Well, hello there! Did your nail break? Crack? Is your top coat scuffed after just a couple of weeks of wear? is your shape wearing down? These are all problems that come from mostly the same source!
For context, I am specifically talking about structured gel manicures, which is a service I provide. I cannot speak on any other product or service. So.. let's get into it, shall we?
Not a real crack, I know. I am sorry
First of all... let's get some basics out of the way.
If your nail tech, or maybe you're the nail tech, is providing proper prep, has consistently used high quality products that yield high quality results, we have to take a look at the other culprit: the user. Because, the reality, is that your nail tech sees you once over the span of 3-4 weeks on average, and there are MANY hours between then. Why, then, are your nails breaking or cracking, or scuffing up, or lifting at the tip, or losing their shape??????
Wear and tear, baby. Wear and tear. That's the simple answer.
"I woke up and it was broken." "I didn't feel it break." "I don't remember hitting it." I get it. Who is constantly paying attention to activities of daily living to see when and where this all happened? Ain't nobody got time for that! The mystery cannot be solved! Ok now I'm just being dramatic, but who are we kidding, you're here for the drama ;).
Remember when you used your nail to peel that orange? Oh, hey... let me just open this box real quick by ripping into this tape with my nail. Why, yes, my nails click and clack a little while I'm typing.. all day, every day at work. Laundry? Didn't know that could be a culprit. The reality is every time we grab things and use our nails, we are creating pressure, and wearing away a little at a time. Over time, as our nails grow out and the apex moves forward... wait a second. Have I even explained the apex? Um, yea, let's get into that a little bit.
Oh the apex. The beautiful apex. It is what dreams are made of. It is the beauty of a structured nail. A trained technician will ensure the apex is done properly, of the right size, at the right placement of the nail to provide balance and strength. This plays an important role in the "why" structured gel manis are so strong and last so long.
As the apex grows out of place, the nail enhancement is weakened, therefore, the risk of cracks and breaks increases. I know my clients have heard me say this many-a-times: natural nails are high maintenance, and the longer the nails, the higher the maintenance. This is mostly why. When that apex is no longer balanced, nails become "heavy", which may lead to breaks and cracks at the stress point. If this is happening to you more than occasionally, we gotta look at the maintenance of it. To correct that, either that length is just not quite for you, or you need to come in sooner for a rebalance. BUT ALSO, what you do daily matters.
Back to our original point... Are you protecting your nails? Are you moisturizing? Lotion isn't gonna cut it, you know. Nails are porous, but not to a point where lotion can really penetrate the layers and crevices. You need cuticle oil to keep everything moisturized. Are you wearing gloves when possible? Not just to protect the top coat, but to keep your nails from being in water too much. Why does that matter? Let us now take a moment to talk about that.
Dry, cold weather can have a great effect on the dryness of nails, but so can water and chemical exposure. Again, nails are porous. They can absorb, and just like a sponge, they expand and contract as they absorb and dry out. This constant movement can also weaken the nail plate underneath your gel, and cause separation, which then causes issues with cracking and breaking. Also, some cleaning chemicals can cause gel to soften over time.
So I would say, if you're in the business of maintaining your nails as beautiful and intact for as long as possible, protection and moisturization play important roles. Wear the gloves, avoid the pressures, use the cuticle oil (at least twice a day). Also, staying hydrated is super important. Just like when you are hydrated enough to have glowing skin, you can have healthier nails/cuticles.
Otherwise, it's the small things you are doing, and the big things you're not doing, that are causing that crack you "don't know how it happened". Or that break that happened as you slept. Or the... well, you know. All of the above.
So to sum it up: Protect and Hydrate. That's it!
Everything plays a part, and the amount of work you choose to put in plays a role on how healthy your nails are over time. But, maybe this can provide a helpful insight to the why of some of the problems you might be experiencing. Alright I think thats it, but let me know if you have any more questions!
Bye! <3 Mely