The first nail-focused beauty blog

Is There Such A Thing As Overmanicuring?

By on July 24, 2007
in Tips and Tricks

From the pages of August’s Allure, an article by Kristin Cobb:

Many doctors believe that brittle nails are caused by nail dehydration. But when researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine analyzed weak and strong nails, the water content was similar. People with brittle nails reported more use of hand moisturizers and more frequent professional manicures than those with healthier nails – indicating either that people turn to these regimens to treat their conditions, or that chemicals in the products involved are contributors. Lead researcher Dana Stern suggests keeping nails short to minimize absorption of chemicals, avoiding nail polish removers with acetone, taking 2.5 milligrams of biotin daily, and for any chronic nail problem, seeing a dermatologist.

So here’s my nail story. I started taking care of my nails for two reasons:

1. I was a habitual nail biter and keeping them painted helped me curb the nasty habit.

2. I bit my nails because they were weak, splitting and peeling. A symptom of what I call my “Danny Devito Syndrome.”

Danny Devito Syndrome – Have you seen the movie Twins with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny Devito? In it, the two leads are twins separated at birth. They are the product of genetic experimentation gone awry. Danny Devito’s character was given all the “crap” genes while Arnold was comprised of the genetic material to make him a super-being. Long story short, I got the “crap” when it comes to my physical traits. I have crazy unmanageable hair (that’s already got a few grays *sigh*), the inability to heal like a normal human being (seriously it takes at least 6 months for a scar to fully heal), skin that burns and freckles (regardless of my father’s lovely olive complexion or my mother’s inability to burn), no athletic ability (even though my dad was a super jock back in the day) and weak peeling nails that look nothing like the super tools my mom sports on her tips.

So to make an already long story short (if that’s even possible), manicuring my nails is what keeps them healthy and strong. If I let them go, they’d be a wreck. So the article really doesn’t apply to me but, then again, I’m a genetic freak.

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There Are 14 Brilliant Comments

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  1. ccunn13ca says:

    Hi Cincy! Love the blog. I’m usually a lurker on the MUA nail board. Anyways, I think the article has some truth to it. I’ve read on the MUA nail board many times that overusing nail strengtheners(such as OPI Nail Envy) can make your nails brittle.

    I also agree with the point made about getting more frequent pro manis. I read in a mag that one should get a full mani once a week. Unless someone’s nails are in a really bad state, I think once every three or four weeks is more appropriate. Polish change can be once a week, but I know that the hard-core MUA girls do polish change every day! Sorry for the lengthy post, but that’s my opinion!

  2. CincyFan says:

    Hey there! Thanks for posting. I completely agree with you. I do think you can OD on manicure products if you use them too often but I personally think it’s better for me to keep my tips polished rather than bare.

    Now I don’t change my polish daily like some of the nail board gals. I feel all that acetone use would ruin my nails and cuticles. I change mine every 4-6 days instead.

    That’s why I only do my swatching in spurts, spread apart. It’s so rough on me to keep removing polish over and over. And if I can, I use a treatment (like NailTek) for a week after.

  3. Liz says:

    Similar story here – I am a habitual nibbler of the skin at the sides of my nails when stressed. (Very yucky.) I find that I do it a lot less if I keep my hands nicely manicured – and I think that the maintenance I do when I change colours (cuticle and nail creams, careful filing and so on ever three or four days) actually keeps them stronger than they were when I used to just ignore them.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I was sick for a long time and my nails were really weak. My dermatologist recommended that nail hardener that is advertized on tv–I can’t remember the name of it right now.
    So, I went to Walgreens and found it in the nail care section and it was expensive-like $25.00 for a 30 day supply. I looked on the packaging and saw that the active ingredient was “Biotin”. I then went to the vitamin section of the drug store and found just plain old biotin in the same doseage for $8.99 for 90 pills.
    I have been taking biotin since February and my nails are so strong and beautiful. I can even go without polish and no worries about breakage.
    Every girl who likes nice nails should add biotin to her daily vitamin intake. You will love the results-and so cheap, too!!

  5. South African fan says:

    Dear Cincy. Ever since I have subscribed to your blog feeds I have been inspired to take care of my nails. Recently I have been applying nail polish every 4-5 days, using moisturising nail strengtheners, and even cuticle cream! I tend to struggle with breaking nails. Nowadays my nails actually grow and I find polish definitely protects them. My philosophy is that overdoing anything (even good things like exercising), is bad for one.

  6. Heather says:

    I have Danny Devito Syndrome too. My saving grace has been Rejuvacote. If I didn’t take really good care of my nails, they would be a mess!

  7. Diana says:

    Count me as another person who started taking care of her nails to quit biting! And I also bit them for the same reasons you did: they were constantly breaking, splitting and peeling and biting was my habitual way of grooming. After keeping my nails *constantly* painted for the last 10 months, I can honestly say my nails have never looked better. They very rarely break or split any more, and so long as I put a coat of nail strengthener on under a coat of Stickey, they don’t peel either. I haven’t changed my vitamin regiment any, so I can only attribute the improvement to what I put on my nails.

    So I think the idea that people with brittle nails are more likely to get regular manicures as a remedy is a better theory than that the manicures are causing the brittleness.

  8. Ladylipstick says:

    I just started taking Biotin myself. I do have a nail license, so there is really no excuse for my nails being the mess that they are! Just another case of “do as I say, not as I do!”

  9. Anonymous says:

    HI. i dont have myspace and my outlook doesnt work, so there is no way of emailing u other than this. i have a huge request. I ABSOLUTELY ADORE your blog and check it daily. since you are the ultimate genius when it comes to color, i was wondering if u could identify something for me. i have been obssessing for the last couple of days. what is the gorgeous shade of red/burgundy nail polish that sarah jessica parker is wearing on SATC in episode 31 (where there’s smoke…) in season 3? if u could help, i would greatly appreciate it. u r my last hope since u r the nail polish guru! all hail, the mighty one! thanks so much. maybe u could come up with an alternative that is pretty damn close.

  10. KP says:

    Cincy, can you blog about your nail routine? I started polishing regularly but now my nails are a wreck. I’ve broken 5 nails, one twice! over the past week. I’m willing to spend the money to get my nails healthy!

  11. Cindy says:

    I’ll just add one more to the chorus of people who paint their nails to keep from picking/biting them. My problem is that my nails are literally tissue paper thin, and an unconcious habit of picking at them, mine were always down to the quick.

    I found a good vitamin that my aunt reccomended to me though (Source of Life), and now they’re thick enough that with a hardener and polish they can grow. Seeing all the pretty polishes on this blog helps too, heh.

    And now I’ve got 25 years of hiding my nails to make up for. =)

  12. womanchild says:

    Hey Cincy, I just recently found your blog!
    I wouldnt say I was a nail biter as much an OCD cookie monster when it came to biting my nails!

    Since I was probably 3 or 4 yrs old!

    I tried quiting a few times but it just never stuck and when I didnt bite, my nails would split on the sides and then Id just start biting again.

    Ive had great success now that Im 30. I think part of it is, our nails get thicker as we get older (Im 30 now). I dont file my nails except when it’s absolutely necessary.

    I try to keep polish on my nails as I know they feel and look protected. When I change my polish and they are naked, they just feel vulnerable.

    I admit I get bored easily and it’s hard for me to keep the same polish on my nails longer than 3 days. I primarily only use non-acetone polish remover.

    I also have naturally oily skin/hair and I think that’s another benefit for me (its got its downsides too believe me, still having acne at 30 sucks)

    Anyway I agree w/many other that while caring for nails has its benefits, but OCD’ing your nails can do more harm than good.

    the whole “less is more” adage works here very well.


  13. Raye says:

    If I don’t keep my nails painted they peel. However polish and remove take a toll on my already dry nails. I did some experimenting. I have VERY hard nails. My mom has very soft nails and does not wear polish. After my experiments I have found that mixing Soybean Oil and Vitamin E helps both our nails. (It does stink a bit) One day a week I leave my polish off and rub this mixture on top and under my nails and on my cuticles.During the week I put the oil under the nails tips every day or two. I let it sit there about five minutes and then wash it off. It has made an improvement for both mom and I but particularly for me with my hard, dry nails. You might want to give it a try!

  14. Sandi says:

    I’m with several of you, it’s paint or chew. Not only does painting stop the biting, but the fact that they DO look nice means I’m a lot more careful how I use both my nails and my hands. No more using my nails as tools for prying, poking or peeling at labels and such and no more letting my hands be dried out by water or weather. I do my manis (yes, nearly every day) while parked in front of the keyboard and always spend at least 20 minutes massaging oil into my tips before washing my hands (with Dawn! lol) and painting. Jojoba, vitamin E, almond cuticle oil…I use them all. So far it’s working. I wear mine a bit longer than most of you ladies seem to prefer, but nothing worthy of being dissed as talons and haven’t had a break in months (knock on my head).