Hello, Cupcakes! (With a big dollop of rainbow frosting with sprinkles on top!)

I need to talk about nails.

I’ve always had the crappiest, flimsiest, nastiest nails ever. EVER. I bit them and chewed on them and ripped on the skin around them since I was little. Gross. (To add insult to injury, my childhood best friend had the prettiest, healthiest nails which she could grow as long as she wanted. Oh, damn her.) Over the years I tried nail hardeners of every kind from polishes to creams to supplements. Not until I got completely SICK of how bad they looked in the last few years did I come up with My Plan.

I began to research the ingredients found in beauty products. NAIL POLISH (along with hair color/bleach) were, not surprisingly, some of the worst offenders of the beauty world. I only ever used the clear polish because it disguised some of the yucky look that my nails had taken on. But clear or not, it all had the same toxic ingredents. So I began my search for healthy nail polish alternatives.

A lot of the polishes that were “healthy” were water-based and OMG, unless you have an industrial nail file on hand to literally FILE this stuff off your nails, then good luck. This polish adheres to your nail bed like freaking super glue. OH, fun fact: the longer it stays on your nails, the harder it is to get off. And also, you need to use a hairdryer to dry each layer of polish for it to cure properly.

It was a LOT of work and a lot of time to simply get a set of cute, polished nails. (The one upside was that if you take the polish off within three days of applying, RUBBING ALCOHOL would actually remove it. Kinda cool, I thought, since polish remover is very toxic as well. But who has that much time to paint and repaint their nails? No one, that’s who.) Needless to say, I was not a fan of water-based polish.

And then…I found ZOYA. ZOYA! Cue the chirping little songbirds and harps and angels! This line of polish has some of the most gorgeous colors I have ever seen…rich, opaque, glossy color. The finishes come in creams, metallic, sheer…I forget what else. The amazing and wonderful part is that it’s TEN-FREE!!!! That means this polish is free of the ten most toxic chems used in conventional polish. I was SO excited to try them out!

The very first polish I tried from Zoya was the NAKED set. It’s like a french manicure. It was supposed to strengthen your nails over time and make them gorgeous. At the time, I was determined not to bite them or put them in my mouth and see if this chemical-free polish delivered. My nails DID look beautiful and healthy.

For a while.

And then I started to notice that my nails were splitting!!!! I think they grew long because I wasn’t biting on them BUT when the layers of my nails started to SPLIT, I was grumpy. I have since found out that the formaldehyde (and potentially some of the other chems in traditional polish help to not only strengthen your natural nails but also “glue” the layers of nail together. I figured that since ZOYA had no such chemicals, that was the problem. (But did I EVER have a fun time separating the layers of my nails! It was very satifying! I know I’m a weirdo.) But it was only a moment of satisfaction, because then my nails were so WEAK, obviously, and the length just just tore off.

But I didn’t want to give up. So months later I decided I would try color. My idea was this: even IF my nails started splitting, l would not mess with them in any way. I felt if I let them be, they would grow long, and if not strong, them something more or less manageable. I knew if I had a color on them, I was less likely to put them in my mouth. For about six months, with the color, I did not bite them. BUT I SCRATCHED at them. I would paint them and then SCRATCH the paint off!! But I still didn’t give up. I kept painting them each time I scratched the paint off. Doing more research into nail health, I also came across the information that scratching your nail polish, either with your teeth or with another nail, weakens them. (Are you sick of reading this yet? Take a break and go eat some cake.)

The wonderful thing is, my plan finally worked!!! I just leave this lovely ZOYA color on my nails, and I don’t even scratch at it much anymore! I have reached Nail Nirvana!

Now go and buy some ZOYA!!! And cake!!!