I AM A FAILURE! I am not a glamazon, a well coiffured and manicured babe, as I briefly thought I was! Alas and alack, my beautiful, pointy nails, perfectly crafted from the finest gel and shaped by hand by the scary lady in the nail shop down the road, are no more. Picked off, one by one, the satisfying crack as they lifted off my natural nails filling a hole for a second.
Yes, I am a massive idiot and I picked off all my false nails, like I would tell you to NEVER DO. I am a hypocrite, dear readers! I may tell you to look after yourselves, to primp and preen and spend money on these magical lotions and potions, but I am a SLATTERN!
It started with a slightly stressful day at work. Not hugely stressful, as I am lucky to work somewhere where stress isn't usually an issue. I probably ran out of almond milk or something, or someone pinched some of my peanut butter. THE STRESS WAS JUST TOO MUCH!
I sat at my desk and noticed that one of my nails was slightly lifting at the corner -- I needed to get them re-done after spending time in swimming pools and on the beach, but hadn't found the time on my return from holiday. So I did what any slightly stressed person would do AND PICKED THE FUCKERS OFF.
Obviously picking them off was completely, amazingly satisfying and probably the most fun thing I've done since I went to Disneyworld when I was 19 with my friend Alice and we drank vodka we'd smuggled into water bottles and I tried to steal a cookie from the gift shop. Ah, sweet memories.
FYI -- don't ever try and shoplift a cookie from a Disneyworld gift shop, they will come down on your big fat arse like a ton of bricks. And all the alarms will go off simultaneously, and you'll have to sheepishly pull the cookie from your bag while muttering in your most Queen's English accent "Oh! Don't know how THAT got in there!"
I digress. So yeah, picking my falsies off was utterly stupid and the 100% wrong thing to do, because underneath the plastic, my natural nails were completely, for want of a better word, FUCKED.
After I did a small cry and immediately regretted my actions, kind of like after a particularly unfullfilling sexual experience, I obviously Instagrammed a photo of them. They looked utterly rank.
Luckily, I've got loads of nail stuff at home, so I went home and dedicated time and effort to getting them back into shape. I was surprised at just how good some of the products I'd not used before were, so here for your education is a run down on how to get your nails back looking tip-top after you cause them extreme distress.
OIL OIL OIL!
My nails were obviously dry as a bone and flaking everywhere, so the most important thing to do was get some oil on them and massage them like I wanted to make sweet love to them. Here's where the magic came in -- the OPI Avoplex Cuticle Oil To Go. It's so good. It's a little handbag/pocket/bra friendly tube of oil that comes with a little brush applicator, so you just swipe it on your cuticles (or entire nails, in my case) on the go without having to faff around with those little poncy droppers.
I swiped a fair amount over all of my nails and massaged in. When it had all soaked in, I repeated the process, because two is the magic number! Well, it's not, but I wanted to do it twice. It felt so good! so restorative! It's got tons of vitamin E, plus avocado, sunflower, sesame, and kukui nut oils, so it must be good.
SHAPE THOSE MOTHERS
After I'd let the second round of oil soak in to my poor, defeated nail beds, I got to work shaping them. Ripping the gel nails off left the ends of my nails ragged and misshapen, with annoying sharp bits and peeling edges. I used the Best Nail File In Existence, otherwise known as the Leighton Denny Crystal Nail File. You guys, seriously, go and buy this.
It's made from lead crystal that's really smooth and soft, but DON'T BE FOOLED! It completely smooths away any rough edges and seals them perfectly, meaning no snags or tears.
It comes in a fancy-pants aluminium case too, so the surface of the file stays perfect even when you throw it in your bag along with your keys, phone and leftover tortilla chips from lunch. I can't really enthuse about this enough -- it's brilliant.
They were starting to look a little better now. I filed them into a softly squared off shape -- a million miles from my lovely, pointy falsies, but definitely better than they'd looked 15 minutes previous. I wanted to give them a treat and make them grow big and strong, so I rubbed loads of my Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream in, an emollient-rich treatment with Sesame Oil and Japanese Mulberry. I find it really helps strengthen nails and condition cuticles and I keep it on my desk at all times to keep my hands soft and supple.
After this little pampering session for my nails, I went to bed, hoping to wake up with them in a magically restored state. They pretty much were, when I awoke, which is a Christmas miracle if ever I heard of one.
Now, I will never condone picking off your false nails. It really does wreck them. Yes, it feels amazing when you do it, but IT'S NOT WORTH IT. But if you do, then treat them like little tiny princesses on the end of your fingers. They deserve it! It's not their fault that you're an impatient idiot.
Natalie's chastising herself on Twitter: @Natalie_KateM