It’s about the health behind the nails…

When I stopped going for manicures, my nails became stronger and healthier, and held polish longer.  Now, let me tell you why.

I should point out that it took me about thirty years to work this out.  

The first clue should have been my dermatologist appointment. I see my dermatologist on a regular basis, every year to be precise, and every time I went, she would compliment me on how pretty my nails were. And in the next breath she would qualify that by saying “just remember to be careful if you’re using gel and any kind of light to dry them”.  Each time I would think, yeah…she’s a little over the top; at least allow me my manicures.  Well, it turns out she was on to something.

I started going for manicures when I was about 20. I remember getting the fake tips put on, with the gauze type of material over them, followed by glue, powder and more glue.  In between each layer the nails were buffed out. It should have been no surprise that, when the set had to be changed every couple of months (if I remember correctly), my nails underneath were paper thin and actually hurt when the next set was applied.  But this didn’t stop me, because it was a fashion statement and weren’t we all supposed to be fashionable?  My friends and I used to walk around with crazy glue in our bags for a quick fix when necessary.  

After a few years, I heard about acrylic nails. That’s when they mixed liquid and powder and painted it on. I remember the manicurist being able to lengthen my natural nail with this liquid, and powder as well, and – at the time – it was supposed to be healthier and faster. But every few weeks this also needed to be changed and once again my nails (and tips of fingers) had to be soaked for 15 or 20 minutes and my nails were buffed down almost to the nail-bed itself. 

We’re probably all familiar with gel nails which were supposed to be even healthier for your nails, as long as you were willing to expose your hands to a UV or LED lamp, which cures the gel. Even if that was ok with you, people still debate whether or not the lamps can hurt you in the long run.

And let’s not forget the tools that are used in these places. These are literally knives with very sharp edges. When I thought about it, I decided only a doctor should be near me with an instrument that sharp especially after a few of the stories I have heard. At the very least, cuticle cream should be used instead.

More recently (about a year ago), I learned of the “Toxic Trio”. This was completely new to me. Many nail polishes contain formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate (DBP).  These three make up the chemicals that are known as the Toxic Trio.  It seems some polishes contain these and others don’t.  That was pretty much the last straw for me.  

I wanted to go back to basics, but it wasn’t easy to find a manicurist who knew how to give an old-fashioned manicure.  Just for the record, a manicure done correctly that only focuses on your nails should take more than ten minutes.  It felt like the women (and some men) were only trained to work with tips, acrylics and/or gel. 

An old-fashioned manicure is hard to find these days, one where you can properly soak your hands and apply cuticle cream, instead of a quick oil that is typically used but never allowed to moisturize properly because it is all so rushed.  I find that, when used properly, cuticle cream can create such a clean, fresh look and you can also avoid the raw edges that you sometimes get when you cut your cuticles. 

And it’s always nice to get a hand massage that lasts more than 10 seconds!

So, about a year ago, after I had the gel taken off for the last time, I saw how thin my nails had become and decided I would do them myself.  

My at-home arsenal includes cuticle cream, a cuticle stick, soft nail files, oil and hand lotion. After much research, I’ve listed the products I use below. The cuticle cream does an amazing job!

Once in a while, if I don’t want bare nails but am not in the mood to apply the nail strips, I will use Nailtiques, Formula 1.  It creates a healthy glow and just gives that one layer of protection while promoting the health of the nail.

Sometimes in the evening with a glass of wine, sometimes in the morning with a cup of tea, either way my manicures fall under “me” time.  

I have also learned that a manicure does not mean you need to apply polish. It can just be taking care of your nails, using some moisturizer and/or oil, and letting them breathe a bit. After a few months my nails started getting stronger and are finally at a healthy stage.

One of my very favorite moisturizing creams is the Olive Oil Cream, pictured below.

It feels clean, natural and fresh.

Click on the image below for more info

These days, the only manicure I am interested in is Color Street nail strips. I have used them now for the over a year and the health of my nails is not compromised. If anything, they are even stronger now.  They take about 15 minutes to apply, no drying time, no buffing and no damage to the nail-bed.

Just for the record, my pedicures are non-negotiable, but I do tend to skip the polish once in a while for the health of my nails.

It’s all about health and wellness for me.  I’ve heard that nails, skin and hair are the window to your overall health. At this stage of life, I don’t take anything for granted, so if my nails can tell a story, I want to hear it and see it.  

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