The Vent

Not Nice Nails

7 years ago by

Not Nice Nails

One of the downfalls of being engaged is that people look at my hands a lot more than they used to.

And that’s only a downfall because I’m terrible at taking care of my nails. On most days they are either a) polished but chipped or b) not polished and definitely not filed to the same length.

I love getting a manicure, but I’m lucky if my nails look good for an hour. I’m one of those girls that usually has found a way to chip or smudge my polish before I even leave the salon, and I’m usually too ashamed to ask them to fix it. I’ve all but given up on nice nails.

Which is unfortunate, because in business settings having bad nails is such a faux pas. And when it comes to showing people my engagement ring (sometimes they ask, sometimes I just show it because I think it’s beautiful) it’s total shame. When Josh proposed it had been at least 3 months since I’d had my nails done, so all photos were of a fist.

But seriously, how do women with perfect nails have time to have perfect nails!? Or a life where they don’t have to touch anything?! I’m convinced all women with perfect nails have a little fairy that flies around with them to take their keys and wallets out of their bags, they must wear gloves when they work out, and I don’t even know how they lift anything ever.

Any suggestions for nail maintenance I will gladly accept. Or if you’ve found a magical product that’s not gel (I tried it once and it destroyed my nails), please share.


Add yours
  • Adèle June, 26 2017, 4:07 / Reply

    Moi j’aime bien la base protectrice “clean” de Kure Bazaar. Elle a un effet mat qui peut être surprenant mais avec un top coat par-dessus pour que ça brille c’est parfait. Bon évidemment, côté durée, on parle de 5-6 jours, mais c’est un éternel recommencement les ongles de toute façon ;)

  • Therese June, 26 2017, 4:15 / Reply

    The little fairy is called “top coat”. I recommend “good to go” by Essie. It protects the nail color and makes the polish dry quicker which is key for me since I am not good at waiting and keeping my hands still. I use a base coat, two coats of my favorite nail polish and the top coat and my nails look good for a week. And I am never especially careful with them. I do my manicure in the evenings while watching TV and 20 minutes after applying the top coat, the polish is dry and I can behave normal again :-)

  • Hey Therese,
    I have this top coat, and I use it! But its still never seems to do the trick for me. Maybe there’s a trick to how you’re applying–I’ve heard capping the nail (doing a little swipe on the tip of the nail) can help, but that usually leads to polish on my hands.
    x Emily

  • I swear by Zoya polishes, base coat, and top coat. I am going on day five now with no chips and I sepnt my weekend gardening, baking, and helping someone pack for a move. I also really like that Zoya polishes are Big 10 Free.

  • Thanks for the recommendation Sarah! x

  • I like CND’s Vinylux polish line, it is essentially a hybrid of regular polish and gels; it wears better than regular polish, dries fast and is removable with regular remover. I’ve gotten the polishes off Amazon (you need to get the Vinylux top coat), the only downside is they seem to get gloppy faster than regular polish.

    You don’t need a base coat for Vinylux, but if I’m using an Essie polish (Mademoiselle is my fave), I always start with Orly’s Bonder.

    If I’m too lazy to actually do a mani (ie. most of the time), I use Dior’s nail glow (I am sure there are cheaper knockoffs). It is a clear polish with a tint of pink that makes my nails look really healthy. It dries really fast and it doesn’t smudge or show chips.

    Lastly, my nails have been growing like crazy lately and I think it is because I’ve been putting a scoop of collagen powder in my smoothies.

  • My nails grow very fast too! All of the sudden I’ll look at my hands and my nails are way too long. I need to get better at clipping and filing them more regularly, but I’m definitely having a similar growth thing (with my hair too!) x Emily

  • Honestly – I’ve really started to like the look of bare nails. I used to do my nails constantly because I just found it really relaxing, so it’s not that I don’t have the know-how to do it but lately I’ve really liked the look of short, bare nails. Not even topcoat, just totally bare. I make sure my cuticles are in check but aside from that I don’t do anything anymore!

  • I agree! But my nails tend to get jagged very easily when they don’t have anything on them–which just means I need to carry a nail file with me all the time! x

  • DelphineDes June, 27 2017, 1:30 / Reply

    The secret is oil after topcoat ! The one from Mavala is perfect, but I haven’t try any other yet.
    I can GO to sleep 15 minutes after, it’s ok.
    I can remember the Time I spent, before knowing this, the hand in cold water…

  • Great tip! Will have to try it!! x

  • I was exactly the same, until I got the courage to try acrylic nails! I know they seem sooo cheesy and trashy, but you can get a set that is the same length as your normal nails and looks completely natural. They are smooth, shiny and perfect for 2-3 weeks, which is when they start to look a little grown out. They’re also REALLY durable; I’m much more careless with them than I ever would be with a regular manicure!
    If acrylics are still too scary, you can ask if your salon does SNS – it might be called something different where you are, but it’s a system where they dip your nails in powder then paint clear polish over each layer. Unlike gel/shellac (which ruined my nails too!), it is actually full of vitamins and GOOD for your nails. :-)
    April xx


  • I did these when I was in high school! But I found the acrylic also destroyed my nails. Maybe things have changed and its not as bad as it used to be! x

  • Renata June, 27 2017, 4:23 / Reply

    I have kept my nails short and I file them once a week to keep them even. I have a nail brush in the shower so they are always clean. But my savior is the Mavala Cuticle Care – MAVAPEN – Nutritive oil for cuticles. It nourishes your cuticles to the point it looks like you just had them done! Always apply them on the way to lunch, dinner or meeting! With or without nail polish on :-)

  • Thanks Renata! Great tip! x

  • Michalina June, 27 2017, 4:47 / Reply

    Hi Emily,
    If I were to recommend anything that would be hybrid nail polish. It’s way more gentle than gel, I’ve been wearing hybrid nails for half a year now and they are not destroyed or weakened at all. It lasts perfectly for about two to three weeks, and for me it was a life changer, as I have to wash my hands a lot, studying in a hospital. My nail were always chipped or somehow destroyed and now I’ve never chipped a nail during housework, working out or life in general. From the things you write I would say it will be just perfect for you <3
    P.S. That's the first time I've ever written anything here, although I've been here regularly for a few years now. Congratulations on your engagement Emily and Garance, and thank you for all the inspiration that you are and bring to us ;) kisses from Poland!

  • Hi Michalina,
    Thank you for your very kind note, and for the advice! I will definitely give a hybrid a try! x

  • Have you ever tried so called Japanese manicure? I get gel once or twice a year and i destroys my nails totally, so I usually stick to Japanese manicure. It gives your nails a nice shine without actually applying any polish at all, it’s all about rubbing in some minerals. The shine lasts for a limited amount of time (a day if my nails are super tired and damaged after gel, or a week if they’re in a good condition). It looks very put together but also natural.

  • Hi Karina,
    I’ve never tried a Japanese Manicure, but thank you for the tip! x

  • Delphindes June, 27 2017, 6:26 / Reply

    The secret is oil at the end ! It dries the polish instantaneously !

  • I was actually on your team (Go NNN!) for years. I always thought the weekly visit to the nail salon will be my only salvation (and even then nobody can assure me that something won’t happen the minute I leave the salon). Another challenge is finding enough time and making enough money for that kind of fun so I had to be creative.

    Then I did some research and tried and tested some of the nail products and I finally think I got it! The trick is to do your own nails, once a week, at home. Make it your pampering session and really try and be neat and precise. Don’t cut your cuticles, but rather push them with one of those bamboo sticks designed especially for that matter. File your nails every week – even just a bit – it helps your polish stick to the nail for some reason. Then you apply three coats – base, polish and top coat and THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT! wait for each of them to dry well before you apply another layer. It does the trick. Also, try and apply the color on the tip of your nail only (not cuticles). I use Eveline – Nail Therapy 8 u 1 for base, Essie nail polishes and Seche Vive Gel Effect Top Coat (THE.BEST.THING.EVER like seriously forget about all other “miracle” products, this is THE shit). Also, don’t do your nails when you know you won’t have time for them to dry properly and naturally – I usually do them while watching a movie or a TV show – that way I know I have at least 20 minutes of doing nothing after I finish. This way, my nails are flawless (photo ready if you will) for at least 4 days and then good to go (with a scratch or two) for a few more days until it’s time to do it all again! If you prefer the nude trend (Essie ballet slippers for instance) then that’s a win win, it lasts even longer and all the tiny mistakes are harder to spot :)

    That’s all folks! Happy pampering!
    Oh, and congrats on your engagement :)

  • Stephanie June, 27 2017, 2:55 / Reply

    The problem with the traditional manicure is it is sooo high maintenance! But leaving ones nails alone is not ideal either. I found that the best solution is to really try and groom nails regularly, exfoliate regularly, and keep skin moisturized with moisturizer. For extra care, I add a little cuticle oil and rub some L’Occitane’s shea butter around the nail bed. And for a simple everyday low maintenance manicure, try the opposite of the traditional manicure and do one single layer of sheer nail polish with micro shimmer – no base or top coat. The effect is nicer than clear polish, kind of like a “my nails but better, plus with a subtle nail glow”. It doesn’t last long, but since it is only one coat it can be removed quickly with a non acetone polish remover (like Karma Organic) which is also less likely to damage your nails. And then you can do it all over again. Applying one single layer of sheer nail polish is also more forgiving with unsteady hands like mine (for pedicures, I add Seche Vite top coat for shine and longevity). Try out Butter’s Splash Out, or Pacifica’s Unicorn Horn. They act like luminizers for the nails instead of the face. Good luck, and hope you find something that works!

  • Cristina June, 27 2017, 6:11 / Reply

    Dior Nail Glow is what you need! I get my nails done maybe every 2 months, but most of the time I just file them short and put this stuff on. It’s clear, but brings out the natural pink in the nail. You’ll look polished and put together, and you don’t even have to go to the salon to do it.

  • Courtney June, 28 2017, 5:12 / Reply

    I have “perfect” nails and I always have. That’s funny to say but I have a collection of polish and I paint/file them every 3-4 days. I agree with another commenter that it’s all about the topcoat. I can paint my nails (base coat, 2 coats and top coat) at 8pm and be in bed by 9pm with no sheet marks or anything. I use Essie Good to go or Orly Polishield topcoat.
    It takes maybe 20 minutes to do the whole routine (less if I don’t need much of a filing) and letting them dry for 20 minutes before I touch anything helps. After that, I’m “good to go”.

  • I rarely have polished nails but have found that massaging argon oil into nails and cuticles keeps them looking well cared for but also natural.

  • Nail drying drops are great for polish, but mine are bare most of the time. They’re also prone to cracking and peeling (literally in layers), until I discovered a crystal nail file. Sephora has a very affordable one to try, I am sure there are fancy deluxe ones but give it a try.

  • Since I discovered gel-like polishes from brand Kinetics, I use only them ! Paired with top coat, they look like gelish, definetly stay a lot longer and can be taken off with simple nail polish remover :)

  • Great Info..thanks

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