The key to fixing problem nails is consistent care and maintenance

My Story: Fixing Problem Nails

contributed by Joyce H. Ackley

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Just when my short, fragile nails begin to grow out a little, one will peel, chip, or split. After having tried many highly touted products for my problem nails, I've found that despite the claims, there is no "miracle" fix within that little bottle in its fancy package. Some products may help, but expensive strengtheners are not necessary to achieve good results. The price point is irrelevant. The key to improving problem nails is consistent nail care and maintenance.

I recently began a new regimen of nail care, and within three weeks, I saw pleasing results. So can you! Here is my nail care plan to make problem nails pretty:

  • I do a weekly manicure. I use a store-brand non-acetone nail polish remover and cotton balls to remove old enamel.
  • On the initial manicure, I used a nail clipper to trim badly peeling or chipped nails. I started over with a short, neat nail.
  • I use an emery board for fragile nails. Filing in one direction, I gently smooth my nails into a slightly rounded shape. I apply cuticle remover, let it work for a few minutes, and then gently push the cuticles back with an orange stick.
  • I make my own luscious, exfoliating scrub for hands and cuticles. In my palm, I place a dab of hand cream, one or two drops of olive oil, and about a quarter teaspoon of sugar. I swirl the mixture with my fingertip, then massage it into my hands and cuticles. A mild liquid soap removes the scrub, and I dry with a soft towel.
  • From my stash of old nail strengtheners, I found one that was not dried up. I apply a coat to my nails and let them dry.
  • I put on two coats of nail enamel in a neutral, pale pearly color, allowing the polish to dry between applications.
  • A light coat of the clear nail product provides the finishing touch to my manicure.
  • Each day, I massage a tiny bit of olive oil into my cuticles.
  • My emery boards are within easy reach in several places like the end table drawer, the nightstand, a kitchen drawer, my purse, and the car. When I detect the slightest chip or rough edge, I grab an emery file and smooth it out.
  • I keep small bottles of hand lotion in my purse so I can keep my hands, nails, and cuticles moisturized. At bedtime, I slather on rich hand cream. Body butter is good, too, for hands.
  • Sometimes between manicures, when I'm watching television, I'll brush on a thin coat of the clear product.
  • I have added calcium supplements and multi-vitamins to my regimen.

That's it. Pretty simple. Don't you think? My nails are still short, but they've grown some and look healthier and nicer. They are not salon perfect, like acrylic nails, but I'm no longer ashamed of how they look. I enjoy wearing rings and bracelets again.

Don't give up! Patience, persistence and faithful upkeep will result in longer, prettier nails. That's the nail care plan!

Joyce H. Ackley is a retired teacher who lives in Florida. Her articles and stories have appeared here on The Dollar Stretcher, Thrifty Fun, and Long and Short Reviews. She has been published in the Lakeland Ledger. Joyce enjoys gracious living on a budget and saving money on personal care, decorating, and entertaining.

"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money, please send it to

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