Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Naked Nails - Letting them breathe.

Yes, as promised, those are my naked nails. Last night I took off all the glitter and stones, filed and buffed and then just let them be. As you can see, they're not in very good shape after being slathered in polish for an entire year - normally I let them "breathe" at least every six months, but had too much fun with the nail art last year. I have no idea if it's recommended or not, but I do know my nails seem healthier when I give them small breaks from polish once in awhile.

First I removed the polish -my favorite nail polish remover is Zoya's Remove plus, with the flipper top. If you haven't used one of these bottles, you're missing out. You just push down on the top with a cotton ball, and remover wicks up, so there's no mess or fuss. Super simple. Aside from that and cotton balls, I use my favorite metal cuticle stick to gently pry off any stones or art bits that don't want to come lose. Normally for a good manicure, I'd dip my hands in the paraffin bath a few times and let that cool right after this, but I didn't plug the paraffin in early enough to get it melted. Next week, for sure! After I remove the polish, I wash my hands/nails good, scrubbing over and under the nails with a brush.

This is the rest of my nail care "kit" - I have an electric file, my crystal file, cuticle nippers, clippers, and my trusty metal cuticle stick again. I normally don't use the electric file on my fingernails - but it works great for my tough toenails. I did use it to buff my fingernails this time. I use the crystal file on the edges, and when I'm polishing, I use it to rough up the nail surface too.

I broke my thumbnail this past weekend - snapped the tip right off. I had to cut the remaining supportive tissue off with my cuticle nippers to align with what's left of my nail...painful, but it just looked too bad to leave it.

After the edges are done (crystal file), I started buffing the tops. First a light touch with the course sander over the whole nail (I could say filing drum, but really, we all know this is sandpaper for nails, right?).

Then a more fine grit - again over the whole top of the nail to smooth out ridges, nicks, etc.

And finally the smooth buffing tool to shine them up a bit.

Voila, bare, slightly stained nails that are smooth and about as good as they're going to get for the moment.

I'll leave these bare for the week, and will probably break a few (the polish really protects the tips from breakage in my case). I'm going to indulge in a few paraffin baths, keep my hands and nails well-hydrated, and hopefully they'll be looking better next Monday night when it's time for polish again. Before and after photos next Tuesday (and a new design).

With any luck, I'll get used to typing again sooner than that - polish makes my nails "heavier", and when I take it off, they feel incredibly weird for a few days. Makes typing odd. 

Do you ever feel like you need to just let your nails take a break from all the polish? Are you self-conscious about leaving your nails "naked"?