I started getting acrylic nails back in November 2000 and continued for 13 years. Acrylic nails are so easy to maintain and I never had to paint my nails as the color would stay for 2 weeks until I got the nails filled again.
For those who have never had this process done, a nail tip is applied to your nail and then a gel like substance is placed over the tip to “fill it in.” Then every two weeks as your nail grows out, you have to get the nail filled as the bottom of the acrylic nail has moved up because your natural nail has grown.
In order to get the acrylic tips and gel to adhere to the natural nail, the manicurist has to “sand down” the top of your nail. The natural nail becomes thin. I tried gel nails once and the process still involved sanding down the top of my nails.
When I decided that I couldn’t afford to have acrylic nails anymore, I knew that it would take a good 6 months or more to get my natural nails to return to their normal, healthy state. It’s kind of like growing your hair out, at some point you want to give in and get your hair cut, but you get through the worse part of the growth process and then you are happy that you were patient.
The first month was brutal. My nails broke off to the nubs and they flaked as they grew out. My skin near the tip of the nail became very, very sore. I applied a nail strengthener for the first month to help them along, however I stopped after a month because the strengthener was drying out the nail and causing more breakage. So I have simply let my nails go totally natural – no strengthener and no polish. I am trimming them very, very short as one of my nails continues to split and all of them are just becoming normal in thickness and health. By the time December rolls around I am hoping that I can then allow the nails to grow out to the tips of my fingers. They will be shorter than I ever had with acrylic nails, but they will be the perfect length for a grandma changing a lot of diapers. Also I will then start to apply polish.
In order to protect my nails I wear gloves while cleaning or doing dishes and I also apply lotion to my hands frequently throughout the day to keep my hands and nails moisturized.
Vanity is what led to my decision to get acrylic nails. I liked the look of pretty polished nails that I didn’t have to do myself. When I worked in an office I was accustomed to handling a lot of papers and meeting with clients. My hands and nails needed to look professional.
I hung on to this luxury after I stayed home full time as I enjoyed this treat. My nails are getting healthy and when the time comes to polish them I can do it myself and change colors often. Before when an acrylic nail broke off, it was quite noticeable even if I polished the natural nail with the same color of polish. Lastly I am saving $22.00 every two weeks by not having acrylic nails which brings it to a whopping savings of $572 a year. YIKES!!!
I fell in love with pretty polished long nails, but I am finding out that I am going to love shorter nails that I take care of myself. Everything I need to give myself a pretty home manicure can be found at the dollar stores.
I am also giving myself pedicures. I have only had a professional pedicure about 3 times in my life and professional pedicures are wonderful. I am learning to give myself a home pedicure and it doesn’t involve a lot of products. I bought a plastic dish pan to soak my feet, a pumice stone, a nail file, nail clipper and foot lotion. All of these products can be purchased for a dollar or less at the Dollar Tree.
Saturday nights are my nights for manicures and pedicures. It just makes sense after a long week that I should treat myself to pretty nails and feet. Yes I walk around the house holding my hands up waiting for my finger nails to dry and then I walk around with those separators between my toes waiting for my toe nails to dry. The only thing missing is a terry cloth bathrobe and curlers in my hair to complete the look.