A few of you have asked how da heck I grew my nails so long, so I'm going to tell you. I didn't do anything uber amazing, but there are a few things I do that seem to have helped & that you can do to encourage nail growth & protect your nails from breaking easily.
MOISTURIZE!!! Not once in a while when you bother to remember, but EVERY day! I aim for 3-4 times a day & it does help my skin & nails look & feel better.
1) I start with Sally Hansen Cuticle Eraser & Balm in the morning while I blog hop. You only need a tiny bit rubbed on the skin around your nails. This product contains a mild acid & your skin will tingle a lil after you apply it. If you use too much your skin will itch & you need to go wash it off or risk your skin getting red from the slight burn that can happen from over doing it.
2) Mary Kay Extra Emollient Night Cream is my all time fav skin moisturizer! I use it at least once a day on my hands plus on my elbows, feet & even a wee bit around my eyes when needed. It's not the cheapest porduct out there, but it isn't outrageously expensive either & it lasts for quite a while. The full size is in their catty, but the lil ones are sample sizes that you can only get from a Mary Kay rep. My rep orders the samples by the bag for me so I can keep them all over the place for ease of use. I have the big tube in the bathroon for after shower use & minis in my purse, at my desk, in the drawer next to my TV chair etc. If you have to go looking for your moisturizer, you're less likely to use it as often as you should.
3) Cuticle oil is the most intensive moisturizer I use & I apply it after every mani. I paint it on the back side of my nails & let it ooze down the sides to the cuticle, then rub it in.
These are the products I use most, but you don't have to use what I use. You can use any lotion, creme or oil you like as long as you use it daily! LOVE4NAILS has a great video on how she takes care of her long nails that is well worth the time to watch it.
You can see it HERE.
The one thing I do that I haven't seen on any blog is use Orly's Nail Rescue Kit (also known as Nail Mender & Nail Repair, I've seen all 3 names used) as an under coat to protect & reinforce my nails without adding bulk to the top of the nail.
I paint the underside of each nail with the nail glue (the bottle shown here is not the one that came w/da kit. That one eventually glued itself shut as nail glue generally does & I replaced it with the Kiss brand cuz it was cheap & had a brush) then dip it into the lil jar of acryllic powder. I brush the excess off my skin & top of that nail back into the jar. I do maybe 2 nails at a time then go back & scrape the glue/powder mix off the skin on the underside of the base of the nail so the glue doesn't bond there & leave a ridge. I use the pointy end of the metal nail file shown above to do this. I clean the glue off the file with acetone.
The underside of my nails are a bit rough after applying the glue & powder, so I use files I bought at the craft store that are for distressing chip board. They usually come in sets & I use the round one most for smoothing out the underside of my nails so they don't snag on fabric. I use the metal file to smooth the rough edges of my nails right after application, but a regular multi-sided filling block between applications. I usually do a new mani every other day & acetate will slowly wear this undercoat off. I reapply it about every week to 10 days & I don't remove the old layer, just file it down a smidge with the round file if it starts looking too bulky.
I've also used this product as intended to repair a vertical split in a nail.
My left index nail has this annoying fault line down the middle that as you can see, runs from the tip into the nail bed. Normally it's just a line. I do buff it lightly or it would be a ridge & there is a ridge on the underside. Every couple of years this bugger splits. Sometimes it's a diagonal break that goes thru the layers of the nail across the line, but last time it split clean in 2, right down the line to the nail bed. I'd tried gluing it & using different nail wraps in the past, but always ended up cutting it all off. When it happend again last May, I bought the Orly kit at my local Sally's Beauty Supply. I figured why not? I'd tried everything else. It worked! I didn't have to cut the nail cuz of that vertical split. I was able to cut thru the patch a few weeks later when I broke several nails moving boxes.
I've also used the ONR to patch peeling nail tips! It glued those suckers back together no prob. The one type of break I hadn't been able to test it on was a horizontal break.
Well guess what?
I broke my freakin' pinky nail today!!! I had taken the ONM off the underside of all my nails cuz I was going to try Orly's Nail Whitener on them & decided to take a shower after the serious acetone bath needed to remove the undercoating ('scuse my arid skin!) before doing the nail soak. I was scrubbing my hand with my bath brush & felt the brush jam into my finger tips & bend my pinky nail back...BAD WORD!!!
This is what the ONR looked like right after I applied it, but before I cleaned up the roughness.
This is after I used my metal file to remove any mix from my skin as well as any big bumps, then the roughest side of my multi-block, the medium grit on the block, then finally the smoother side of the block. Yes, you can see the edges of the patch in close up, but it should be pretty much invisable under polish, unlike traditional patches. How will it hold up? I don't know. I've never used it this way. LOL
I will let you know how it goes in future posts.
The one other thing I do for my nails that isn't often mentioned is:
I LEARNED TO PAY ATTENTION!
I don't use my nails as tools. If I have button to push or a switch to flip, I use my knuckle. If I have a pop top can to open, I use the back of a butter knife, the handle of a spoon or anything but my nails. My kitchen drawers don't have knobs, one is supposed to just grab the edge of the drawer & pull. I now use the side of my hand, not my finger tips, cuz I've broken nails more than once doing it the wrong way. When I lift boxes I make sure I have a good grip using my hands, not my finger tips. Same for handles, levers & anything where using my finger tips could result in my hand slipping & my nails breaking. I do all the stuff you do (house work, yard work, crafting etc), I just do it carefully. It does take conscious thought & practice to learn how to do things w/o breaking your nails, but it is doable. Here's da proof:
This is my left middle finger next to a ruler. I have several other that are about the same length & the rest aren't far behind. I am planning on trimming them soon for several reasons:
1) They get in the way! I'm used to doing things differently to avoid breakage, but at this length some tasks are awkward & others are almost impossible.
2) They hurt! As nails get longer, upward pressure is applied to the nail bed when one picks things up or holds on to stuff. At the end of a busy day my finger tips/nail beds often ache. I don't mean a lil tender...I mean throbbing, where's the Aleve, I don't want to do or even touch anything type of achy.
3) I go thru lots of polish & acetone! I know this one is kinda silly, but it is a factor for why having somewhat shorter nails would be nice.
Thanks for stopping by & reading all this!