It kind of pains me to report that my nails have been a wreck over the last few weeks. Usually it's not something that I think about too much; they grow fairly fast and I keep them at a nice, tidy mid-length. However, after an impromptu Shellac manicure a few weeks back, they went totally downhill, and, even worse, it was all my own fault!
I had absolutely no problem with the Shellac to be fair - I loved the shade I got (Tutti Frutti) and it looked really pretty on. However, as someone who paints their nails nearly every second day, I started to get sick of it really fast. I swear, I felt almost trapped not being able to paint my nails - it was like someone had removed a limb from me! Drama aside, I decided to jazz them up a bit with some pink glitter polish. It looked good, for the record, but I got sick of it again, and at this stage the Shellac was kind of growing out (not that much, but enough to irritate me), and I decided to attempt a DIY removal.
BAD idea, folks. I went and bought acetone at a local nail salon, and went to work without doing much research. It is completely beyond me why I did this. I usually really do my homework when it comes to beauty, I think I was just really impatient to be rid of it. So, armed with my acetone and cotton pads, I set to work. It lifted the glitter no problem, but didn't do much for the actual Shellac at all. Some of the corners started to lift, but that was about it. I've since read that you need to soak the nails in acetone to properly remove the Shellac, but stupid, impatient me decided to go in with a file to get the rest off. I was left with really weak, short, thin nails which I had to cut down, and one even split and bled (the trauma!). Since then, I've been working to improve the state of my nails with the help of the following products.
For nail varnish removers, I've been sticking to gentle, nourishing formulae, as the acetone really wrecked and dried out my nails and cuticles. The Bourjois Magic Nail Polish Remover is fantastic in this department - it's really gentle and doesn't stink or strip my skin. It really is such a handy thing to have and I'd definitely recommend it if you haven't tried it - have a look at Sinéad's review here! I also really like Cutex Nourishing Nail Polish Remover: it feels like it almost hardens my nails (though I doubt it does) and
On to treating my nails: to get rid of any scraggly bits and cuticles, I've been using my Sally Hansen Gel Cuticle Remover*. It's a quick and easy step which can be easy to overlook, but I think it makes such a difference to the appearance of your nails. I have a foul habit of nibbling on my cuticles, so I also use this to stop me from doing that! After using that, I usually go straight in with a generous coat of Sally Hansen Complete Care* as a moisturising base coat. I adore this stuff and have nearly used up a whole bottle already! It's amazing as both a top and base coat and it definitely does good things for my talons.
The final two products are what I feel have really made a difference in the last fortnight. I've been lashing CND Solar Oil onto my cuticles and they're totally back to normal - much less dry and more, well, normal looking. Massaging this into the nail bed is worth a shot to promote the growth of your nails. I do the same thing with Elemis Pro-Radiance Hand and Nail Cream* every night - smothering it all over my nails and cuticles and massaging it in. I really love this cream and think it's worth investing in - the tube is massive and you only need a bit at a time, and it really has done great things for my hands and nails!
So, thankfully, my nails are strong again and are almost back to their normal length at this stage. If there's anything else that you'd recommend to help them grow, do let me know - OPI Nail Envy is on my list!