9 Day Nail Challenge Follow Up

IMG_0215After challenging myself to 9 days of intense nail care back in February, I broke my nail biting habits and kicked my cuticle picking to the curb. With a little discipline and maintenance I was able to turn my beat up and broken nails into lovely lady fingers that even get complimented at the nail salon! Who would have seen that coming! Not me, that’s for sure. I have always been embarrassed about my nails which made even the most mundane acts like hand shaking even uncomfortable. Nail biting and picking was a nervous habit that often took place subconsciously for me, but what I quickly realized was that even when I made them look awful, for some reason I couldn’t stop. It’s like I thought that the more I picked and bit at them, the better they’d eventually become, but in reality, they only got way, WAY worse.

Working in visual merchandising only took that embarrassment to another level because I literally worked with my hands and was regularly showing product to customers and store employees, which meant I was also showing them one of my worst features. Working in the field and in stores also prevented my hands from ever catching a break. They would get beaten up during floor and fixture moves and were always dry and cracked from working with the product and unpacking boxes. Now that I’ve been promoted and work in my company’s office, my hand beatings in the field have been limited down to one day a week. This change in my lifestyle has significantly helped my nails become a feature that I am proud of. It’s a great feeling to love the way your hands look and feel. Now if I could only commit to wearing weight lifting gloves at the gym so that my baby calluses would stop showing up! I guess that will be the next step I’ll take to improving my hand confidence.

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My Nail Tricks:

I always carry hand lotion with me. Moisturized hands are happy hands and I find that by keeping my hands and nail beds moisturized, my cuticles aren’t as prone to cracking and peeling. My hands are also softer and my nail beds are much smoother which helps enhance the look of polish and even allows me to rock only a clear coat if I so choose, since they are so much healthier looking.

Finding a good nail salon isn’t easy. Popping into random salons has never proven to work out in my favor but it is important to find a trusted place by both work and home. Having a good salon by work for those manicure lunch breaks can easily become a company best practice for you and your favorite co-workers. After all, most salons close by 7 so getting to your favorite salon after rush hour isn’t always practical.

Don’t be afraid to tell your manicurist if there is something about the manicure that just doesn’t sit right with you. Keeping open communication will only help to ensure you leave with the most satisfying manicure possible! If I’m getting a French, you best believe I’m calling out any uneven lines and I am ALWAYS sure to check the shape before any polish is applied. This prevents disappointment when it’s too late to make any easy changes!

I treat myself to a manicure about once a week, sometimes every two. A basic mani with no added frills will do the job in maintaining my shape and length. I find it very beneficial to have a “professional” cut and file my nails to prevent breaking because when I leave the job up to myself, I usually end up over cutting, filing or clipping. Also, I am not a huge fan on gel manicures because as soon as they start to peel, I feel obligated to take the whole coating off and I don’t like buffing down my nails to hold the adhesive because it thins them out significantly. A basic manicure has proven to be the most reliable and for about $12 with tip, I can afford to go almost every week which further helps with my regular routine/maintenance.

I’ve invested in some good quality nail treatments for when I can’t make immediate time for the nail salon. A great nourishing, quick drying treatment that I like to throw on in between polishes is Revlon’s Treat & Boost. This gives your nails added strength and prevents splitting, cracking and breaking. I’ve found that this treatment allows my nails to grow longer, faster and keeps them super strong and durable.

I still strongly rely on my cuticle treatments as posted in my original 9 Day Nail Challenge post and find that the biggest trick is to not over evaluate my nails. If I pick on the minor imperfections of my polish or nail shape I end up ruining the manicure entirely. If I can continue to just take care of my nails and hands in general without over thinking it, I will continue to be the best back scratcher in all the land.