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We Try It: Essie Grow Stronger Fortifying Nail Treatment

I’ve always had an issue with biting my nails. I say biting, but what I actually mean is that I have a history of inflicting such brutalities upon my fingertips that you would shudder to know of them. Biting, picking, ripping: I’ve done it all. The destruction is the result of a condition known as dermatillomania, a facet of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in which one is compelled to pick at one’s own skin. Yeah, it’s gruesome stuff. A little over a year ago, I made the decision to stop that behavior as it relates to my fingernails, though the fact that it is a mental condition meant that the behavior simply shifted elsewhere. When I finally ended the reign of terror inflicted upon my aching, bloody fingertips, I realized that I must have shocked my poor nails into weakness, because they were incredibly thin. 

I started out with what I happened to have from the few times I’d managed to grow my nails out long enough to actually paint (i.e. I could see the white part). Because it was a familiar name, I went with Sally Hansen’s Hard as Nails base coat in clear to strengthen my nails. I used it for a month or two and noticed very, very little difference. It was a little gluey and seemed to peel off with such ease that I couldn’t get away with wearing only the base coat for a day or two. Now, I know many swear by this stuff. That’s great; I’m thrilled if it works for you, because it’s cheap and easy to find. I went through a bottle of that out of a personal resistance to buying another bottle, and then a few other treatments too boring to even name. Eventually I went searching for a different little helper, and I walked out of Ulta one day with a bottle of Essie Grow Stronger Fortifying Treatment Base Coat (that’s a mouthful, right? I’m just calling it Grow Stronger from now on) and way too many colored polishes. I went with Essie because I trust their product, having become a convert after being turned on to Ballet Slippers, a pale sheer pink that at least three lady magazines swear by. Short story: I love Grow Stronger. It’s awesome. The only thing it won’t do is clean your house and take care of your pets. Now go get some. Here’s the longer story:

After three or so weeks, I noticed a huge difference in my nails. I was going to say it was a thick difference, but that didn’t make too much sense, and then I was going to say it was a huge, thick difference, but that just sounds filthy. Anyway, my nails were much thicker! And they were stronger, and remain stronger after a few months of use. Prior to using Grow Stronger, I could easily bend my fingernails, which is a little disconcerting and led to a constant fear that one would just pop right off. Now there isn’t any give at all, and I’m not worried about breaking one whenever I feed my Coke Zero addiction. I split one of my nails a few weeks ago, leading to a thin, weakened little claw that I had to file down to where the split ended in the hopes that it would grow back normally. There’s still a bit of a division, but it’s getting much better and isn’t nearly as thin.

The other thing I like about this base coat is that it’s really very pretty on its own. It can stand alone as a polish if necessary, which is rather helpful if, like me, you spend a good hour painting your nails and blowing them dry with your monster of a hair dryer. One thin coat will give you a clear, typical base coat, good for strengthening and creating an even base for your color. I know some people think that Grow Stronger is too pink, but I think they’re just being heavy-handed with it. If you apply a thick coat, you get a very pretty sheer pink that dries within a few minutes. The thin coat dries even more quickly, obviously. A word of caution, however: don’t let this stuff get too warm. Like most nail polishes, it turns gummy if left in a hot place for too long. I didn’t know that and had to replace a bottle. Apart from that, I think it’s pretty perfect.

(Note: I purchased this product with my own money. No products were given or gifted to me, and all reviews are 100% my own opinions.)

By Elfity

Elfity, so named for her tendency to be a bit uppity and her elf-like appearance, is a graduate student and professional Scary Feminist of Rage. She has a propensity for social justice, cheese, and Doctor Who. Favorite activities include making strange noises, napping with puppies and/or kitties, and engaging in political and philosophical debates.

5 replies on “We Try It: Essie Grow Stronger Fortifying Nail Treatment”

Hmm this makes me curious. The nails on my right hand are strong and grow long (even though I’m a rightie) while those on my left fall apart as soon as they seem close to growing past my fingers (I still don’t understand). It’s one of the reasons I barely/don’t use nail polish because I like my nails a bit longer than painting stumps.

Maybe I need to invest in something like this… I work as a day porter, so my hands are often wet or damp, I use lots of chemicals, and I also work with things like dust and cardboard–which dry them out horribly. Needless to say, my once lovely nails are now thin and flaking and they break easily. I’ll have to check this out.

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