I got a weird question about my healthy nails the other day from one of my followers. They asked:
“How are you keeping your nails so gorgeous during this crisis? How have you managed to fill them?”
I am guessing that she thought that my healthy nails were not real. I can see how one might assume that as I rarely have them without nail polish on them, especially for pics and videos.
But I assure you they are all natural, as you can see from this lovely pic after gardening caused some of my squovals to break off and look more oval.
But my nails haven’t always been this long and healthy. Actually, for the last seven years I have been in a battle of nail maintenance hell that nearly had me running to the nail salons to get gel nails.
It started with my move to Utah. Before that, I had decent nails that I kept short because of little ones. I took them for granted, using them to scratch sticky things off new products, to scritch at food stuck on a dish I was washing, to gain leverage under pop cans with wild abandon. I never really understood women complaining about breaking a nail.
How Environment can Impact Nails
Then we moved to Utah and in a matter of days (it was the middle of winter) I painfully broke every single one of my nails. I chocked it up to the extra abuse from the move.
But they struggled to grow back. They would split, peel, and snap off painfully at the slightest provocation.
On top of that, I developed painful dermitits on my hands. My cuticles would peel and get caught on things, ripping down to red bloody skin. I blamed the hard water and dry air of Utah and increased my lotion usage with minimal results.
And so began a seven year long effort that has led to my current healthy nail regimen. This plan is a precarious maintenance routine tied closely together. If I slack off on any of these elements for too long, I pay the price with broken nails, bleeding cuticles, and painful splitting.
I do not consider this a “beauty routine” because first, I’m really not that shallow and second, I would totally be too lazy to maintain it if not for the very real and very painful consequences when I slip up. Gel nails may be more expensive, but they would be so much easier if this were just about vanity.
That being said, here is my routine.
Start on the Inside
I started with taking a women’s multivitamin. This was actually recommended by a doctor for several reasons, my nails not included. But I did notice that when I take my Optiwoman Women’s Multivitamin once in the morning and once at night, the quality of my nails improves.
I should mention that I also take Triple Flex. Not sure if it makes a difference with my nails, but figured I would mention it, just in case.
I work very hard to incorporate plenty of water in my diet. It is good for my skin, hair, nails, and digestion. I feel more invigorated every day that I start off drinking 12 ounces of water and aim to consume 3 oz for every pound I way. This tip was recommended by a nutritionist to help my body absorb nutrients efficiently and to potentially help in losing weight. It seems that it is amazing for the first, but hasn’t seemed to make a difference on the second. But I digress.
I also work hard to eat a balanced diet with plenty of healthy oils.
For other health reasons, I eat less processed foods or refined sugars. Again, I have found that this does make a noticible difference in my nails when I slip up on this.
The last piece I added to my diet that I will swear by is the Naked Fruit Juice products. I was having a hard time getting enough fruit and veg in to meet my needs so I added a shot to my morning liquid breakfast and I don’t know what it is about it that is different, but it does make a difference to the thickness of my nails. I didn’t think it could be true, but during lockdown we had a hard time getting it a few weeks and my nails got significantly thinner and started breaking again. Naked Fruit juice was the only change that could account for it.
The Outside Matters Too
I bought cleaning gloves for the first time in my 30 odd years of cleaning. I wear them religiously. The water here is so harsh that it destroys my nails and cuticles so fast!
I also have lotion at every sink in my house. I wash my hands, dry them, and apply lotion. It is the only way to keep the dermatitis at bay, especially in the wintertime when the air is completely sapped of moisture.
Next step, getting gloves to wear outside. I have winter gloves, I have cool weather gloves, I have gardening gloves. I do feel silly wearing all of them because I’m the kind of person who doesn’t own an umbrella because I’m not bothered getting wet. Yet, my livelihood is made in how well I can type. Painful inflammation in my fingers and hands makes typing pretty impossible.
I have also found that an active lifestyle with a regular walking routine and getting up every hour or so from my desk to get the blood flowing also benefits my nails.
My last step to my nail routine I found a natural remedy recommended by some Youtuber (I wish I could remember who, but I cannot even find her video anymore.)
She recommended doing this every day, but I definitely do not have that kind of time. I typically do it once a week. Sometimes I forget and go two weeks.
All Natural Nail Bath Recipe
- A bowl deep enough to fully submerge both hands and nails comfortably.
- 2 tbs of olive or vegetable oil
- 2 tsp of lemon juice
- 2 tsp salt
- Warm water to fill the bowl enough to fully submerge nails.
You put everything in the bowl then stir it together and soak your nails, constantly rubbing and massaging them for a half hour or so. Because of my dermititis, I will get my hands in it as much as possible too. The warm water opens the pores. The salt will rub off any ridges or rough skin and the lemon juice is supposed to whiten stained nails? I know that when I have torn cuticles they always seem to get infected and swell and hurt. But this bath definitely cleans the infection out. When I first found this, I had bleeding cuticles on most of my fingers. They were constantly getting caught and tearing more. I had been in this agony for months with no relief. Two weeks of doing this treatment every day had completely healed every single wound.
And I had gorgeous long healthy nails again. But I don’t have a half-hour to sit and soak my nails every day. My life is far too busy for that. So I do this treatment about once a week, sometimes twice a month.
Put it all Together
I use all of these techniques in combination to get the lovely healthy nails I have. I also paint my nails at least once a week usually, to remind me to wear gloves when doing chores.
But I am not a vain creature and life gets busy and I often forget to do this or that part of the routine. When I find my nails breaking off, it is a great reminder that I need to start over with my regimen.
Do you have lovely long healthy nails? How do you maintain them? Let us know in the comments below.
Until next time,