Monday, March 21, 2011

My Nailcare Routine + A Few Tips for Healthy Nails!

I receive several questions daily about my nails, in regards to the health and upkeep of having them long. In this post, I'm going to address everything I do to maintain my nails, as well as a few tips!

Some background info about my nails: Through my adolescence, reaching adulthood, I never took that great of care to my nails. Although I always denied that I was a "biter", I was indeed a biter. I wouldn't bite my nails as they would grow, but I would bite my nails once they would chip or tear. I would also "pick" my teeth/gums with my nails, which was a terribly nasty habit that would cause breakage of my nails. I believe a lot of my biting occurred from the cause of nerves. When I'm nervous, I tend to want to bite at my cuticles. How gross, and embarrassing. In the past, maybe three-four years I kicked my bad habit to the curb because I was sick of having little third grader looking nails. ***You may notice from my NOTD posts that my middle fingernail looks a little funny. It looks like it may be chipped. My middle finger is actually crooked, as is my nail. When all of my fingers are straight, and I look down at my hand, my middle finger and nail curve slightly left, while all of the others are straight.

My natural nails
My Nail Routine
1) I remove my old nail polish once it has chipped. Most of the times it is around 5-6 days. Sometimes more, sometimes less. I use Acetone (any brand). I've purchased Acetone from CVS, Walmart & Target. They are all the same (to me). I use Acetone because it removes the polish from my nails much faster than non-acetone formula. Although non-aceone formulas are much more gentle.
2) I file my nails. If necessary, I will trim them. But I prefer filing them down because I tend to cut too much with a nail clipper. I bend my fingers with my nails facing toward my body, and one by one file the nail straight across. It's very important not to file quickly back and forth, or as many call it, "sawing" because it weakens your nails and can cause them to peel. You want to file your nail in the same direction. I do not touch the sides of my nails until the end. Once I bend my fingers and match up my cuticles and see they all match in length, I will slightly soften the corners of my nails so they aren't pointy. This only takes a couple of swipes with the file. I do not round them out. I use a standard medium grit nail file.
3) After my nails are filed, I buff them. I actually prefer not to use the buffer on the smoothest side. Although it makes your nails the shiniest/smoothest, it also makes the nail polish not adhere to the tips of your nails as well. I don't spend too much time buffing, I just do it until my nails aren't as sharp. I use a standard buffing block.
4) My cuticles actually don't require much maintaining. If necessary, I will gently push my cuticles back using a cuticle pusher. It's important not to push them too hard because it can cause dents in your nails. I usually skip the cuticle step, but it's good to do it once a week. It's nice to do it after a shower while they are soft.
5) I apply a base coat. I'm extremely guilty of skipping this on a normal basis. But when I do use a base coat, I use my Seche Base Coat. A base coat prevents your nails from getting stained. I always try to remember to use a base coat when I wear red polishes, because red stains more than any other color. A base coat also helps give your nail a smooth, even canvas for your nail color.
6) I apply my nail polish, slow and steady. I try to lay the brush down a tiny bit away from my cuticle for a more, "polished" (is that a pun? lol) look. Depending on the polish I used, I'll wait until it's dry to the (light) touch and apply a second coat.
7) After my polish has dried, I apply a top coat. My favorites are Seche Vite and Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Top Coat. I'll try my best not to handle anything in the next half hour that will smudge my nails (getting dressed, putting on shoes, cleaning, etc).
8) I usually apply a hand lotion after I do my nails because the acetone nail polish remover dries out the cuticles. If I feel that they need intense moisture, I'll apply a heavy cream to them at night. The only cuticle cream I own and use is Burt's Bees Lemon Cuticle Butter. Or I will use Vaseline, Shea Butter or any other concentrated cream.

Some things that can help maintain healthy nails:
  • Don't use your nails as tools. Do not "pick" at things with your nails (example: picking off hard to remove labels, scratching residue off surfaces, picking your teeth, etc)
  • When cleaning with chemicals or doing dishes, use rubber gloves. Too much moisture makes your nails temporarily soft and bendable. When your nails bend, your nail polish will chip. Also, harsh chemicals will weaken your nail. So toss some rollers in your hair and get some yellow gloves and be a complete fashionista! haha
  • Keep a nail file with you in your handbag. At the first sign of a chip or snag, smooth it out right away. Any snags or uneven edges can catch onto clothing and other items and cause further breakage. I can't speak out of experience, but many people swear by glass/crystal nail files for a smoother result.
  • Apply hand lotion daily. Not only does it help your hands, your nails get dry too and need some moisture (but not too much). Peeling is a sign of dry nails as well as brittleness.
  • Biotin supplements aid in the health of your hair in nails. I don't take Biotin daily anymore, but when I did, my nails would grow much quicker. I would take 1,000-3,000 mg daily. Any more than that can cause breakouts - So, test it first. You can purchase Biotin from your local drugstore for a few dollars.
  • Try drinking water more often - this is a must for your overall health, skin, everything!
My nails at a short/medium length
My nails at a long length


  1. Your nails are fantastic. My nails are horrible and break easily, however OPI nail envy is the best thing i have tried!

  2. they are so long! and such a nice shape. I'm very jealous, mine split as soon as they get a little length.

  3. Excellent post, very helpful! Thanks.

    I actually like the photos of your nails when they are short/medium better!

  4. Your Nails are incredible !!!!! I am so envious :( I am so ashamed of my hands because of them lool
    Nice post will take some tips :)

  5. I wish I could grow my nails long :( *sigh* Work hates

  6. Wow! I always thought you wore acrylic nails! I'm impressed :)


  7. love them at a medium length....god, wish my nails would get their act together! i think i've found a regimen that's getting them better though :)

  8. You have beautiful nails!!!!

  9. Excellent post and tips. I need beautiful nails like yours.

  10. your nails are so gorgeous! :) thank you for your nail tips because mine need help!

  11. Thanks for the tips! Your hands are so pretty!

  12. Your nails look amazing. Have you ever tried Gel Nail polish?

  13. Helpful and informative as usual :) I also prefer the shorter nails!

  14. Your nails are gorgeous and not only that but you have the best looking cuticles too:) Love how soft & smooth you get your hands to look. I am aweful about keeping lotion on my hands. I would if do it more if I didn't touch my hair so much with them. There are a quite a few products that I use when I do take care of them but I will save that for a post one day. You have the prettiest nails!

  15. Wow! Thanks for those amazing tips! I will definetely give this a try because I would really like to have to have longer nails

  16. love that second bubble gum like color polish :)

  17. i've always loved your nails. mine peel so easily. thanks for the tips nat

  18. Thank you! :) Your nails are so perfect! I need to grow mine back out. XX

  19. Great post! You have gorgeous nails.

    My biggest issue with keeping up my nails is remembering not to use them as tools. As soon as I find myself doing that--picking at something or whatever I may be doing--I stop myself.

  20. i absolutely love this site. i just found it today but i have a few recipes in mind that i want to try out immediately.

  21. Just came across your blog the other day and am totally obsessed with it now. So sorry if this comment is so late in the game :). I'm an Eshtetician, and although nail care isn't my specialty, I've learned a great deal about them. A tip that we learned while in school when doing mani/pedis is you should always Remove the color with acetone, File, apply a cuticle dissolver, push back cuticles, THEN buff the nails. Why? Because if you push back the cuticle after you buff, then you aren't buffing the entire nail. Also, if you ever go into a salon and get your nails done (whether manicure or pedicure) be sure to find out if it's legal within your state to have your nail tech remove your cuticle with those little clippers. In most states it isn't within the scope of their license.

    Anyways, love your posts!
    Megan :)

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