I'm Sick of My Nails Feeling Like Crap, So Here’s How I'm Fixing Them

I enlisted some of my favorite nail products to trick my nails into thinking they were getting the royal salon treatment.

I'm a short nail, at-home-manicure kind of girl. I've never been a fan of going to the nail salon every week and spending a bunch of money when I can do everything at home.

But lately, my nails have been feeling pretty sad, and I've been longing for the chemical-y scent of the nail salon.

I've been washing my hands like crazy because it seems like every person I know is getting sick, but all the soap and water is taking a toll on my hands. Unfortunately, I'm saving money for rent, so there will be no professional manicure for me any time soon. So instead, I decided I needed to enlist some of my favorite nail products to trick my nails into thinking they were getting the royal treatment.

My cuticles have been super-dry, and the skin around my nails is been snagging on my clothes and making everything generally more painful. So the first thing I needed to do before I could even consider painting my nails was to tackle my dry cuticles.

Hand cream has not been enough to moisturize my aching skin, and my cuticles have been cracking, making it hard to push them back. To soften them up a little, I slathered my fingers with Londontown Kur Nourishing Cuticle Oil. I just painted it around my entire nail and let it sit while I work on my laptop, inevitably making an oily mess all over the keyboard. After the oil sat for a while, I applied extra coats until I felt like my nails were finally hydrated enough.

After letting the oil sit and heal my cuticles, I pushed them back. It's so much easier with the oil on them already. After I pushed them all back, I washed my hands to make sure all the oil was gone.

Because my nails have been so dry and unhappy, they've been prone to peeling and feeling generally brittle so I painted my nails with two coats of Treat Collection Miracle Elixir. It's formulated to actually improve my nails rather than just act as a base coat for my nail polish. It's supposed to make them shinier and smoother while strengthening them, so I wore a few coats of this to give my nails all the nutrients they could get.

When I use this base, I actually do see a difference not only in how long my polish stays on, but the finish of my polish is so much smoother.

After my base coats dried I didn't even think twice about which polish I wanted to paint my nails with; Smith & Cult Subnormal is my favorite at the moment.

Smith & Cult has blown me away with how long it lasts and how opaque the formula is. After one coat my nails are completely covered. I gave myself two coats just in case, but I know I don't really need more than one. I've tried a lot of nice nail polish brands, and I can honestly say I'm not usually impressed by expensive polishes. They tend to chip so quickly and the formulas are usually thin. Smith & Cult is one of the few brands that impresses me, so I have a ton of different colors from the brand.

To make sure my new and improved nails stay fresh, I applied a coat of my Essie Gel Setter Top Coat. This guy keeps my polish on for days, and I like to touch it up throughout the week just to make sure I don't get any chips. It's not super-thick, so I can apply multiple coats without my nails looking or feeling like I have too much product on them.

After weeks of neglecting my nails and letting them get dry and uncomfortable, taking care of them really feels amazing. It takes some time to get through my entire nail treatment routine — sometimes I even break it up into two days to give my nails some time to breathe in between painting them — but in the end, the time is worth it because my nails are back to normal, and I didn't have to go to the salon.

A few nice, professional-quality products will last me forever, so shelling the money out for a few things that I know will work for me makes it feel like I'm not blowing my bank account on my nails.

  • Which products bring your nails back from a bad place?
  • Are you as obsessed with Smith & Cult as I am?