This post has been a long time in the making. Almost every week I get messages asking me what I do to my nails to make them look and grow the way they are. Some of my friends wonder the same thing, so I guess it’s time to share. I by no means say that this is the best way to do it, or that it work on everyone, but it works for me.
I’ve always loved long nails, and for years mine would only grow a couple of millimetres before breaking or snapping off (oh, I’m naturally VERY clumsy!). Also for ages I used to prefer square nails only to have the sides crack and break. Then some three or four years ago I was inspired by Dita von Teese to do a half moon manicure in red. I loved it so much that I wore it for a year straight.
As to what I do exactly it can be summed up into these points:
Two or three times a year I take vitamins for the nails, skin and hair. To my mind they do absolutely nothing for the skin or hair (mine are as bad as ever), but a few months down the line I definitely see a difference with my nails – they are stronger and don’t break as easily.
A good base coat that works for you adds additional strengths for my nails. I usually switch between OPI Nail Envy and a ridge filler, I just got a China Glaze one and am keen to see how it works. It also protects my nails from staining.
I use a couple of nail files. The main one has a fine grain and is made of glass, it is the best for me and it lasts for ages unless I sit on (it doesn’t break when I drop it on the floor). But I also use a coarse emery board that I use to file my length partly down and then I finish with the glass one. I never use scissor on my nails, and also very rarely buff my nails.
I believe in not over-filing my nails. I only use a nail file in two cases – if I get a snag or if I’m changing the shape or length of my nails. That’s it. I know people who would file a little bit before painting their nails every time, or as a precautionary measure, but I avoid it at all costs. I go weeks without touching my nails with a file.
I find that shaping my nails round allows me to grow them longer than when they are square. I think it is because then there is only one smooth rounded edge. Also to achieve a nice square shape I grow them out round first and then turn them into a square shape.
For my cuticles I have a big bottle of Cuccio cuticle remover. It’s nothing particularly special, but it does the job. I use it a couple of times a week when I notice my cuticle getting a bit unruly. I used to swear by Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover, but for years now it is nowhere to be found around here. I’ve also tried Sally Hansen Problem Cuticle Remover, it was an utter fail; it didn’t work at all.
To keep my cuticles nourished I have Mavala Mavapen and Avoplex Cuticle Oil To Go. I’m not sure they actually do much, but they certainly provide a short-term relief.
I don’t really use nail cream very often, just when I feel my hands get a bit dry. My pet peeve is having greasy hands from the cream and waiting for a long time for it to dry. I have 2 that I turn to – Avoplex Replenishing Hand Lotion and Pure Coconut Hand Cream. The first one I like for the fact that it absorbs really fast, it doesn’t feel greasy and smells of hyacinths. The second one I mostly like for the scent, I love the scent of coconut! It is more nourishing and I use it more during the winter.