Randomly, I remembered that I started a blog about my journey from acrylic & gel nails back to natural, way back in 2015. It was originally on Google Blogger but as I now have my own website, I thought that I would copy & paste all the entries over to here (providing I can find the right photos), so that I have everything personal care related in one place.
Please don't think I'm hating on acrylic & gel nails, I had them for years and utterly loved them, to the point that when I could no longer afford to go to the salon and have them done, I did my best at home, and I did pretty well, especially with gel. However, it all went wrong, as you can see in my original blog posts here.
So here we are in December 2019, and I've now had natural nails for about 4 years, with the odd stick-on/acrylic/gel fiasco! But my nails are strong, beautiful and healthy, so I wanted to put a little page on my website to show you the products that I use and how I take care of them.
There is no easy way to get from acrylics or gels, back to natural nails
The journey to get away from acrylic and gel nails is LONG and HARD, and in my experience, bloody painful!
All too often, it's easier to go back to the salon and have acrylics put back on. There's something wonderful about sitting in a salon and being pampered for an hour, and not needing to think about anything other than your nails being made awesome, raise your hands if you're with me on that one! At-home-manicures just don't give you the same spiritual or emotional satisfaction, sometimes a girl just wants to be pampered! But, there are lots of reasons that a manicure at home can be better, and I've detailed some of my reasons below.
When you first have the acrylics or gels taken off, your nails could well be paper thin and actually painful to touch. They can break all the time and chip, and even if they're the same length as your acrylics when you have the acrylics off, you have to cut them back to shorter than you would like in order to keep them safe and stop them from being tender or snagging on things. This means that you can look at them, remembering how gorgeous they looked with acrylics on them, and feel quite disheartened at the state of your natural nails underneath.
The important thing is to stick with it. Don't go back to the salon and have acrylics or gels done again, you can get your natural nails to be long, healthy and strong, I believe in you, you've got this!
Why I prefer a home manicure to a salon manicure
Doing a home manicure means you get exactly what you want, you don't need to worry in case the salon doesn't have the colour that you want (been there), or have to come home and spend an hour sorting out the shape because the technician didn't get it quite right (and there), or where the technician uses clear top coat rather than buffing to a mirror-like shine and having to come home and get the acetone free nail varnish remover out and buffing like crazy (been there too).
When I do my nails at home, I know exactly the shape that I want, I know that the files I'm using have only been used on me (although good salon's will use new files on each client), I know that the products I'm using are my favourites and I know that if I hurt myself I need to stop doing what I'm doing
So how do you get nice natural nails after enhancements?
I will tell you straight away, there is no wonder cream or drug or application that you can use to get your nails back to where you're happy with them - honestly there isn't - if there was I would have found it by now!
There isn't one thing that will get your nails back but there is a combination of things that might help, they helped me, so I'm going to discuss them below.
Step 1: Make sure that ALL the acrylic is off
For a bit of a horror story on my 20+ year experience with acrylic nails, this can be found here. However, while some of the pictures of my previous acrylics at the top of the page are beautiful, the pictures of what happened to my nails and hands at the bottom of the page are horrible - you have been warned!
Little rant about the difference between clear nail varnish on top of acrylics, and the traditional buffing
Don't get me wrong, I understand why the new tendency is to use clear nail varnish, it's quicker and cheaper and it lasts longer in most cases, not to mention it's better for the technician's wrists, but if I'm paying for a full set of acrylics one month with the same technician, and I get the full buff-action, then I go back the next month, I expect the same service, after all, the price is the same, my appointment is the same, I want the same as I had last time. Now, I know that technology moves on and things like that, but it's just clear nail varnish, I could do that at home, that's not what I pay for, I pay for a full mirror shine through various grades of buffers.