Perfectly manicured nails. Who doesn’t love the look of the perfect length, shape and color you can get by going to the nail salon every two weeks and “getting your nails done” with acrylics, a gel or powders? But what happens when you try to go back to your natural nails? All of these methods damage your nails in some way, leaving them dry, brittle, thin and splitting. That’s why so many women go back to the artificial nails. It seems like if you don’t, you’ll never have “nice” nails again. But there is hope and I have found a way. Here’s how to restore damaged nails after gel, acrylic or powder manicures.
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Why I Wanted to Restore My Nails After Gel Manicures
I love the perfectly shaped nails that didn’t chip, cuticles with no hangnails and long lasting color that I got from my artificial nails. Over the last 15 years, I’ve tried them all – acrylics, gel and powder.
At first, getting my nails done every two weeks was a luxury. When I started these regular appointments in my 40’s, I had just been promoted to a management position at the nonprofit where I was working. I was making a little money. My boss got her nails done. After years as a stay at home mom with no extra money in the budget for such a luxury, I was ready to treat myself. And for a while, it was great. Until it wasn’t.
At some point, I got tired of sitting in the manicurist’s chair for an hour every two weeks. And I had other things I wanted to spend my money on. So I decided to go back to my natural nails. Except they weren’t the nails that I used to have. They were thin, dry, splitting and brittle. And after a few weeks of looking like that, I just couldn’t stand it anymore, so headed back to the salon to get the artificial ones again. I continued this cycle for 15 years.
A few months ago, I decided once again to try and go “natural”, but before doing so, I asked ladies in my Facebook group who had done this HOW they achieved healthy natural nails again. They encouraged me that it could be done. I also did some research online and came up with this plan that restored my nails to their strong and healthy original state in 8 weeks.
What I Did to Restore My Nails After Gel Manicures
I had the gels removed at the salon, had my nails trimmed short and got a regular manicure. Here’s how my nails looked on that day. You can see they are thin, ridged and uneven.
My restore my nails regimen started with applying one coat of nail strengthener daily. I did this for seven days. On the seventh day I removed the nail strengthener and started again.
After the nail strengthener dried, I applied cuticle oil to my nails and skin around them twice a day. I followed this with a heavy duty hand cream. Why use both an oil and a cream? The oil absorbs into the nail bed better and the cream creates a barrier so that the moisture doesn’t escape.
I left my cuticles alone. I didn’t trim or pick at them because the cuticles are there to protect the new nail growth that is occurring underneath.
If I needed to file my nails for any reason I used a glass nail file. Why? Because a glass nail file smooths and seals the freshly filed edges, reduces the nails susceptibility to splits and breakages. It does this by sealing the keratin layers at the edge of the nail together, preventing peeling and chipping. A glass nail file is inexpensive and the best investment you can make in restoring your fragile nails.
Other reasons to invest in a glass nail file?
- They do not dull over time.
- They are more efficient than emery boards of steel nail files because they file and smooth the nails in one quick motion.
- They can be washed in hot, soapy water and even sterilized making them more hygenic.
- Glass nail files will not wear down, corrode or rot.
I went for a manicure every 3 weeks. At that time, I did allow my manicurist to trim my cuticles, but only then. I also had her apply nail strengthen rather than traditional nail polish.
I took a Biotin supplement every day.
Here is how my nails looked at my first manicure, four weeks after removing my gels. Still weak, but looking better.
I followed my regimen RELIGIOULSY and after 8 weeks, here is what my nails look like.
I am so pleased with the results! I’m sure I’ll be sporting my natural nails from now on! Yes, you CAN have healthy, natural nails after gel, acrylic or powder manicures!
Do you have your natural nails or do you “get them done”? Have you ever gone natural after having artificial nails? Let me know in the comments!