There are some parts of aging that bug me more than others. I accept the wrinkles. I’m learning not to cringe when I see the super saggy skin hanging off my face. Honestly. Where does that come from? Gross. I’m doing my part to keep my body firm and strong...I'm trying to understand that crepey skin is a reality at my age.
However, I’m having a tough time letting go of beautifully polished fingernails.
I’ve loved manicures since childhood. My paternal grandmother was the queen of home manicures. She applied fresh polish to her nails weekly (a frosty pink shade by Revlon) and taught me the delicate art of using three simple strokes to coat each nail.
I did my own nails for years...once even in a high school English class:-) Occasionally, I’d splurge on a professional manicure. Enjoying the pampering and perfection of having someone highly skilled perform this task for me.
Then along came that incredible development called Gel or Shellac polish. The stuff wears like iron! And the best part? Your nails are bone dry when you leave the salon. No more dinging the polish as you reach for your keys or wallet. Genius!
I loved my first gel manicure.
It was a Mother's Day gift. A mother-daughter manicure at a cool salon in West Hollywood while on vacation.
The polish was shiny and flawless for three weeks! Cooking, cleaning, gardening...nothing could mess up my nails!
I was hooked...
until it was time to remove the polish.
I wasn’t prepared for the struggle of getting the dang gel off my nails. Ten foil-tipped fingers drenched in acetone for 20-30 minutes. Ugh!
After that first gel manicure my nails were a wreck. My fingertips cracked. My nails were extremely weak. They split and they broke. All of them. Repeatedly. It was painful and unattractive.
Eventually, I nursed my nails back to better health.
The memory dimmed and I was once again lured by the long-lasting wear and stunning shine of a gel manicure. And each time I was very sorry once the polish came off.
It seems that my fingernails can no longer tolerate nail polish remover. Specifically, the quantity and exposure time needed to remove the gel.
The reality is that my nails are a disaster for months after a gel manicure.
I’ve actually made Greta promise to talk me out of it if I ever mention having another gel manicure!
It bums me out. I love manicured nails. I’m envious of women who always have meticulously painted nails. Fun colors that reflect their mood and the season.
However, as with many other things, I’m coming to terms with this change in my life.
My season for manicures seems to be over. With the exception of possibly my children's weddings, I think I’m finished with glossy coats of nail polish. (Thankfully, my toes are tough, so pedicures are still happening:)
If someone invents something as wonderful as gel that doesn’t require harsh chemicals for removal...I’ll certainly reconsider!
Until then, I’m doing what I can to keep my hands and nails looking healthy.
My tips for embracing healthy, natural nails...
Great lotion- my favorite (discovered when my fingertips kept cracking) O’Keeffe’s. This stuff is amazing. It actually heals the cracks and soothes dry skin. And it helps strengthen my fingernails. I’ve used the tub and the tube. Both rock! Available at most grocery stores and Target.
Vitamin E Oil- I use one that brushes on by Sally Hansen. I’ve started to apply this stuff religiously. It’s the only thing that seems to moisturize my very dry nails. Great for my cuticles also!
Short and clean- I keep my fingernails relatively short and square. This helps prevent breaking. I’m also a stickler for keeping my nails clean. No polish means that everything under the tip of my nails is visible. Yuck. A nail brush is my friend:-)
Rubber gloves- They might seem old-school, but my yellow dish-washing gloves are the best! The best trick is to slather lotion on your hands and nails before you don the gloves. Then do the dishes...the hot water + the lotion = a spa moisture treatment for your hands. And clean dishes, too! Win. Win.
Have something that works for keeping your hands and nails looking great? Please share!
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Thanks so much for following along and for chiming in.
Just so you know, I won't be posting next week (and possibly the week after)...my kids have Spring Break and since it's the last one with everyone in high school, I'll be spending time with them!
Also, I'm working on something that I hope will be super helpful to you. It's been a long time coming. I can't wait to share more...very soon:-)
Have an amazing weekend!
Hello, I'm Kristen.
As a personal stylist,