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This OG Nail Strengthener (and Lots of Patience) Fixed My Very Damaged Nails

As the kids say, I'm shook.
O.P.I. Nail Envy Nail Strengthener, $18.94, available here.

O.P.I. Nail Envy Nail Strengthener, $18.94, available here.

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I've come to accept that I just don't have great nails. No matter what I do or don't do to them, it seems, they just want to be short and weak, which is mostly fine. While I do occasionally get jealous of people whose nails seem to grow and grow effortlessly, I don't mind the look of short nails. However, it does become a problem when a particularly aggressive gel removal process leaves them even thinner than usual — like, soft-as-tissue, can't-even-open-a-seltzer-can thin.

In May, after a pandemic-long break from gels, I decided to treat myself to gel extensions for the first time ahead of a wedding I was in. A couple weeks later, I went to Australian Fashion Week and decided to stretch their lifespan a bit and leave and them on, only to get Covid and find myself stuck Down Under for several days longer than planned. I'm not sure if leaving them on for a full month made them more difficult to remove, but my nails were whittled down to almost nothing in the end — flimsier than they'd ever been. I still shudder thinking about their unnatural elasticity.

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I needed a fix, and fast. I rush-ordered the inexpensive but well-reviewed O.P.I. Nail Envy — an OG product that uses hydrolized wheat protein and calcium to strengthen nails. I knew it wouldn't fix my nails overnight, but I followed the brand's protocol (two coats, followed by one coat every other day for a week, then remove and repeat the process) pretty much to a T for about two months, and my nails are now stronger than I can ever remember them being. 

While the change wasn't immediate, the glossy polish did help protect my nails in their most weakened state, and made them look a lot healthier and shinier than they actually were. I still use it consistently as a base coat or on its own when I don't feel like wearing polish — and my nails are actually starting to grow past my finger tips, which is rare for me. As the kids say, I'm shook. Suffice it to say, you won't find me without a bottle of this stuff anytime soon.

O.P.I. Nail Envy Nail Strengthener, $18.94, available here.

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