How I wrecked my nails – and then fixed them

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It’s been at least a year since I had a salon manicure. As relaxing as it is, I noticed that every time I went, my nails would be peeling and splitting within a week. Sort of defeats the purpose, so I started doing my mani’s at home, myself. It turns out I may have been a little too quick to point fingers though. Even though my nails weren’t in nearly as bad shape, they were still peeling occasionally and were very soft and flexible. After some research and a lot of experimenting, I finally pinned down some of the reasons my nails were breaking off to little nubs.

The Don’ts

How to repair damaged nails

As it turns out, there are a lot of things you can do to weaken your nails, and I was doing… well, pretty much all of them. It’s no surprise they were looking awful!

  • Filing in both directions – to be fair, I wasn’t doing this, the nail salon was, which was the main reason I quit going.
  • Being too harsh with the buffing block – I’m guilty of this, I’ll admit it. I like that glassy smooth feeling on my nails, but I’m pretty convinced I was thinning the nail plate too much.
  • Using acetone polish remover – sometimes it’s necessary (like with glitter polishes), but using acetone remover all the time dries out the nail and the skin around it.
  • Using nail clippers to cut my nails – they mash through the nail, causing the layers to separate.
  • Not moisturizing the cuticles – I have dry hands so I use lotion about a million times a day, but I’m bad about forgetting to work it into my cuticles. I’m not sure if dry cuticles can weaken your nails, but they sure do make them look raggedy.
  • Using nails as a tool – newsflash: they’re not screwdrivers, or pry-bars.

The Do’s

How to repair damaged nails

Luckily, I’ve found workarounds for all my manicuring no-no’s, which has made my nails stronger – and naturally they’ve been looking a lot better.

  • The whole filing-both-ways was an easy fix. Just stop. It’s not that much harder to file in just one direction per nail.
  • The buffing block was a little hard to put down, especially since my nail ridges make my polish chip off. Instead I’ve been using a ridge filler – I picked up the one from OPI and it’s been working really well for me.
  • I was a little skeptical about whether non-acetone polish remover would work as well, but Trind‘s polish remover proved me wrong. It takes my polish right off (though glitters still need extra work), and it even feels a bit moisturizing.
  • So wait, you mean there are other ways to shorten your nails than nail clippers? For the longest time I didn’t even realize those tiny little scissors in manicure kits could actually be used for cutting your nails (probably because they’re always labeled ‘cuticle scissors’). But they do slice through the nail easily, without all the trauma.
  • Moisturizing is still just a matter of remembering to actually do it. Some days are better than others.
  • If nails aren’t tools, really my only option is to get off my lazy butt and actually get the screwdriver, tweezers, box-cutter, etc. This is just a thing I’ll have to accept, I suppose.
  • Use a nail strengthener. Seems like the obvious solution, right? I’ve been using the Trind Keratin Treatment for a few months now, and combined with changes to my routine, my nails feel much stronger – they don’t even bend when I press on the end anymore. The nail plates look more moisturized and shiny too. I have to admit that I don’t always use the clear topcoat that comes in the kit, cause ain’t nobody got time for that – at least, not every day.

What tricks do you use to keep your nails from disintegrating if you look at them the wrong way?


1 Comment

  1. Lena L

    August 18, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    Technically pure acetone works better than diluted form of it since it gets the job done faster. You need to wash hands immediately, which all we should do acetone or not.
    I make sure to use oil before pushing my cuticles back and try not cut any if possible. To think about it, I’ve done a post on nail care a long time ago. Just in case if you’re interested ;)

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