I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but my nails suck. Not even a little. And it’s not because of anything I’ve done to them. They’re not weak due to things like acrylics or salon gel manicures. They’ve always been terribly thin, brittle, and shred-prone. Just the thing every woman wants on the end of her fingers, right?
Over the years I’ve tried strengtheners and thickeners and whatever else to get my nails doing better, and I never noticed that much of a difference. So here’s a list of the things that have made a difference:
1. BeautiControl Spa Manicure Cuticle Oil pen. You don’t need to necessarily buy this pen; any cuticle oil pen will do. I like these because you can brush the oil on, with no drips or mess. I massage it into my nails after a few minutes, and I apply it several times during the day. You may not see major changes quickly, but your nails, just like your skin and hair, need moisture to repair themselves and grow. So just make a habit of at least putting some on in the evenings.
2. Burt’s Bees Fragrance Free Body Lotion. While the fragrance free part is optional, a more natural lotion shouldn’t be. The problem with most lotions on the market today is that they contain alcohol. And last I checked, alcohol is extremely drying. So I scoured Walgreens until I found a basic lotion that didn’t contain it. Another reason I switched to this one is that my old one contained AHA’s, to help diminish signs of aging, and while that’s good, I wasn’t sure if perhaps it was having an adverse affect on my nails. When in doubt, switch.
3. Sally Hansen Maximum Strength Nail Treatment. Now, I’m not saying that this treatment is a holy grail. It’s ok. So far it seems to help a little. I do like that it makes a pretty good base coat for nail polish. Just apply like the directions tell you to.
4. L.A. Colors nail polish remover pads. Unlike every other polish remover I’ve tried, these truly do not dry out your nails and cuticles. After inspecting the ingredients list, I suspect that they have used oils as the fragrance, which is why they leave an oily residue on your nails. And in this case, that’s a good thing. I buy them in little packs of 32 pads at Family Dollar, and I personally prefer the peach scent over the melon.
5. Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream. While one 1.7 oz tube does cost $20 on amazon.com, you need so little of this product to moisturize ANYTHING on your body that 1.7 oz will last you at least three years. Probably longer. It takes an impossibly small amount to moisturize all ten fingernails, and I wake up the next day and my nails don’t bend half the amount they did the night before. No wonder this stuff has been renowned for over 50 years! (I’m also quite surprised that it’s not sold at $40, but I’m not complaining!)
Other than these five things, all I can say is to be gentle on your nails. And if it starts to shred, don’t try to salvage as much length as you can. Just cut is fairly short and let it grow out again; I promise it’ll grow in a little better. Oh, and don’t forget: MOISTURIZE, MOISTURIZE, MOISTURIZE. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go put on some cuticle oil.