Are Fake Nails Safe?
Many people are attracted to fake nails for various reasons. In this article you’ll learn which fake nails (or artificial enhancements) are best.
Hi, I was wondering if you could help me. I am fairly new to nail art nail care and maintenance.
My nails are growing but not as fast as I’d like.
If I were to use fake nails is there one kind better over another or should I muster up all the patience I have as I would be doing more damage than anything? Any advice would help!! Thanks for your time. xo” ~Stefani
Stefani, this is a great question. It’s understandable to want your nails to grow faster, especially if they keep chipping or breaking.
Since I am not a licensed nail professional, my knowledge comes from reading Doug Schoon’s book, Nail Structure and Product Chemistry. I also have 20 years of past experience applying hard gel to my own nails, since they are very thin. (I no longer use gel.)
According to Mr. Schoon, all products (acrylic, gels, and lacquers) are completely safe. The biggest problem occurs when they are improperly applied and improperly removed by poorly trained nail technicians.
In the world of fake nails (nail enhancements), the motto, “What you pay is what you get,” is completely true. The well trained and passionate nail professional does not come cheap.
Today’s new soak-off-gels strengthen natural nails really well, but can be damaging if not removed properly. Gels can be an also be expensive, either at the salon or getting your self set up to do at home.
If I were to pick one that is the least damaging and cheap, it would be the glue on nails—with a huge warning!
If you just pry or pop them off, you will take layers of nail with the glue!
You would need to completely submerse your fingertips up to the cuticle line in pure acetone until the acetone worked it’s way under the plastic nail and dissolved the glue.
This is extremely cold (evaporation) and drying to your skin, so you will want to coat your skin in olive oil before doing the 5-10 minute acetone dip.
A Better Solution?
The first thing is to understand why your nails break and peel … and how to prevent it.
I can tell you that anyone who is unhappy with their nails has dry, brittle nails from water absorption and polish removal.
The most damaging elements to our skin and nails are water and soap. I wrote an in-depth article to help you understand how to strengthen brittle nails.
Embrace Your Ridges
For some strange reason, our world has decided that smooth nails are fashionable, myself included until I saw Doug Schoon’s electron microscope photos.
If you think about the ridges in your nails like mountains and valleys, which has more dirt?
It’s the same with our nails. The ridges are filled with more layers of keratin. The ridges are the healthy part of the nail.
It’s the valleys that are weaker. So filing your nails smooth takes away healthy keratin layers to match the weakest portion of your nails.
Simply use two coats of your favorite ridge filling base coat to even out the look of ridges.
Oh, and throw out all those buffers!
Protect Your Natural Nails with Polish
Many people think that polish is a bad thing for nails, but it can actually help protect your nails from absorbing water.
Too much water absorption can lead to peeling and splitting. I wrote this article explaining how our nails absorb water and how to use polish to prevent it.
Polish layers also provide temporary strength while you’re wearing it.
It is true that acetone is drying to your skin and nails, but it’s a necessity to dissolve the protective polish.
Rather than fearing acetone, it’s very easy to simply work with it. Before you remove your polish, apply any cheap oil to your skin. Let the acetone dissolve the cheap oil instead of your body oil.
Then apply a penetrating, jojoba based nail and cuticle oil every hour for 2 to 8 hours. Your nails will have absorbed enough oil to “glue” your 100 layers of keratin back together. Then cleanse your nails with rubbing alcohol and apply your base coat.
My recommendation is to be patient with yourself and your nails. Learn how to care for them properly while they’re short. Two bloggers with gorgeous short nails are Sammy from The Nailasaurus and Katy from Nailed It.
Proper care and protection of your short nails will reward you in the long run. They’ll just stop breaking.