Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Naked Nails - Letting them breathe.

Yes, as promised, those are my naked nails. Last night I took off all the glitter and stones, filed and buffed and then just let them be. As you can see, they're not in very good shape after being slathered in polish for an entire year - normally I let them "breathe" at least every six months, but had too much fun with the nail art last year. I have no idea if it's recommended or not, but I do know my nails seem healthier when I give them small breaks from polish once in awhile.

First I removed the polish -my favorite nail polish remover is Zoya's Remove plus, with the flipper top. If you haven't used one of these bottles, you're missing out. You just push down on the top with a cotton ball, and remover wicks up, so there's no mess or fuss. Super simple. Aside from that and cotton balls, I use my favorite metal cuticle stick to gently pry off any stones or art bits that don't want to come lose. Normally for a good manicure, I'd dip my hands in the paraffin bath a few times and let that cool right after this, but I didn't plug the paraffin in early enough to get it melted. Next week, for sure! After I remove the polish, I wash my hands/nails good, scrubbing over and under the nails with a brush.

This is the rest of my nail care "kit" - I have an electric file, my crystal file, cuticle nippers, clippers, and my trusty metal cuticle stick again. I normally don't use the electric file on my fingernails - but it works great for my tough toenails. I did use it to buff my fingernails this time. I use the crystal file on the edges, and when I'm polishing, I use it to rough up the nail surface too.

I broke my thumbnail this past weekend - snapped the tip right off. I had to cut the remaining supportive tissue off with my cuticle nippers to align with what's left of my nail...painful, but it just looked too bad to leave it.

After the edges are done (crystal file), I started buffing the tops. First a light touch with the course sander over the whole nail (I could say filing drum, but really, we all know this is sandpaper for nails, right?).

Then a more fine grit - again over the whole top of the nail to smooth out ridges, nicks, etc.

And finally the smooth buffing tool to shine them up a bit.

Voila, bare, slightly stained nails that are smooth and about as good as they're going to get for the moment.

I'll leave these bare for the week, and will probably break a few (the polish really protects the tips from breakage in my case). I'm going to indulge in a few paraffin baths, keep my hands and nails well-hydrated, and hopefully they'll be looking better next Monday night when it's time for polish again. Before and after photos next Tuesday (and a new design).

With any luck, I'll get used to typing again sooner than that - polish makes my nails "heavier", and when I take it off, they feel incredibly weird for a few days. Makes typing odd. 

Do you ever feel like you need to just let your nails take a break from all the polish? Are you self-conscious about leaving your nails "naked"?


Liz said...

You have really nice nails. Mine are stained exactly like yours. It doesn't bother me. :) I guess I like to keep them polished because polish seems to strengthen them. Whenever my nails are naked.... I break one!

Colette said...

Sometimes I'd like to leave mine naked for a while, but whenever I do I invariably break one or more.

I actually like the way mine look - I usually post a pic without polish about once a month. They are a little yellow right now because I strayed from my normal basecoat, but still not too bad. I am actually due for a "naked nails" post, I took pics yesterday but didn't get around to posting them =)

Lau said...

Gotta agree with the other girls, whenever my nails are naked they break and split and ok I admit sometimes I attack them. Yours are looking really good though!

Anna said...

Agreeing with the previous comments and adding a little facts to bust what probably is the most common nail polish myth; that it's good to let your nails breathe from polish. Nail polish is good for your nails, as it protects them from water, cleaning detergents and other household solvents that will dehydrate your nails. Polish also helps to keep the natural moisture in the nail plate, which give the nails flexibility. Strong nails without flexibility will break as easy as weak and brittle nails. I'm sure not polishing your nails will help the staining but unfortunately not the quality of the nails. Wow, long comment :P My point being just keep polishing it up, maybe try another base coat for the staining and your nails will be happy!

contests and such said...

I haven't let mine breathe for more than an hour or 2 for 2 years! I just can't do it.
One of my other np friends left hers bare for a day and she said that they were hurting her, like little needles piercing them. Weird. I have never heard of that before.

Jamie D. said...

Well ladies, I'm not going to make it a full 7 days without polish. Jammed one of my nails into the door yesterday (my perception of how long they are is "off" without polish - the weight difference, I think), cracked it lower than my finger tip and will have to put polish over it to keep it from ripping off too low on my finger.

They do look better...but they are much harder to live with at this length than when I have them polished. Hard and fragile!

Kike K said...

It is a good idea to allow your nails to breathe for a while. But if you are not comfortable seeing them bare this way, you can apply base coat under a clear nail polish, just to leave the coloured polish alone for a while and get rid of the discolourations on your nails.
In my opinion nothing can beat healthy natural nails with or without nail polish!!!