A while ago I wrote a post about how to grow your nails and keep them healthy, and by following my own advice I manage to keep my nails looking good about 85% of the time. Nowadays my nails are doing so well that I often have to cut them or file them down so they don’t look witchy.
That being said, maybe you guys can relate to this phenomenon. Sometimes I have a day when I wake up and I’m like “OK nails, you are lookin’ good” and then somehow by the end of the day my cuticles are peeling bleeding and several nails have broken or jumped off my hand and run away while giving me the finger.
How the hell does that happen? Someone please explain.
Anyway, I have been having those days more often lately. I think it’s because we are still packing up to move, and that process is really hard on the hands. Whatever the cause is, I figured I can’t be the only one with this issue so I’ll share how I deal with it:
I cry and wear oven mitts until its better. The End.
Kidding. Honestly my first tip is not going to sound appealing, but I promise it’s for the better. You need to cut them. I know, it sounds like a nightmare because it felt like they took forever to grow out, but it needs to be done.
The problem with broken nails is that they often have ragged edges, or are peeling off in layers, and if you keep that around it is only going to keep snaring on things and breaking lower and lower.
See the picture above? That is the length I cut mine to in order to save them. They protested at first, but they thanked me later. You don’t have to cut them down to nubs, but if they are breaking and peeling you should cut (or file, whatever your preference) them so they are no longer than the tip of your finger.
Next step is to take off your polish. Especially if it is chipping. Walking around living your life with chipped polish is a sure fire way to mess your nails up. The chips make it so tempting to pick the rest of the polish off, which is bad news. You are also leaving the vulnerable tips of the nails unprotected. Not to mention that the uneven polish catches on things like hair and clothes, so you are pretty much begging them to break at that point.
Once you have taken the polish off, cut them down (and file the edges if necessary) now you can start to treat them. The first treatment I use is a liquid nail hardener called Mavala Scientifique. It’s a tiny little bottle of liquid and you apply it with the built in brush to only the tips of your nails. I don’t know how it works but it really makes your nails harder.
You need to be really careful when using it though, and follow the directions because it it gets on the skin around your nails it will make that hard too! I don’t think this stuff works well in the long term because it’s too drying but once in a while for a boost when you need it, it works WONDERS.
While the nails are still fresh and clean and naked (the Mavala absorbs and disappears quickly) take your favorite cuticle oil and massage it into the whole nail area. Over the nail, into the cuticles, everywhere. You want to make sure they are well conditioned and moisturized.
You can see in the photo how inflamed and peeling my cuticles are. I usually keep that under control, but the carboard boxes are taking their toll. Cardboard dries you out apparently…
When you have massaged the oil into your nails, you can let it sit for a while and really get in there. But since I know aint nobody got time for that, you can also wash them in warm water with some gentle hand soap and move on to the next step.
Once you have washed them to get the excess oil off, it’s time to apply a strengthening base coat. This will increase the curve in the nail bed which makes them harder to break, as well as add a coat of protection.
So now you have cut off the breaking ends of the nail, made the nail harder, and added the protective properties of a strengthening coat. Things are looking up.
Before you finish, add another bit of the oil to the cuticles and skin around the nail just for good measure. Keeping them moisturized is so SO important. Now you are done and can add a colored polish if you like, but I like to leave them with just the clear coat for a day or so, it just feels gentler (even though it probably makes no difference).
Now you just have to wait for them to grow back. Stop sobbing, it won’t be as long as you think 😉