I cringe as I write this because I was once very bad at trimming my fingernails and did so until they were down to the cuticle bed. And for the longest time it was amazing that I never once got an infection from having done this over pretty much my entire lifetime thus far.
When the New Year came around, I decided my one resolution would be… no, not to take up a musical instrument. Lord knows I can’t carry a tune in a bucket even. I decided the smartest thing to do was quit damaging my fingernails. I know for many years I was often asked about my fingernails (or lack thereof) in most cases. It was always followed up with awkward glances, silence and the realization, I had to do something about it.
And so I began actually two weeks before New Year’s Eve just last year. I didn’t go out and buy any nasty-tasting nail polishes that claim their product works. I simply went on Youtube and googled how to properly take your fingernails. I found a wealth of information on this topic. It was almost mind-numbing at times for me and quite frustrating.
I want simplicity. I don’t want to go here, be re-routed there, and oops… we’re sorry, you have reached a “file 404 error and we don’t know where the page went…” Major stress headache coming on, but I didn’t let that deter my efforts. When I’m determined and set my mind to something, I usually accomplish it and make it happen. I’ve always been this way my whole life long.
I also checked into the nail care routines and do-it-yourself nail soaks that you can make right from your kitchen. Do you have lemons or oranges hanging around? Do you have a bottle of olive oil, cooking oil, or coconut oil? These will work fabulous for helping not only your fingernails to grow, but also prevent skin splits at the cuticle line.
I had all the ingredients to try a ‘soak’ and mind you, before I started this, I rarely, if ever pampered myself. I never bought much in way of a nail care kit or even emery boards to shape my fingernails since I was a repeat offender of keeping my nails dangerously barely there at one time.
And the dollar stores are your best friend when first starting out on a tight budget while trying to find nail care kits, emery boards, nail polishes, etc. I didn’t go hog wild on the nail polishes until I really began to see results after the first three weeks.
Every night before I went to bed I would slice up some lemon or an orange that was ready to go bad, squeeze the juice into a shallow bowl and mix in some vitamin E oil that I bought at Dollar General. I didn’t see any difference when using olive oil or cooking oil and I have yet to try sweet almond oil for my nail soaks.
And above all, have patience like a saint. Growing out your fingernails will not be an overnight success. It takes time, weeks in fact. The Youtube videos that boast healthy strong long nails in a just a week are full of it. And most have acrylic nails, not their real nails.
I would soak my nails in this oil and citrus concoction for twenty minutes, then when the time was up, I would then wash and dry my hands on a clean cloth and proceed to buff them using q-tips and cotton balls. In the beginning I would finish with a clear top coat. And for a while I did use a product that claimed to grow and strengthen your nails in a few days. It was aqua-colored and made by KISS (not the rock band). I did see results using this nail strengthener. However, the downside, it chips and flakes off very easily within one day, so I’d have to constantly re-apply it. Also, it didn’t work well for a base coat or even to protect any coat of nail polish. It preformed rather poorly for French tip nails (something I adore and got good at), but this particular nail strengthener was cheaply produced and made in Taiwan.
And the chemicals were overpowering to my sense of smell and gave me a headache after some exposure to it for several weeks. Thus I quit using it. The headaches went away. And as my nails continued to grow I would reward myself by buying another shade of nail polish.I have a real weakness for neon colors. I find they make a loud statement without saying a word. They are flamboyant and unique. In doing so, I had a shoe box full of nail polishes. I became wise and did research on the chemicals and what I found rather shocked me. It was no wonder my beautiful nails were turning thin (I mean see thru scary) and they snapped. They didn’t chip or break, they just became brittle like aged plastic. I didn’t ever invest in acrylic nails either. So what I read online really had me concerned. Not only are the chemicals used in nail polishes overwhelming, they’re also very bad to your health (I’m talking in terms of long-term daily exposure for many, many years). True, there are some people who never experience any adverse side effects. However, the hidden carcinogens were discouraging at best. Once I quit painting my nails and donated my shoe box full of polishes to a local thrift store, I noticed my nails grew healthy again. They were pink once more (not dull white or oxygen deprived like they had been under the nail polishes). My nails continue to grow thin, but they don’t snap anymore and they’re quite easy to care for. Thanks for reading, commenting and liking. Stay tuned for another related blog, okay– maybe kind of ‘related’ to nail care.