Transition to Natural Nails
It was Saturday morning and my excitement level had reach 100.
This was it!! The BIG weekend ... my first “Full Set” of Acrylic Nails
I was 18yrs old and up until then, I had only been able to admire the beautiful and flamboyant nail designs displayed on fashionable women ..... but this was my time, the only thing on my mind that entire week.
I dashed out of my house and consciously stopped myself from running to what was soon to be my new home (the Nail Bar).
Flicking through a thick photo album of various hand and airbrushed designs I was completely overwhelmed but I do remember my first design like it was yesterday.
'White airbrushed tips' I know right, you’d have thought after all this excitement and buildup I’d go crazy with the design and colours although I did eventually get a bit adventurous.
I visited my nail tech for infills every 2 weeks like clockwork. Over time, this was starting to become an expensive addiction and I had to find a way to maintain it as I learned that ‘3 weeks new growth’ is not your friend ....
Little did I know that this addiction would be the start of something so dangerous and damaging I’d lose the strong, long and sturdy natural nails I was well known for.
I would buff down the acrylic to match my new growth and repaint my nails until my next fix. By age 19, I had seen enough to know how to apply my own acrylics. I bought my own kit and for a short period, did my own ‘infills’ and practiced on my friends.
I eventually started going back to my nail tech as I was obsessed with that freshly done nail look and feel that I didn't achieve on my own even though I cringed at the thought of the drill slicing my cuticle and leaving that little cut that last for days.
By this stage I’d experience many painful and bloody cracks and chips from either banging my nail or bending it. My natural nail bed had become so thin I could literally flick the nail edge like a paper. It was red and extremely tender to touch. This meant what started as an addiction had now become a necessity to combat the sensitivity my nails were experiencing.
Fast forward to 2008, My husband and I were expecting our first child. My nails and hair was flourishing, I didn’t want anything unnatural on my body, so the transition began.
My transition from Acrylics was very painful and frustrating. I hated touching things and any bit of new growth would chip and break off. My nails were brittle, weak and thin.
Here are my Transitioning Steps
* Keep the nails short. This makes it easier to manage
* Only buff lightly once per month
* Two coats of strengtheners changed weekly.
* Only alcohol free polish remover
* Gentle weekly hand and nail scrubs to help the exfoliation process
* Nail and cuticle conditioning with natural home made oils and creams
* Moisturise and massage hands and nails while wet to hydrate and retain moisture.
Today my nails are back to being strong and healthy. I now only wear HAY LONDON polishes not only because they're vegan and healthy but also because I personally handcraft them and therefore am confident that they include zero nasties that would compromise my natural nail journey.
When I’m not rocking my classic almond shape my nails are short and neat. I have zero sensitivity and zero nail issues. I’m back to admiring the beautiful acrylic nails on other fashionistas and occasionally play in UV Gels but that’s as far as it goes. Here are a few photos of my natural nails.