I'm going to show you where my nails were 5 weeks ago (though, I'm sure you've seen this a gazillion times) and then walk you through the Dermelect products I used, reviewing each product in the process. I'm also going to show you my naked nails so you can see the difference in the color of my growth. So... here goes...
This pic is my natural nails on 11/20/09. I remembered being horribly embarrassed by posting it, but I wanted to show you all just how bad my nails were. At this point, I was hoping my nails would rebound, but I was extremely doubtful.
In comparison, here's a pic I took of my natural, naked nails on 12/26/09
In this picture, you can really see the difference in the color of my nails. The upper half of my nails (the older growth) is a really weird, unhealthy, pinkish yellow color. It almost looks like a healing bruise. The lower half (the new growth) is a pretty, healthy pink/purple color. I haven't seen that color in over a year, as sad as that may be, and I really thought my nails were done for. As dramatic as it may sound, I really thought I'd be wearing fake nails for the rest of my life.
Honestly, it hurt to have my natural nails show. Not just emotionally (and I can't tell you how embarrassing it was), but also physically. My natural nails were so damanged and paper thin, that it actually felt good to wear glue-ons. It gave my nails protection. By using the Dermelect prodcuts, I think I was able to make my nails feel stronger and I no longer needed to rely on the glue-ons to keep them covered.
Here's what I used (click the name to link to Dermelect's site for more info)
Pic is one coat of Launchpad
I love this product. You don't think about it much when it's on, and then you can realize when you don't wear it. I found it to be very soothing on my damaged nails. It also made a great base for everything else I would apply on top of it. This product contains a unique multi-peptide derived from New Zealand wool which delivered keratin to the nail plate (taken from Dermelect's website). This product helped to strengthen my nails and reduced chipping. It's definitely a great base to help you rebuild your nails.
Dermelect Makeover Ridgefiller
This is one coat of Makeover over one coat of Launchpad.
Of all 3 Dermelect products I tried, this one is my hands down favorite. It not only is a great ridgefiller, but it's also a concealer. I've tried several ridgefillers, and none of them did what this one did. It helps to hide the damage on your nail. That was a big plus for me in the beginning. The color itself is a beautiful pink irridescent shimmer, so if you don't want to polish your nails (and I didn't for over 2 weeks), you don't have to. This one has all the good things you find in Launchpad as well. Also, you can use this to basically build up any damaged nail beds. In the beginning, I used this to cover up the areas on my nails where there was just nail bed (click link to see a picture). That was so important to me.
Last is Dermelect High Maintenance Top Coat
This is one coat of High Maintenance over one coat of Launchpad, one coat of Makeover, and one coat of NARS Dovima (I wanted you to see it over a polish).
If I had to pick a product I was a a little torn on, it would have to be High Maintenance. I like it, but it's not my favorite of the three. Though, when I started this process, I really appreciated it. I loved the fact that it was so thick (as thick as Seche Vite, or thicker even). It really made my feel like my nails were super protected. The downside was that I had some problems with bubbling (though over the NARS, it's perfect). It also is slow to dry (just like a normal TC, though), so if you want to be able to do things quickly after your mani, simply apply a thin fast drying TC (I like Out the Door) over the High Maintenance. Even now, I really do like the fact that it makes my nails feel thicker and stronger and it also protects them from UV light. And while I don't use it with every mani now, I think in the beginning of the nail recovery process, it was essential and if you are rebulding your nails, like me, then it's an important part of the system. Plus, it's super shiny, so it looks great over polish.
I really recommend using this system if you are interested in rebuilding your nails from damage, whether that be from acrylics, glue-ons, or some other form of damage. I was fortunate in that I was sent samples, but I honestly think that if I'd known about these products months ago, I would have definitely bought them and tried them. I had been searching for something to help heal the damage, and I was having no luck finding a system. In fact, I'm recommending them to my mother, who after 2+ years of chronic glue-ons usage is looking to rebuld her damaged nails/nail beds.
Which brings me to my SURPRISE! In conjuction with my review of their products, Dermelect is offering a 20% coupon to my readers for all of their hand and nail products (click to go to their store). This code is PP20 and is good through January 4, 2010. In the interest of full disclosure, I receive no kick-back from this code. It's just a gift from Dermelect to my readers. I will also post a note about this code on the right side of my blog. Also, please feel free to pass this code on.
Thank you so much for your time in reading this post and all your support during the last 5+ weeks. My nails still have a way to go, and I plan on using these products until all the old growth is gone and beyond.