Oil Slick Recovery — A.K.A. Nail Care 2013 continued

Confused by my title? Thought I was going to talk about an oil spill in the ocean showing poor birds or seals needing to be cleaned? Nope. It started with another kind of catastrophe. My nail break. However, I am in no way comparing the two types of accidents as if they are remotely similar in seriousness! Although, admittedly, both events do make me want to cry, a little bit.


Stock Photo purchased thru PhotoDune (found here)

This little guy is too young to understand either tragedy…but I couldn’t resist adding a visual aid. Anyway, back to ME and my, “I broke a nail!” dilemma. It sparked my use of lots & lots of oil and other slick-ery products. Ahh..now the title is making some sense. I’ll show these products and a couple photos of polished nails after telling my story. If you’re brave or curious or both…click to finish reading this post…

In fairness, my nail care regime was working well for the most part. (If you missed my post on this, you can check back here and see what products/routines I had found work well for me.) Rather, the particular kind of nail break I experienced came about because of a true accident (with a knife) not specifically any failing of my nail care. Having said this though, the event has brought me to reevaluate and read EVEN MORE about nails & proper care, particularly when having problems. And I have a few “lessons learned” to share.

I didn’t take any pictures of the break or aftermath (Sorry?), but it now shall be noted that a newly sharpened kitchen knife and chopping baby carrots can be hazardous to nails. Actually, at the time it happened, I didn’t think any damage was done. I remember thinking I came close to hurting myself when my finger was too close to the carrots. But about a week later, I noticed a perfectly straight slit on the side of my index nail – horizontal from the edge across toward the center of my nail plate. And, the worst part – it was (at the time I noticed it) still half-way down the length of my nail. Yikes! I really didn’t know what to do. So, I kept on painting my nails, hoping it would grow out and not get worse. I remember contemplating putting a band-aid around that finger…but I think that would’ve just brought the inevitable sooner.

Well…it lasted through the Glitter Balloons and the Snow Frosted Half-Moons…but the very next day, when grabbing a blanket, R-I-P! And because it was way below the free-edge, “Ouch!” Instant sadness. After filing the damaged nail as best I could, I knew I needed to set about seeing if there was anything I could do to get my nails to grow quicker and/or stronger? Is there such a miracle? Short answer, no. But there are things I learned I could do to try and prevent this again (or at least similar types of accidents to the very delicate sidewalls of the nail.

I have pretty healthy nails, albeit as wonky and crooked as my fingers from both genetics and abuse in my “past” life. But since studying them even closer, I’ve learned that the sidewalls of my nails are my trouble-zone. (I’ve never gotten so darn familiar with any other body parts before, it’s a little weird…but when you consider photographing them with macro lenses as tiny canvases for art, then, I guess it’s OK.) On all of my fingers/thumbs, the lateral folds (skin) detach from the nail before the free edge at the ends of the tips. And particularly, this is the most exaggerated on my index fingernails. Simply put, it’s the fragile unprotected nail edges on the sides that need me to be more careful than I realized. Understanding the anatomy, using some extra products, filing differently, and overall caution has brought me some success with the other 9 nails in addition to my damaged nail in the process – bonus!

OK, this is turning into a book…one that I didn’t expect to write either. I was going to just keep all of this out of the blog, but changed my mind for 2 reasons. The first, I’m afraid if I didn’t, it would be too easy, in time, to forget this episode and fall back into complacency. The other is that I wanted to share the extra products I got (and liked) as an adjunct to my previous Nail Care post.

I now know, the next time, if I should have any damage or tear to a side of a nail – not to ignore it. There are quite a few posts/articles/how-to’s on the internet of things to do about it. I’m still considering some options (and since the nail tore off, I was beyond repair this time). But most importantly, I’ve learned some things I need to do to prevent as many issues as possible. While I find the cuticle balms I talked about earlier to work well for me, I needed to up my game, bring in a couple more, and apply them more frequently each day. Having many to choose from and handy throughout the house was the mission; adding these helped tremendously.


QTICA – Cuticle Balm and CND – Solar Oil

I began applying all of my cuticle repair/nourish products in different orders/frequencies EVERY day. I figured if some is good, more is better. From everything I have read so far, one can not moisturize too much. But not only did I need to keep the area around my nails in even better health, but I wanted my nails to GROW. I know it was only one nail, and there’s really nothing wrong with painting and showing off short nails…I just wanted to take advantage of the busy holiday time so that coming back to blogging in January would showcase my nail art, not the state of my nails. (Really, after this epic, long-winded post, I don’t want to think about my nail length/condition this much for awhile.)

QTICA – Natural Nail Growth Stimulator

OK, so I know that getting nails to grow faster is really not possible (barring getting pregnant, taking biotin – which makes all hair grow too, or moving to a warm climate). But this product by QTICA seemed to be the right naked nail product for me to wear during this time. And, I’m quite happy with the results – even though they have nothing to do with nail growth, per se. I followed the instructions and applied it to the nails every other day; then, after the third time removed the layered build-up. I would leave my nails naked for a day – applying tons of oil to them, and start the process again. What I found was that after using this for just over 2 weeks, I was able to get the sidewalls of my nails stronger which helped grow out the weaker parts all the way to match the free edge of the rest of the nail.


Nail Tek Foundation II

I have this other nail treatment that strengthens and I could’ve technically used it, but it works too well for me and my nails become brittle if I use that much. (I do use it for the ridge-filling properties when wearing polish needing a smooth look.) So, L-O-N-G story short, I kept my hands/nails covered in oil and slicked on lots of lotions and treatments that gave my hands/nails a nice winter break boost.

Also, I changed my filing technique to allow for more gentle treatment of my nails such as being diligent about filing one direction only and changing the angle of my file when attending to the corners. And, in general, I’ve tried to become more gentle in how I use my hands (not easy!). Also, reducing the water they’re exposed to helps.


These kitchen brushes by Casabella can keep my hands out of the water and far from the scrubbing action! (Found at Bed, Bath and Beyond and on Amazon.com)


On Christmas day, I wanted color on my nails. Naked nails can get so boring! Hah! I had just enough time the day before to paint them this very pretty red, CND – Veronica. It’s from their Colour line (which is retired sadly) and I found it online.


This color reminds me of cranberry sauce because of its almost jelly-like consistency that has depth to it. Of course, this makes it a little tricky to apply and it was a good practice polish session for me (I need lots and lots of practice to make up for my past life without polish, hah!)


I had filed all of my other nails down as short as I could stand, and the problem nail wasn’t too far behind by this point. Yay! Knowing it would be awhile after Christmas, I chose to pose with a more year-round object. Isn’t this vase lovely? I’m a sucker for Italian pottery.

So, if you have stuck with this whole post – you deserve cake!!! And, I hope you grabbed that cuticle balm at the beginning – there was plenty of time for it to sink in while reading.

Till next time,