The Nail Care Makeover Project

Turning Over a New Leaf in My Nail Care!

I have a confession to make.  My nail care leaves very little to be desired. My nails are horrible! Manis and pedis are at the bottom of my list…nail care, altogether, is usually a complete afterthought for me!

Back in the day, biweekly nail appointments were a regular part of my routine.  To prevent nail breakage and polish chipping, I had nail wraps (linen, I think) applied to my nails. I never missed my fill-ins appointments!  My nails and toes stayed groomed and on point.  At first, I loved going to the nail salon and getting my hands and feet pampered. The nail technicians always complimented me on how pretty my hands were (they probably tell everyone that!).

That all ended for a couple of reasons:

  1. Having three school-aged kids at the time plus a whole house to clean, my hands were always getting wet from parenting and household chores.  For years, I didn’t think much of it. Then little things started happening. I would be doing something and casually hit my nails on a surface causing them to break. Sometime the bottom part of the nail wrap would start to lift and come off. More and more my well-manicured nails started getting in the way.
  2. I developed an infection on one of my nails that caused me excruciating pain.  That pretty much helped to seal the deal on my decision to at least stop with the nail wraps.

For awhile, I continued going to the salon for regular mani/pedis.  Finally, I stopped going because I felt that I could do just as good a job as the salon and save money to boot.  But over time, I didn’t bother with my nails altogether because, well honestly, I started not to care. I felt that as long as I kept my nails clean, that was enough.

Now, that I’m in the throes of menopause, my nails have become especially weak and brittle in the last few years.  Brittle nails are a natural menopausal symptom caused by hormonal fluctuations, specifically in estrogen. Estrogen plays a key role in regulating body water and when menopause hits, estrogen levels decrease causing our bodies to become dehydrated.  This, in turn, results in dry, brittle nails among other things.

Daily vitamins (multivitamin, hair/skin/nails and vitamin C) and drinking water have helped somewhat to fight the dryness caused by my lower estrogen level, but I need to do more. I put together a nice little weekly TLC plan to help my nails get stronger and stay neat and pretty!

My Nail Care Arsenal!

For the next 30 days, I am following this nail care routine which focuses on basic care that helps to strengthen my nails:

(NOTE – This is not a sponsored post.  I use all of the following products and they have been purchased with my own money.)

  • Trim, file and buff – With a crystal filing board from Julep, I make sure to file in one direction to prevent breakage and tearing. I also use a buffer block (also by Julep) to gently smooth down my nail ridges.
  • Soak – I dip my nails into a warm, sudsy bowl of water for five minutes to soften my cuticles in preparation for removal. I apply a drop of hand soap in my water for the sudsiness.
  • Apply cuticle remover –  I’m using Sally Hanson’s Instant Cuticle Remover which helps to break down excess cuticles within 15 seconds.  This formula contains aloe and chamomile to help moisturize, condition and soothe.  It’s also good for removing calluses.I’m not a big fan of cutting my cuticles, so I use an orange stick to help push them back instead. Afterwards, I will rinse the remover and excess cuticles off with warm water. I also like to use my Shea Moisture Hand and Body Scrub at this point for extra skin exfoliation.  Make sure to rinse your hand thoroughly after using!
  • Moisturizing oil soak – I LOVE coconut oil! We keep a big container of extra virgin organic coconut oil in our kitchen and bathroom because of its multitude of uses.  I use it daily as a body moisturizer (more on that in a future blog post!), so my nails are exposed to it daily. This has helped with  strengthening them so it makes sense to include it in my weekly nail routine, don’t you think?  In this case I soak my nails in warm coconut oil for about 10 minutes. Afterwards, I rub the excess oil all over my hands then pat them dry with a paper towel.
  • Prep for strengthening & protection – To help the strengthening treatment to adhere to my nails properly, I dip a cotton swab in nail polish remover and use it to gently remove the excess oil from my nails.
  • Apply a nail strengthening treatment – For additional strength and protection I am using Julep’s Take a Breather Oxygen Nail Treatment.  This nail-conditioning strengthener is formulated with an advanced oxygen technology that allows the nails to breath. Other users have complained that it doesn’t stay on the nail, which is true.  I think this is because of the oxygen technology which makes sense and is okay with me.  The directions suggest that this should be applied to nails once or twice a week. I plan on applying this to my nails every two days to see how that works.
  • Moisturize…again – Once the nail strengthener is dry, I rub a generous amount of my favorite hand lotion, Vaseline Intensive Care Healthy Hands, Stronger Nails all over my hands and I’m done!  I’ve been using this stuff for years and it has never failed me. I use it many times during the day, especially after washing my hands.

I’m very curious and optimistic to see the end result of this routine after 30 days.  I will make sure to write an update on what works and what doesn’t. Also, I will tweak things as needed.

Thank you again for joining me, and enjoy the rest of your Memorial Day weekend!

Warm regards,


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  1. you sound just like me. I use to adore going, but now, my husband have to make me do it. It’s more of a chore for me. I just don’t feel like. I keep them cut short and clean like yourself, but the bi-weekly routine of going cringes me – especially when i have wait. I do find my cuticles drying and i use shea butter on them which seems to help with the dryness. Thanks for sharing your routine – i’ll be happy to hear the outcome

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