Monday, June 9, 2014

From the Inside Out

I’ve been a vegetarian for the better part of my life. I never experienced any “symptoms” due to the lack of eating red meat, at least not that I could tell. I recently embarked on a two-week protein binge. I ate seafood on ten out of fourteen days, and one night… I ate veal. 

Please don’t go off on a tangent about how I’m a monster for eating veal, okay? Hateful comments will be ignored and deleted. 

During the past two weeks, I noticed something very unusual. My horribly brittle nails that refused to grow suddenly began to increase in strength and length. They’re not long, diamond-hard talons, but they’re not as paper thin as they once were.

I do think I might have been hasty in my judgment of OPI’s Nail Envy. It’s likely my continued use had something to do with the improvement, too, and I just hadn’t given it enough time to go to work for me.

So, for the curious, here are the steps/products I’ve been using. (Note that the polish used changes, but the base and top coats don’t).  

1.) Make sure there is nail polish (or just a coat of Nail Envy) on the nails before filing, as this provides a bit of resistance to the filing and keeps them supported. I exclusively file my nails now unless I have to cut one because of breakage. The pressure of the clippers coming down around my nails was causing them splinter up past the quick and bleed. 

2.) Two coats of OPI Nail Envy, not just one. I make sure my nails are dry before I use a polish. 

3.) Make sure the polish is free of drying ingredients (look for polishes that are “three free,” referring to DBP — dibutyl phthalate — toluene, and formaldehyde). 

4.) Allow the polish to dry before applying Sally Hansen’s Dries Instantly top coat. 

5.) Every day, apply another coat of Nail Envy over the top coat. It will help, and it coats the cuticle, aiding in protection and growth.

6.) Watch your diet. Bulking up on protein has helped me tremendously. Keep a food journal, make a note of what could be missing from your diet, and try to work it in.

7.) Wear gloves when washing dishes and doing laundry. It helps a lot, as does using hand cream after each hand-washing.

8.) After polish removal, coat the nails with more Nail Envy and wait a few days before repainting. I know, I know. I have the ugliest nails when they’re bare, so I’m aware of how much it sucks, but it’s good for your nails. 

9.) Cuticle oil. I alternate between Essie’s apricot oil and coconut oil. Both seem to work about the same.

10.) Watch the length! Because I work with my hands constantly, I know I can’t have ultra-long nails. Know how long you can go before your nails suffer and maintain that length.

So that’s it. What’s your nail care routine?

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