Since I grew my natural nails out to the same length I used to keep my fake nails I've been getting TONS of questions. I created a video, but for reasons we will not get into I removed it from YouTube. Onto my routine!
Filing and Maintenance
To be honest with you, I do not file my nails very often anymore. I find that it shreds my nails, and promotes breakage. But if I do need to file I use a fine grit nail file.
When you file you need to file in only one direction, not in a sawing motion. This is why many people have splits, cracks and peeling. That sawing motion is tearing the free edge of your nail and making it weak.
Glass or crystal nail files are excellent for natural nails!
I push back my cuticles once a week (or every other time I polish my nails) with a cheap-o cuticle pusher.
Don't clip, cut or trim your cuticles. They grow back faster if they are removed this way. Pushing them back lasts longer!
Here I will outline step by step what I do when I paint my nails:
Remove polish with regular acetone nail polish remover. (I do not feel it is necessary to use any 'nourishing' polish remover as I do not feel it works)
Push cuticles back
Put down two coats of Nail Magic Botanical Nail Strengthener.
Use two-three coats of desired nail lacquer.
Two coats of Nail Magic Top Coat, or Out the Door Top Coat.
Making your nail polish last isn't always about the quality of the nail polish. A lot of the staying power is all in your application technique. Even coats and a good top coat can help tons.
I do not want anyone to think that my natural nails come easy, because they don't. It's a lot of maintenance. I'm very careful to keep my hands out of treacherous situations and I keep them manicured all the time. I believe that the amount of product I keep on them is a huge factor in why they are so strong. Don't get me wrong, they certainly have broken before, and they chip from time to time, it's the nature of the beast.
China Glaze nail lacquer has nail hardeners in the polish. That's one of the main reasons I use it so much, it's like a double whammy of strengthener for my nails.
My nails have always been garbage. They used to flake, peel, and break off like shells crumbling. So that's why I work so hard to keep them maintained.
I used to wear gel nails, for about a year to a year and a half. I did my own, and it ruined my nails. December 2009 is when I started my quest to have my own healthy nails.
I have blog posts about my favorite top coats, and about the Nail Magic Botanical Nail Strengthener.