NOTW: natural nails & how I got mine to grow

All the nail looks you have seen on this blog have featured tons and tons of nail polish. Nail polish in all colors of the rainbow. Well, not today. Today I would like to show you my natural nails. That’s right, my own, natural nails, without anything on top: no top coats, no base coats and definitely no color. The reason why? I used to bite my nails. Vehemently. Ever since childhood I would be chewing away at every chance I got. Especially during exam times I would bite more than usual. Once I completed my studies and started working I found myself easing off the nail biting, until one day, miraculously, I stopped completely.

One thing about biting nails is that it desperately weakens your nails. I started polishing my nails so they wouldn’t rip and tear all the time. Right before I left on vacation though, I thought that keeping up my nail polish for more than 2 weeks while lugging around luggage and being on the go continuously wouldn’t do much for it. So I took of my nail polish and have been ‘bearing it all’ ever since. I will get back to using nail polish when I go back to work, but I decided to see how well they would keep up. And finally, after 3 years of deliberately using nail polish, I now can say that my natural nails are strong enough to keep going for a few weeks and I have the pictures to prove it.

Left hand

Right hand

All I’ve used in the past few weeks is my nail file to take away any rough edges. Now you can clearly see why my nail polish tends to chip easily and why my nails would tear at the slightest touch. My nails grow in layers (see the thumb on my right hand). This makes them weak and bendable. My left hand looks decidedly better than my right hand. You can really tell the difference between the two. The nails on my right hand are not as strong as I’d like them to be, except for my pinky and ring fingers. But it’s coming along nicely.

What I did is fairly simple. Once you stop biting nails (and I think putting on nail polish regularly actually helped me to stop this bad habit), your nails are really weak. I bit nails for 15 years and that takes it toll. The trick is to be very very patient. I read somewhere at the time that it would take around 2 years before your nails recuperate from the damage you did with your teeth. Well in my case it’s 3 years and it’s still not been cured 100%. My guess is that my nails are naturally weak (they are very pliable) which makes them more prone to ripping and tearing.

Other than waiting you should do the following throughout the entire time:

– use nail strengthener. I simply use this as my base coat underneath my nail polish. Don’t use it as instructed (usually you have to use them for 7 – 14 days as some sort of therapy) but simply apply it once a week for as long as it takes.

– wear nail polish. Ruining your nail designs is something you don’t want and chipping nail polish in your mouth tastes pretty foul to. Not into bright colors? You could go for clear polish or even that special anti-nail biting stuff. Though that never worked for me. I just got used to the taste and kept going.

– use a top coat. Only wear nail polish of course. But I find that adding a top coat not only protects your nail color but also add a bit of strength. It surely makes my nails less pliable.

– use cuticle oil. Take care of your nails by applying a coat of cuticle oil or cream every night before you go to bed. Gently massage it into your nail beds. This really can make all the difference.

– use a nail file and avoid clipping your nails as much as possible. Clipping makes it easier for you nails to splice. Using a glass nail file is also crucial: any other type will push the layers of your nails apart making them splice as well.

– use hand cream. Use one that is nourishing. I tend to favor rich hand creams. I first apply my cuticle oil, rub it in gently, then apply the hand cream, massage that in and then rub it also in to and over my nails. Works wonders.

I will start applying nail polish again some time over the weekend as I still like my different nail looks. I just thought I’d share with you some tips about how I take care of my nails and got them from chewed off stubs to nice, fairly long, healthy looking nails.

How about you? How do you take care of your nails?

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