Between work, grad school, and the terrible cold I’ve had the last few weeks, my nails have been in pretty bad condition. I haven’t done any nail art in a while, but I thought I’d share some of the staples I’ve been obsessed with lately. Most of them are products I’ve been using for years, but I’ve made a few new discoveries in the last month that have completely changed my nail game.
Day 1: I’m starting this process of trying Julep’s Oxygen Nail Treatment because I, and several of my readers, are curious as to how well it works. Now seems like a great time because 1. I’ve pretty much stopped my polish everyday so I can test wear; 2. You’re not really supposed to wear another polish over the treatment, and I’m not really supposed to wear polish at my new job, so that works out; and 3. My nails are completely trashed from washing my hands 50+ times a day, and that’s not including using hand sanitizer. My nails have always been thin, but after taking care of them almost daily for the past year, they’ve gotten so much better. Until a few days ago, when I started working at my family’s frozen yogurt shop, and my nails decided they couldn’t handle it. Heck, my hands can’t handle it. They’re dry and peeling, and I have too many hangnails to count. So it feels like the right time to test a product like this. I’m planning on doing a daily journal type thing, and then publishing it when I’m done. Hopefully it works out!
I applied the nail treatment last night. Application was easy, and I really like the way it looks on my nails. Julep calls it “nail makeup,” because it is supposed to make naked nails look better. I definitely agree with that. My nails don’t look amazing, but they do look cleaner, shinier, and have a very slight light pink tint to them. Imagine one coat of a sheer pink polish (like OPI Bubble Bath). I only used one coat, so you could probably increase your “nail makeup” coverage with two.
It was dry to the touch within maybe ten minutes. I did notice it is a total fuzz magnet, even when it seems to be pretty much dry. I didn’t touch anything but my phone and computer, and still had little black fuzzies stuck all over my nails. I had to redo my index finger because I messed it up trying to get the fuzz off. I let it completely dry for an hour, and even banged my nail on the desk to test it – no dents.
Here’s where it got a little interesting: I put on some cuticle oil (Glitzology’s Cupcake Oil) – which is pretty much just some natural oils (olive, etc.) and the scent. Nothing super fancy. But it seemed to melt the Oxygen Nail Treatment. Everywhere the oil touched the treatment, it immediately became sticky, full of fuzz, and in many places, it looks like it completely dissolved. On my thumb, it looks like I have a bunch of sticker goop (you know what I’m talking about) all around the edges of my nails. But it won’t come off, because it’s the treatment, just warped.
First impression: meh. It looks nice, but so far hasn’t improved my nail strength (not that I expected it to in one day) and the melting (?) thing is just bizarre. I’m going to reapply tonight, and skip the cuticle oil (I might just use some Rosebud Salve because my cuticles need something).
Day 2: I applied the Julep Oxygen Nail Treatment again last night. Same experience with application, except that I avoided the cuticle oil and therefore the weird melting thing. So the treatment is still covering my entire nail.
I’ve been pretty impressed with the wear of the treatment.In only had one chip yesterday and none today, despite the fact that I spent over an hour doing dishes and slammed my fingers in various cupboards more than I can count. This might have something to do with the fact that I only did one coat, but I’m still impressed. I did have a break today, though. What was left of my left index finger nail (I didn’t know there was anything left) broke off when the cash drawer decided to shoot out extra fast during a transaction. Word of warning: do not work in the food industry if you like long nails. Just saying.
As for nail strength, I see no improvement. I actually just re-read the back of the box and it says the treatment is designed to condition and restructure nails in (just) four weeks. I’ve got to say, I don’t think I’m going to last that long. I’d have to go polishless for a month (anyone else think it’s weird that a polish company designed a product that you’re notsupposed to use with nail polish?). And I’d probably have to repurchase, and quite frankly, I feel it’s a little overpriced ($14.40 for Mavens, $18 for everyone else, and you only get 0.27 fl oz of product – about half a bottle of OPI). I’m committing to this until at least next Thursday (since that’s my first day off!), and even though it’s not the recommended length of time, I feel like I’ll probably be able to tell if it’s working in ten days. We’ll see.
Day 3: I’m already starting to not like the Julep Oxygen Nail Treatment. First off, this is the second day of wear on this application, and it’s already starting to look worn all over and kind of weird and crusty near the cuticles. I don’t have time to reapply today, and I’ll be out of town for the weekend, so it’ll be on until at least Sunday. So I should have a decent report on the wear time. Still no chips, but I had another break. I usually break a nail maybe once a week, so that’s really annoying. I don’t think it’s caused by the treatment, but it’s certainly not doing anything to help. My nails are just as weak as they started out. I know it’s too early to call, but I’m itching to take this stuff off and start using the OPI Nail Envy I just got.
Day 4: This morning I noticed an orange stain on my left pinkie nail. Ithought maybe it was something on the polish, so I tried to rub it off. Instead, the polish came off in the middle of my nail but the orange stain was still there! Not ok. I have no idea where the stain came from, but based on this incident, I would definitely advise against using the Julep Oxygen Nail Treatment as a base coat. I don’t think it would do a very good job of preventing stains, and according to the box, wearing polish on top also prevents the oxygen from permeating the nail.
Day 5: So not only has the Oxygen Nail Treatment chipped pretty severely, both on the tips and in the middle of my nails, my nails have chipped too! They never do that. They either break off or peel. They’re weak and thin, but they have never been brittle! I’m really starting to hate this treatment. Still no improvement strength wise, and it seems to be making my nails worse! The polish around my cuticles has also started to peel and is looking pretty crusty, which is really gross. I can’t wait to take it off tomorrow. I’m debating whether or not to actually reapply because it doesn’t seem to be working at all.
Day 6: By now, you might have guessed that I’m not a fan of Julep’s Oxygen Nail Treatment. It wasn’t working at all, and even seemed to be worsening the condition of my nails. But I was willing to stick it out until Thursday, as promised, until today. Today my nails were actually sore! Like, when I pressed them with my finger, it actually hurt, just a little, and sent a tiny jolt down my finger. Not normal! This, in my opinion, is completely unacceptable, especially for $18. So I took it off.
It wasn’t going to magically start working had I left it on any longer (even the recommended four weeks), and I was starting to worry I was having a bad reaction to it. That said, I am allergic to a lot, and I mean a lot, of things. So it may have been incompatible with my body chemistry. It may work for you. But I can’t recommend it. It did not strengthen my nails at all, they peeled and broke just as much, if not more, and my actual finger nails started to chip in the middle of the edge, which has never happened to me before. It is nice as a sheer pink color, but other than that, it didn’t work for me. (I’ve read several other reviews stating the same thing, just google it.) Also, I thought it’s worth mentioning that I couldn’t not find a single bit of research on the benefits of getting more oxygen to your nails. News flash: your fingernails are essentially just a bunch of dead skin cells. Like your hair. So it makes sense that oxygen doesn’t really make that much of a difference. On your skin, sure. But not on your nails. My recommendation? Don’t waste your money.
I’m switching to OPI Nail Envy (which I got for less than $5 on Amazon) and so I will try to do a review of that one, too. Any other recommendations for nail strengtheners are welcome!