For the first time since the age of 15, I have worn my natural nails for over 60 days and loved them. All my life, no matter my diet or vitamin intake, I have been plagued with weak nails that split every time they reach a particular length. After a month or two, I tend to give up on my natural nails since they will only allow themselves to grow but for so long, and because the work it takes to keep help them thrive has always been too daunting. But now, everything has changed!
What I Didn't Do:
This is not my first natural nail journey; it's just the longest one, and the one that has yielded the greatest results. The funny thing is, however, when I am asked how I finally got my nails to grow long and healthy without the usual breakage, my answer is, "I didn't do anything, really."
I visited my nail tech once a month, and protected my nails with gel polish. As usual, I kept my hands and cuticles moisturized with Honest's Organic All-Purpose Balm, and drank 2 - 3 liters of water every 24 hours. But, for the first time, I didn't pine over my nails. I didn't stress out over having to file them back, as I grew out the damaged nails left over from my last acrylic set. Still, there was little filing, and the protection of the gel polish allowed them to grow out nicely.
OPI Gel Polish:
My nail tech used OPI Gel Polish. I kept each polish for about 3 weeks, and upon removing the color, my finger tips were wrapped in cotton soaked cotton and foil. Afterward, the color was gently scraped from my nails, leaving no damage behind. This was an important difference from the last time I tried gel polish several years ago. Back then, my nail tech filed the color off, creating more damage along the way.
In the second set of photos, above, you can see the lines that mark where my acrylics used to be, with the healthy nail growing out under it. I would imagine that, within another 3 months, all the damage nails will have grown out and been clipped or filed away. And, in the interim, I will continue to use gel polish to protect them.