The Journey Back To Natural Nails

(5 months without acrylic with shellac polish)
My journey back to wearing my own natural nails has been a struggle. Acrylic has always been beautiful and convenient. I don't like to fuss with my nails much but after going through a major health scare, I decided to give it a try again. Since September, I have been acrylic-free. If you're struggling in some way with the decision to go natural again, I hope you find this post helpful.

First, start with a good manicure at a nail salon. It's best to get off to a good start and if you have to soak off the acrylic, you may as well pay for the manicure. I recommend opting for just a clear polish because the polish job (no matter how professional) is not going to be look the best because your nails are not going to be in the top-notch shape yet. Also, the polish will just chip in mere days so keep it simple (unless you just find it too unbearable to be without a nail polish color). Be sure to cut them short too because the goal is to let the old, weak nails grow out. 

Secondly, invest in nail care supplies. The most important thing you should have is a quality nail – strengthener polisher that will nourish your nails to allow them to rebuild and grow. Sally Hansen has several nail kits like this. But I chose a polish by Nail Aid with Biotin in it that promotes nail growth. I love it; I got it for about $4 at Walmart and I loved that it had Biotin in it. I also like to have a good top coat that hardens the nails.  I go with Sally Hansen’s “Hard as  Nails”. (I like a top coat for when I polish my nails to prevent easy chipping and snags, even if I am just wearing the nail – strengthener.)

Next, make sure you pick up a good cuticle pusher, remover, nail file and buffer. A glass nail file is a good choice for weak nails when transitioning from acrylic to natural. (I use a regular nail file now made of sand paper because I find the glass file not as helpful at this point but they are gently-effective for weak nails in the beginning.) Each of these items may be pricey depending on where you go. Therefore, I prefer going to a beauty supply store because it usually cost around a dollar and some change  to purchase. My last go-to nail care item is white vinegar. It’s old school but soaking your nails in vinegar really does help strengthen them. It’s a must-have!
Third, after having your manicure for a week, remove any old polish from your nails. Then soak your nails in a small bowl of vinegar for about 10 minutes. After that, rinse them well with a soap, preferably one with moisturizer in it. Lastly, paint on two coats of your nail – strengthener polish and a coat of “Hard as Nails” or another clear polish for the top coat. Once another week has gone by (or maybe a few days), I recommend completing a new manicure for yourself at home. Again, soak your nails in vinegar and then reapply the nail – strengthener polish.
A manicure should take place about every two weeks but you can remove and reapply the nail – strengthener polisher every 2 or 3 days. Trim and file nails weekly to allow for healthy nail growth and prevent excessive nail-breakage. It may sound tedious but it will build the nail bed back very quickly if you are consistent. For the vinegar, I soaked about 1 to 2 times a week.
Again, you can implement a colored polish but for the first month and a half, I think I went without because it made it easier to upkeep. As I saw more progress, I began to wear colored-nail polish and enjoyed length on my nails that I did not expect.

In my fifth month now, I am enjoying healthy, long nails as if I have acrylic on. I love wearing shellac as an alternative because it gives me the durability and style I love in acrylic without the damage. With that being said, I do not get shellac all the time because you have to go under a UV light and scraping the polish can be a bit wearing to the nails but not super harmful or long-lasting. Moderation is the key. When I do remove shellac polish, I do a vinegar soak and add the nail-strengthener just to keep my nails strong and healthy. Overall, it can be a long process to go natural but it’s worth it. Stick to a healthy nail care regimen and you will enjoy long healthy nails in no time! (Corny but true.)

No comments

Feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at!