I have a special post today. It's my 2nd Blogiversay. It's special to me because I haven't done one of these Breaking the Habit posts in a while and I figured it would be the perfect time to show you guys how far I've come in this journey to stop biting my nails. This post is long and wordy but I really hope you read all the way to the bottom, I promise it will be worth it!
The Story Behind This Blog
First off, I want to get some things off my chest. To be perfectly honest, this blog is nowhere close to where I wish it would be, especially after 2 years of blogging. I think I'm fairly active in the nail polish community but it often feels that outside the few close friends I've made, I'm fairly unknown. I founded and co-admin a nail blogging group, I'm always happy to offer advice to new bloggers, and I love seeing others succeed. But it does sting a little when I feel like I'm being left in the dust cause I can't devote as much time as I'd like to blogging. My stats are actually lower and more cringe-worthy than they were last year, yet I blog more frequently and I feel the state of my photos and skills have improved. Moments like these, I try to focus on and remember why I started blogging. So, if you are a relatively new reader and haven't seen my posts from previous years, let me show you.
1st row is my nails in June 2013, that was around the time that I started obsessing with nail polish. When I took that picture I had wanted to grow my nails out for my twin's wedding. I ended up getting really sick on that trip and bit them all back down. That year was also the beginning of one of the worst periods of my life. It was a dark period in my marriage which ended with my husband being so depressed, he stopped taking care of his diabetes and ended up with diabetic ketoacidosis in the ICU and under psychiatric treatment. When I felt I was going to break, I found the strength to carry on due to the help of friends and family members. It was during a conversation with friends that one of them told me that I had to make time for myself, that I needed to find something that I enjoyed doing. Even if it was just a little bit each day, I needed to have time to focus on myself. So I started to buy Essie nail polish every time I had to go to Walgreens, which ended up being at least once a week. It felt weird and strangely thrilling because it was the 1st time I ever spent that much on a bottle ($7.50 at the time). I loved the colors so much I learned how to put up with the formula and make it work for me. That's when I also started to read nail blogs.
2nd row is May 2014. Things were looking up, my nail polish collection had grown to about 50 bottles and I decided I wanted to start a blog. I figured it would help keep me accountable and maybe I would actually stop biting this time.
Jan 2015, 3rd row. I had been blogging for about a year and a half by then. That's the state my nails were in for most of 2015, so I stopped updating the Breaking the Habit posts. I was no longer biting my nails even though I was about to embark in the greatest change in my life up to that point. The economy and political situation in Puerto Rico was becoming worse by the moment and after some very stressful months my husband decided to take a job in Florida. In April he moved out and I stayed behind so my daughter could finish school. I slowed down on my blogging in order to focus on my family. In June I moved in with my parents while all our furniture was shipped off to FL and in July the kids and I joined my husband.
May 2016, last row. And now here we are. Back in January 2016 my nails where pretty much exactly as they were the previous year. And I was tired of it. I was no longer biting but my nails were still breaking off at the corners all the time whenever I got some length to them. A friend suggested I try coffins/ballerinas to see if it would help. A first it was awkward, but then, they grew. And kept on growing. I will say that while the nails on my right hand are finally longer, they are still beaten up. It's the hand that took the brunt of my biting and I feel like I might have damaged the nail bed. The nails grow weird and funky, like I'm missing sections near my sidewall. Looking at the 2015 picture they actually look healthier than they do now, except for the length. And that basically reveals that I've been picking at the skin on that hand, and I find myself nibbling on the sides when I'm anxious. Which is unfortunately happening a lot again.
Notice I didn't show you my thumbs. On one hand, it's because I still bite the sides of my thumbs when I'm anxious and the other because I freaked out one night when I couldn't take off my contact lenses due to the length. I filed them both down and have kept them short. So my hands look a little odd, with longer nails on the left, and really short thumb nails. Oh well.
My goal for this year is to stop picking at my skin on my right hand and to finally let my thumb nails grow out a bit, at the very least the left one so it matches the rest of that hand.
What I'm Doing Now To Take Care Of My Nails
Here's the current state of my nails, same pics as the collage above just easier to see.
Yes, I have paint on my palm, I'm not really sure why. Anyway, the main thing to note is that ever since I filed them into coffin/ballerinas, I've been wearing a clear gel overlay on my natural nails to give them some strength and protect them. I use a peel off base coat from Nail Hoot when swatching and in combination with the gel, it really helps protect from the otherwise constant abuse with acetone.
These are the products I use mainly for nail care. Once a week I use the Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover and the metal cuticle pusher. Then I use the nail pumice stone thingy I got from Sally's to gently scrub away rough spots and any stubborn bits of cuticle that stay stuck on my sidewalls. Every 3 days or so I file my nails with a Mont Bleu crystal file from Whats Up Nails and I buff the edges if needed with the yellow block also from Sally's. I find it easier for me to file my nails every few days, doing little adjustments, than to have to do a lot of filing and reshaping once a week. Lastly, I use a combo of a custom blend cuticle oil from Bohemian Polish (it doesn't have grapeseed oil since I'm allergic to it) and my favorite cuticle balm for swatching from Indigo Bananas. I also have oils from Renaissance Cosmetics (not in business anymore, sad face), and Northern Star Polish (who is on a break) that I keep in my bedroom and apply whenever I wash my hands and before bed. I apply oil religiously, during a non-swatching day I'll apply it at least every couple of hours. On swatching days I apply before I swatch, then apply peel off base coat, swatch, apply the balm, take photos. Remove polish, apply oil again, repeat. When I'm done swatching I'll use a sugar or salt scrub or soak my fingers with a mani bomb and apply a generous amount of lotion. I like the body lotions from Bath and Body Works, they actually have jojoba seed oil in them as well as other super moisturizing butters. And that's basically it!
Surprise! It's A Small Giveaway!
Ok guys, if you stuck with me to the end here's your reward...lol. I wasn't planing on doing a giveaway. But Chelsea from Pretty and Polished reached out to me and has generously offered to send the entire new Icons Collection Part 1 to one lucky winner! It's pretty simple, just head on over to my Instagram and follow the rules!