I used to budget $50/month for manicures. I would pride myself on tending to my own pedicures, but I liked getting a No Chip manicure, choosing a color, mindlessly watching the TVs in the nail salon while occasionally making the smallest smallest small talk. This was largely because I felt that having clean and tidy nails was an easy way to look professional at work. It remains true. But I no longer work in an office capacity, I no longer paint my nails, but I still want clean tidy looking nails. And so I do the following:
I eat a healthy diet to ensure that my nails are a reflection of my nutrients. I also take vitamins to boost my nail and hair strength. I keep my nails trimmed, never longer than my finger, to avoid them breaking or looking jagged. I usually just file my nails once a week to keep them my desired length, but if they get too long, I trim them all down.
I wash my hands frequently so I have to keep my cuticles and nailbeds moisturized with coconut oil before bed and hand lotion in the morning. If I do get my hands dirty gardening or something, I use a scrub brush to get under my nails.
Because I no longer use nail polish, I buff my nails but only once a week and not for very long. I don’t want to damage or weaken my natural nails, I just want them to look clean.
And finally, I had to break a big habit of clicking my nails against surfaces, biting my cuticles and nail edges, and using my nails to open things.