February 10, 2014

How To Repair a Damaged Nail

First of all, I want anyone reading this to know I'm not a doctor. I'm not even close to a doctor. I don't even play one on TV. I get all medical questions wrong on Jeopardy! and if my family wasn't made of medical health professionals I'd probably be dead. None of what is written in this post or on this blog is medical advice and if you follow it and grow three heads then that's your own fault.

I cracked my toenail on Sunday. I was cleaning my apartment, as I do in a frenzy on Sundays, and kicked my vacuum. I vacuumed about 80% of my apartment, sometimes on my hands and knees, and then put the vacuum away in the closet and that's when I kicked it. I can't stand myself. I knew as soon as I kicked it that I had cracked my toenail. It wasn't anything too dramatic. The crack only goes about a quarter of the way down the nail but it was enough that it hurts and it was enough that I'm worried it could snag and tear even further. Ideas of losing my toenail were flashing through my mind. Literally, in my head was Honey Boo Boo's Mama June and her mangled "forklift foot" which is so deformed that she can only bring herself to get her sock pedicured. That was going to be me with my missing toenail. I'm very vain.

I just need this nail to grow out a couple of millimeters so I can cut off the split areas and have this nightmare finally come to an end. What I don't want to happen is for the nail to weaken or tear while I'm in the middle of this waiting game.

 Hair Skin and Nails Biotin Vitamins How to Repair a Damaged Nail

The first way I'm combating this is with a vitamin cocktail of biotin and B-complex. Biotin is pretty much nail steroids. This is the vitamin you take if you want healthy, strong nails that grow almost too fast for your liking. It'll do wonders for your hair, too. It's good news for your head hair which will grow long, strong and shiny. Kind of bad news for the rest of the hair on your body. You're going to be shaving your legs every day and yelling, "AGAIN??" at errant brow hairs you seem to find every fucking time you're doing your makeup and running late. Biotin can also be bad news for you skin. I was blessed with incredible skin - I'm 23 and still covered in Proactiv "before" picture level acne. Biotin makes it even better. My face just erupts in cysts and I even get breakouts on my neck and scalp. On my SCALP, people. My nails and hair look great but at what cost? According to advice I've gotten from the internet, b-complex vitamins are the best way to combat this issue. Allegedly, b-complex supplements with help your body to absorb the biotin so it's all going to the places it's supposed to be going to and your body isn't trying to barf out all this excess biotin through your pores.

 Hair Skin and Nails Biotin Vitamins B Complex How to Repair a Damaged Nail

By the way, that label clearly says FOR ADULTS so you can't judge me for eating gummy vitamins. You can judge me for eating Hello Kitty fruit snacks from Safeway. And for telling a 4-year-old that I saw eating her own package that the blue flower shapes are really good.

Following all this internal stuff, the best thing you can do for a screwed up nail is slapping an acrylic on it. Acrylic nails get a bad rap for being a thing that will damage your nails. Not so. What damages your nails is the drills nail technicians often use when they apply acrylics in a salon. They literally file off layers of your nail with a power tool. No fucking kidding your nails get damaged from that. Your nails end up so soft and thin because they've been sanded down to that point. The gel and nail tips aren't the thing that's doing that. Even the at home version won't hurt your nails so long as you aren't hacking and pulling at your nails when it's time for removal. You can put a little nail glue and a fake nail over a real damaged nail and soak it all off with acetone polish remover when you're done and you'll be a-okay. In reality, this is how you're going to protect your real nail. The fake nail will prevent the real nail from being exposed to the elements or getting torn or snagged so it has a fighting chance of growing out. I would apply a fake nail to a damaged fingernail without a second thought.

I love all the fake things you can do to enhance your body. I've had three noses in five years. I'm from a school district in Jersey where your life was a damn mess if you weren't wearing a shiny, full set of acrylics to winter semi-formal. I watched and loved Bridalplasty. Breast implants, lipo, collagen injections, hair extensions, push up bras, facials, dyed eyelashes, Spanx, eyelid surgery to make you look like a cat, fake tanning, whatever - I approve of all of it. I think everyone should just do them with all that kind of stuff. Do whatever makes you feel like the best version of yourself. My looks are in no way authentic.

The only thing like that that has ever in my life given me pause is acrylic toenails. I don't know what it is. Just the phrase grosses me out. ACRYLIC TOENAILS. I've used the word toenail way too much in this post as is but just... acrylic toenails. Who is that vain? Who is vain enough to care that their toenails aren't good enough? It makes me a complete hypocrite. Like, your own toenails are good enough!! Your toenails are beautiful just the way they are!! You don't need fake toenails to impress me!! Sorry, if you need to wear fake toenails to impress someone then that person isn't really your friend. FAKE, COSMETICALLY ENHANCED TOENAILS. Who but Kim Kardashian? Who is purchasing and wearing acrylic toenails?

Now, that person is me. I mean, this is what I have to do. This is how I repair damaged nails. So, I bought a Kiss kit of fake toenails, all sizes.

Kiss Acrylic Nails Toenails Kit How to Repair a Damaged Nail

I bought these on drugstore.com because I'd rather buy a pregnancy test, Monistat and lice shampoo than buy fake toenails from a living, breathing cashier. I couldn't believe myself as I was checking out. "Really, Vanessa, are we doing this, are we buying fake toenails?" Yes. Here we are.

These turned out to be super easy to apply, no gel or powder required. The kit comes with lots of different nail sizes in a plastic case and a little tube of glue. I just selected the correct size for my cracked nail, put a drop of glue on the nail, a drop of glue on the fake nail and pressed it down on my real toenail for a few seconds. I painted it to match the rest of my pedicure and haven't thought about it much since. It's stayed firmly adhered to my toe even while sleeping and showering. I even ended up walking about 2 miles on Friday evening in impractical shoes (thanks WMATA 30 buses that NEVER ARRIVE EVER, YOU ARE THE BEST) and spent the whole morning running around doing errands. The fake toenail was a total bro about it.

Now I've been hypotized by the fake toenails. I added nail art and then admitted to myself I'm Snow White Evil Queen level vain and put on a whole foot's worth of fake toenails. I'm just testing it out, okay. I'm 23. I'm still at a time in my life where it's acceptable to experiment.

Honestly, fake toenails are going to be part of my life during the summertime. I have ugly Fred Flintstone feet so I hate sandals season. Having uniform, nicely shaped toenails make them look just slightly nicer. They're also bigger than my natural nails so it's more room for polish. I think they'll make using neon colors a bit easier for the summer too since these nails hold polish much better and are just easier in general to paint. I usually need about 3 coats of polish for pedicures but I only used one coat on these fake ones.

I'm kind of skeptical about posting pictures because this is the internet and there are foot weirdos out there and I don't want to end up on some kind of foot website. That's something that's a rational fear. So excuse how heavily zoomed in and cropped this is as well as my ratty cuticles because it's February. We all have three inch leg hair and bad pedicures right now.

Both the big toes have acrylics. On my second toes, the left is a natural nail and the right is an acrylic. You can see the right one is better shaped and glossier.

Keep this information in the back of your brain in case you ever mess up one of your nails. And I'm sure your toenails are fine, honestly. I'm not trying to make yourself feel insecure about your toenails. But, be open to what I'm now going to refer to as "pedicure enhancements" because I found them to be pretty nice just as long as I don't think about how weird they are.