As a person who is genetically cursed with the softest, weakest, stupidly chip- and snag-prone nails (along with fine, straight hair and pale, short-ish eyelashes—I'm sure they all must be somehow related), I've always been jealous of people whose nails are hard as rocks. It's an economics thing, really. Because their nails never chip, that means manicures last and last... whereas I rarely get them because I just can't justify paying $30+ for something that chips in a day. It's annoying.
Oh, I know all about Shellac. As I mentioned in my review, NOT having chips for two weeks was a dream, but you know what? It left my nails in an even sorrier state afterward. (More on that later—I'm going to be testing out rival long-lasting polish treatment OPI Axxium very soon... which is apparently supposed to be WAY better for wimpy nails.)
But sometimes out of adversity comes greatness—ha!—and that's exactly what happened when I was nursing my poor nails back to life and discovered this product.
Nailtiques Nail Protein Formula 2 Plus
For as long as I can remember, I've been an OPI Nail Envy user. I thought it was the best of the best, but no offense, OPI—Nailtiques has you beat.
Because I fall into the category of "Excessive, Problem Nails" (their description, not mine), I'm a candidate for Nailtiques' most hard-core protein formula, which is Formula 2 Plus. Apparently you are supposed to use the slightly less-intensive Formula 2 for six weeks, sans any other polish, and if you don't get results THEN move up to 2 Plus. But my nails must be REALLY bad, because one of the lovely women who do my monthly pedis at Concepts in Toronto (where you can buy this) recommended I just go immediately into the 2 Plus.
You may notice a theme here because I also didn't follow the instructions that you are supposed to apply it daily. I've only used it maybe two or three times a week for about a month now, but I am still thrilled—thrilled!—with the results.
I have no idea what makes Nailtiques different from Nail Envy in terms of the formula. It's basically a mix of keratin, protein, calcium and gelatin that bonds the nail layers together to give you strong but flexible nails that resist peeling, chipping and splitting.
All I know is that it seems to stay on my nails for MUCH longer than Nail Envy does, and it has changed them from something resembling this (okay, maybe not QUITE this bad)...
to something more like this...
NOT bendy, NOT soft, NOT flaking and snagging, etc. And they are growing! You are supposed to use it less and less as nails respond to the treatment and then go down to Formula 2 for maintenance.
A few other things that help weak nails:
- File your nails in one direction only.
- Invest in a porcelain nail file like this one from Tweezerman. I've had it for a couple of years now and it actually seals your nails when you file them. I will never go back to regular emory boards!
- A slightly rounded square is the best shape to prevent breakage. (Round nails are the worst... although you know I love that shape right now.)
- Don't file up and down the sides of your nails as it will weaken them.
- When you DO get manicures, do not—I repeat DO NOT—let them soak your nails. Dry manicures are where it's at. Beautygeeks has the deets on why, here.
- Try not to use nail polish remover too often as it's very drying.
- Don't apply the Nailtiques (or any other nail hardener) to your cuticles as it will make THEM stronger and tougher too...which you do not want.
- Make sure you're applying some sort of cuticle oil/balm or hand & nail cream to keep those nails and cuticles nourished!