of my nails.
Before Nails: April 2012 After Nails: January 2013
Nails were really not a major priority most of my life, especially when I became a busy mother who ended up picking at everything from knotted shoelaces, to dried-on mac and cheese on the counter! Yikes! My nails were peeling and thin, yet somehow brittle, and my cuticles were always a problem. I decided during the summer of 2012 to challenge myself and see if I could care for my nails and make them look nice! A video that helped kick-start me on my nail journey was a video by PinkSoFoxy on YouTube which I will link below. It really was the inspiration I needed to get my nails into better shape!
Now what I’ve noticed about nail care, is that being consistent is the best (at least for my nails). The moment I go even 2-3 days ignoring my nails, I can definitely tell the difference in how my nails and cuticles look. When I first decided I wanted my nails in better shape, I went “kamikaze” and really went overboard to get them into shape as soon as possible. The most important thing was to get into the habit of moisturizing my nails and cuticles multiple times a day. This helped heal my cuticles and prevent cracking. For the first two weeks I applied a nail protein (listed below) fresh every day, so I would remove it at night and repaint so it was always fresh. If I wanted to apply a polish that day I would apply the nail protein first, then take it off that night and start over. My daily routine now is much less time-involved, so I will list the products below that I use and how often I use them.
My Go-To Nail Products
Sally Hansen Nails & Cuticles Hand Creme
Use: Morning and night, and as needed.
Notes: This is hands-down my favorite hand cream! It has a light fresh shea butter scent, and works to not only condition nails, soften hands and smooth cuticles, it is not greasy. I am on my second bottle and am almost ready to purchase my third.
Where to Buy: Target, drugstores. $7.49 – $9.99
Sally Hansen Nail Nutrition Green Tea + Soy Cuticle Oil
Use: I use this at night before bed, as well as immediately following nail lacquer removal to give my cuticles instant moisture.
Notes: I have always had a hard time finding a cuticle oil I liked. Most have a tendency to make my cuticles feel hard and brittle (does that sound weird?). This oil is actually moisturizing and comes in a long tube with a convenient brush applicator so I can be more precise about applying.
Where to Buy: Target, drugstores. $6.99
Crystal (Glass) Nail File
Use: Weekly, or as needed.
Notes: Before I cared for my nails, when one would start growing too “long”, I would immediately hack it off with fingernail clippers. I know that many use fingernail clippers in their regular routine, and I am not doubting that works just fine, but because my nails started out brittle I wanted to avoid using anything that would cause them to want to crack. I took advice from PinkSoFoxy and purchased a crystal (glass) nail file. It is still going strong and has not failed me yet so I am pretty sure it is a good quality one, and I’ve heard nail files made in the Czech Republic are the best quality, so I went with this one. I had never filed my nails before (I hated the sound of the sandpaper against my nails!) and so getting used to this one took some time as well. I love to use it and as long as I don’t drop it, it should last a very long time!
Where to Buy: Amazon, local nail salons. Here is a pink one in the same size I purchased and from the same seller on Amazon. for $9.99
Nailtiques Nail Protein, Formula 2
Use: Initially, every day for at least two weeks, tapering off to every few days. Now I just use this when I can tell my nails are getting weak (especially on my dominant hand, which never looks as nice as the other one since I am so rough on it!)
Notes: There are several formulas by Nailtiques, and I chose Formula 2 for weak and peeling nails. The scent is quite strong, but it does work for me by making my nails physically stronger. I think this was important initially to get my nails past the peeling stage. Now I use it much less frequently.
Where to Buy: Drugstores like Walgreens. Prices are different due to size variations. Larger size is .05 oz for $19.99 (I usually wait for a sale at Walgreens). It is an initial high-expense product, but when I used it consistently (that is the key!) I saw results.
NutraNail 5-7 Day Growth Formula.
Use: I use this on nails that have broken off to accelerate growth. (Hey, we all have accidents involving wrestling clothing out of the washing machine, right?!).
Notes: At first I really never did believe in these so-called “growth” formulas, but the first time I broke off a nail I was pretty devastated and had to give this a try. I will note that while the product is packaged in a regular nail polish-like container with a brush applicator, it is not a product that is brushed on and dries. It is a gel-like liquid that you apply all over each nail/cuticle, and then rub into your bare nail so you can apply your other products on top if needed. I am very impressed by this product, and use it with caution only on my shorter nails–or else I will have a lot of extra filing to do!
Where to Buy: Drugstores like CVS, approximately $5. You have to be careful when purchasing online, because there is another version containing Green Tea that is not a rub-in formula like this one. If you find it in-store, you will notice the bottle appears “milky” but this is actually the product inside. If you see a clear bottle, then it is a different product.
If you are thinking about whipping your nails into shape and if you feel like it is something you don’t want to invest a whole lot of money into just yet then just start out by moisturizing your cuticles and hands multiple times a day, which makes a huge difference! Then add in the other products as you need, depending on your nail’s condition. If you stay consistent you will be seeing longer, healthier and stronger nails!PinkSoFoxy Videos on Nail Care
Nail Routine: Longer, Stronger, Brighter Nails!
How to Fix A Broken Nail
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