My name is Liz, and I'm a recovering addict. I have worn acrylics for the past 6 years, without any break whatsoever. My nails were weak and soft and prone to peeling to begin with, so I thought that wearing acrylics would allow me to use my nails a bit more. But now I've had enough. I'm tired of the upkeep and the expense. Also, now that I'm painting them far more often, they don't last nearly as long. Nail polish remover, even the acetone free kind, eats acrylic. So last night I took them off. Pitched them and all of the upkeep supplies that I had. And went on a shopping spree for my rehab efforts. Here is my story (so far).
This is how horrible my nails looked right after the acrylics got taken off. See the huge flaky patch on my thumb? ::Shudder:: At least they have a little bit of length to them. It makes the adjustment process far easier. Let me be the first to tell you how odd it feels to be typing right now though. My nails are very thin from all the filing (needed to adhere the acrylics) and the buffing (to smooth out the filing).
My nails have now been filed to smooth out the ends, and buffed with the roughest side of a buffing block to smooth out the tops. This step took approximately 15 minutes to do both hands. They still look atrocious.
Now we finally see a little bit of improvement. My cuticles have been pushed back, and the 2nd and 3rd sides of the buffing block have been used. That block is a miracle worker on it's own. My nails are glassy smooth, even though the still look pretty nasty. This took another 10 minutes or so, but even on my thin and ravaged nails, the buffer block was incredibly gentle. None of the scraping, nails on a chalkboard feeling that comes from a regular file scraping off the top layer of nail. I decided against using the final side of the buffing block, the shine side, as I planned on painting my nails anyway.
Essie Grow Stronger Fortifying Nail Treatment. Promises 30% stronger nails in 5 days, up to 20 % longer nails in 5 day, and stronger and more resilient nails as they grow out. I got this at Walgreen's for $8.
Here it is on the nail. Applies perfectly clear, but it does appear to have hidden some of those white rough patches pretty well. I used it as a base coat for my color.
And here are the final two steps for the night: color and topcoat. I used 3 coats of NYC Carrie'd Away (maybe $3 at Walmart? I already had this one, so I'm guessing). This is absolutely the perfect "Your Nails But Better" nude color for my skin tone. I can't stop looking at my nails, not because they're flashy and pretty, but because they look amazingly healthy, and they really have no right to. Because they aren't. But they polish makes them look so. There is still a bit of VNL, so it looks fairly natural.
Topcoat is one coat of Sally Hansen Hard as Wraps Acrylic Gel + Nylon Clear Topcoat ($6 at Walgreen's), which promises to make my nail hard like wraps in one step! It did not. I dried my nail color for 2 minutes, as instructed, and then applied both as a topcoat and to the underside of the tips of my nails. The tips are still very flexible, but then my nails are an extreme case at the moment. So I'll let it slide. It dried quickly and left a nice wet looking shine. I'll keep at it until my nails are strong enough on their own. I did add a coat of Seche Vite (I know- 6 coats of nail polish! But it's really not that thick- the color is very thin on its own.), but I really didn't need to. My nails were dry, and the Sally Hansen added enough shine on its own. It's just habit.
So there you have the story of my very first nail therapy session. Hopefully the two products I picked are good ones. I'll keep you posted, as I'm well aware of how long and arduous a process this is going to be. If you have gone through this as well, and have hints or product suggestions, please let me know! And if you're in the same boat as me, let me know that too- we can be support buddies :)