You may have noticed that I’ve been rocking longer, rounder nails the last few months. It wasn’t really an intentional decision, it sort of just happened when my nails somehow decided to be strong enough to grow and not crack / chip / break / peel. I’ve always struggled with weak nails thanks to my thyroid condition so I was pleasantly surprised when my nails took a turn for the better these last few months. Initially I had chalked it up to my prenatals and all the supplements and vitamins I had been taking while pregnant and breastfeeding; but here we are months after all of that and my nails are still thriving.
I do think the vitamins have contributed to this newfound strength in my nails but I’m more convinced that it has everything to do with the waterless manicures I have been getting. I started getting at-home mani-pedis (via Glamsquad) while pregnant out of convenience and also to avoid breathing in all the fumes. Luckily during one of my sessions a very knowledgeable technician informed me of the benefits of going waterless on your hands and also not cutting your cuticles. The whole situation was life-changing, as I’m terrified of the nail salon after so many times of leaving with my cuticles bleeding. Needless to say I have been using the same nail tech since she showed up at my door.
The reason behind going waterless is this: when you soak your nails in water, your nails expand as they absorb the water. It’s very drying on your nails, too. After your nails are painted they will “shrink” back to their normal size (kind of like a wooden door after it has rained for a few days) and that is when your nail polish is susceptible to easy chipping. The nail salons usually soak your nails to soften the cuticle, making it easier to push down and cut. However, you need your cuticles! You know damn well cavemen did not trim their cuticles, so why are we?!
What she does recommend for your cuticles is a little clean up using an orange stick with a little file-like sticker that simply shaves off any excess cuticle while pushing them down gently. I never really understood why manicures always included this weird pushing and cutting of cuticles–just doesn’t seem natural to me. Now that I’ve gone months this way I will never go back to that scary cutter or painful stick shoving my cuticles down into the nail beds.
Now let’s talk shape. Keeping my nails round has been the key to the length. I have always been a square nail girl, but I found my nails constantly peeling and breaking on the corners. Since going round my nails can hold the length and I rarely break a nail. The strength (IMO) has come from the waterless manicures, in addition to my vitamins and collagen intake.
I also want to throw it out there that using a glass nail file will help with peeling. Before I made all these changes to my nail routine I switched to a glass file and it helped tremendously. I learned that filing in ONE direction is also key (learned that tip while working on my nail polish collab with NCLA). So don’t furiously file back and forth…just file in one direction.
In terms of my manicures always looking “perfect” on the gram, let me tell you, they are far from it. I usually pick VERY muted / neutral colors (except that one time I went yellow!), and that really helps hide the appearance of chipping or imperfections. Trust me, my nails are not always perfectly manicured, but using a light color will make it appear as though you have your life together.
Lastly, when I do my nails at home I always apply a coat of Nailtiques, which is a protein for your nails to help strengthen them. I don’t know a ton about this product but I’ve been using it for years and it has always helped so I’ll link it here if anyone is interested.