It just recently occurred to me, that winter is a pretty tough time for your nails. They're exposed to the icy temperatures outside and also drying central heating inside, just as much as our skin. Plus, Christmas party season has nails subjected to all manner of glitter polishes, dark staining colours, gel manicures and of course constant costume changes from one nail art look to another. Many would embark on a new diet or exercise plan in January but for me, it's a nail detox!
Scrubbing away at glitter polishes and soaking my nails in acetone regularly has really left my nails dry, flaky and weak. My biggest crime however, is peeling off shellac type gel polishes. I know you're not supposed to do it, I know it's bad for my nails, but it's almost a subconscious thing, and once the edges of a gel polished nail have started to lift, it's just impossible for me to resist. Doing this once in a while is probably not too much of an issue, but after I'd very naughtily done this three times in a row, I realised why it's not recommended. Proper gel polishes which are cured with LED or UV light last such a long time because they achieve a much greater level of adhesion with the surface of your nail - so much so that although you can't see it, when you peel off a gel manicure, you're actually also removing the very top layer of your nail. Do this a few times and you've removed multiple layers, leaving yourself with thin and weak nails. Silly, impatient me.
Luckily, I had some products to hand which have been like first aid for my poorly treated nails, and they've really made a difference in replenishing all that lost strength.
I've been trying the Nail HQ Strengthener which contains keratin protein and alpha hydroxy acids to give nails an intensive strengthening boost, and also the Nail HQ All In One which contains argan oil and a mineral complex to target dry, brittle, soft and weak nails. I liked the sound of both, and my nails needed plenty of help, so I started off alternating between the two.
Both products work as excellent base coats for colour, or you can also wear them alone if you want to give your nails a total breather. I've steered clear of gel and heavy glitter, and have tried to lay off the colour when I'm just at home not doing very much - when I can I've worn the treatments alone, but you guys know I'd never leave the house with naked nails! When I couldn't resist wearing colour any longer, these are the only base coats I've used underneath.
On application you wouldn't really be able to tell the difference between the All In One and the Strengthener, but in use my nails started to feel like they were really improving when I was wearing the Strengthener, so I switched to just applying that one for a bit. After just a few days I noticed my nails becoming a lot less bendy and they now feel really quite strong and not weak at all. I do still get breakage if I catch a nail (you know that crunch when you accidentally bash your nail into something like a drawer? Ouch - I hate that.) so I think they're still a little bit brittle, and it's probably time to swap back to the All In One to address that.
I've noticed a great difference in the health of my nails since using these - particularly the Strengthener, so I'm certainly going to continue with them as my go-to base coats. I want to check out the other products in the Nail HQ range when I'm next in Superdrug as they seem to have something for every possible nail need. As well as these two, there's a treatment for ridges, one to help nails to grow, a hydrating primer and also an interesting looking gel top coat, and they're all priced between £5.99 and £7.99 which is not bad at all.
Do your nails need a detox too?