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How to: DIY Nail Rehab

Uncategorized Oct 23, 2012

A little while ago I noticed that when left unpolished my nails were looking less-than-chic, due to the fact that they were constantly peeling, chipping and breaking. I can’t be sure exactly what caused them to be so rubbish, but wearing nail polish day in and day out, using acrylic and spray paints in my DIY projects, dying clothes and all sorts of other nail ruining activities definitely didn’t help. In the past I’ve had half decent nails but it seems the last few months have taken a toll. And so with my not so nice nails in mind (and in hand as it were), I decided to go on a little nail rehab. I’m so happy to say that the steps I followed below really (truly!) helped. The pics I’ve included in this post are out-takes of a project I’ve been working, I wanted to show you some proof that thanks to my rehab they are in a way better state – not perfect-hand-model-nails but vastly improved!

Do you find your nails are looking less than flash? If you have to constantly wear nail polish to cover them up then you should definitely do a bit of rehab yourself. This is what I did.

DIY Nail Rehab
1. Go lacquer free: Take off your nail polish and stop wearing it for a least a fortnight (I went a month or so). I’m such a polish girl (it’s particularly nice to have bright nails when taking DIY tutorial pictures) but constant wearing of polish no doubt wears out your nails, so having a few weeks of letting them breath now and be chemical free really helps. This goes for acrylics and shelac, both of which can be pretty hard on your nails.
2. Cut down to nothing: When you start your rehab ban, cut your nails as short as they will go, and lightly file them. This allows them to grow out fresh and they will be less likely to be thin and break.
3. Hydrate: Everything I have read about having healthy nails has said to moisturise after every time you wash your hands and also use cuticle oil to keep your nails healthy. To me this sounds like a pretty strict regime and not something I could stick to (if you are someone who can I tip my hat to you!), but in my books if you moisturise with hand cream at least before bed and perhaps use cuticle oil I think that would suffice. I found that using herbal calendula cream on your hands overnight makes such a difference to both your nails and your hands.
4. File and lightly buff: As part of my rehab I got myself a nail file and tried to use it regularly (having one on hand at my desk or in my handbag), and it has improved my nails no end. Make sure you buy one that is for real nails and not artificial nails (those ones will be way to hard on your nails) and, as they always say, file in one direction.
5. Push down cuticles: After you shower or wash your hands, use a towel to gently push down the cuticles of your nails away from the nail itself. Some people say you should remove the cuticle all together but I think that isn’t overly necessary.
6. Take supplements: Taking Calcium, zinc and a multi vitamins can really help strengthen your nails and improve your health generally. A friend of mine who was a chronic nail biter started taking calcium and stopped biting almost straight away, so if you tend to nibble, check you to make sure you don’t have any mineral deficiencies.
7. Choose wisely: At the worst point my nails were absolutely dismal – thin and brittle.  I changed nail polish removers and almost overnight they improved (funnily enough the remover I had been using claimed to be ‘nail strengthening’ but turned out to be the opposite). So choose your polishes and removers wisely – always avoid those with formaldehyde.

Obviously I’m no expert, so if you have any other suggestions for me or my readers please do share! If someone could also recommend a nail hardening clear polish that improves your nails in a natural way I would love to hear.

On a side note, I’m looking forward to showing you what I made with my 3 yards of sequin fabric!

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