Thursday, July 29, 2010

My Nail Health and a Long Overdue Review - Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator

From Qtica's Website
For this entire review, please keep in mind that my nail growth and overall nail health is a WORK IN PROGRESS.

I have been meaning to write this review for a while. But to be fair to product and myself, I had to give it enough time to work. For a product promoting nail growth and conditioning, that can mean months.

Here is what Qtica says Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator Does (from their website):
"The Secret to strong, healthy looking natural nails. Make you natural nails, stronger and longer while preventing annoying chipping and peeling with QTICA Natural Nail Growth Stimulator. Sulfur amino acids and hydrolyzed proteins strengthen the nail by bonding and locking keratin together and creating an extra layer of nail to prevent peeling and protect new nail growth. Maintain moisture and flexibility of the natural nail with vitamins A, C and E to keep it flexible and prevent cracking. See up to ? in of nail growth in as little as 14 days."
A Side Note to Qtica -You might want to fill in that "?" in the last sentence there or re-word that sentence because it looks incomplete.  By the way, the text for your Intense Cuticle Repair Balm is also appears to have a description for lips, not cuticles.

Ok, textual errors aside, I have a story to tell you!

My Introduction to Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator
Back in February I sent out an innocent rant (I mean "Tweet") to the Twitterverse  commenting on (complaining about) the condition of my nails. They were peeling, I couldn't get them to grow.  Every time I got growth it was so slow my nails would peel before the growth came to be able to file them down appropriately. I was doing everything I was always told to do to get them in good condition and failing. As a result, my manicures wouldn't last. If they did grow, they split and peeled. You've seen it in my pictures. Some of you have commented about it in my pictures. My nails weren't always like this, but they have never been "strong". I was frustrated.

As luck would have it, someone actually read my Tweet.

A "Good Fairy" from Zoya heard my cry for help and sent me a sample of Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator. She said she thought it would help my problem. I was very appreciative but also very skeptical - I had tried other "Nail Growth" formulas before and had very little luck. Why would this be any better? If it worked, would I even want to get hooked on it? The price of $20 for 0.5 oz seemed a little high to me. Then again, if this stuff really worked for me I would pay it.  I knew that.

Fortunately, for me, my Good Fairy seemed to be fine with me pestering her - because I had a lot of questions and she answered them promptly. At the time I was using the Zoya Color Lock System because I had won it off of a Tweet contest earlier and I wasn't sure how to use the Nail Growth Stimulator with that system. Through my Good Fairy's patient coaching, I learned the following:
  • Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator Works as a Base Coat - There is no need to apply Zoya Anchor or any other base coat with this product. It can act as a base coat when needed.
  • You MUST change your polish every 2 or 3 days - Too much build up can be detrimental to this treatment. I don't know why, but it's true. Every time I've stuck to this rule my nail growth has been much better.
  • Make Sure Your Nails Are Clean and Buffed - This is the step I am terrible at. What does clean mean? For Zoya it means using Remove + first, then smoothing out any ridges or rough spots. My nails, as you see in my Naked Nail pics below, will NEVER be very clean.
  • Be Patient - Although you will see growth results, according to my Good Fairy your nail bed has to grow all the way out before you will see something sustainable. 
Did The Product Work???
YES!!! My nails did grow!
My nails have been growing like weeds. Every 2 days I would take off my polish and cut back my nails all the way to where the peeling ended. That's a lot of FAST growth! I noticed it less than a month into treatment. They say it can start working as early as 14 days on the website (though they don't say how much growth). And yes, it doesn't take long to notice a difference.

Did My Peeling Stop?
I am relieved to say that my peeling has slowed down since I began using this product. It has not stopped completely. I expect it might get better over time, change with the seasons, change with medications I am taking, etc. But it is my opinion that the Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator was not the only thing helping me achieve healthy nail growth.

A few other things have changed in my routine since I began this treatment that may have helped:
  • I began using cuticle cream religiously - Qtica Intense Cuticle Repair Balm (purchased out of my own pocket) at bed time every night. I love it, but my iPhone hates it because it's greasy.
  • I stopped swabbing my nails with Alcohol - Yes, you read that right. I had read somewhere that swabbing my nails with alcohol would help clear nails of excess oil allowing polish to adhere better. While that may be true, I believe it was also drying the heck out of my nails. I think my Good Fairy got a good laugh over that one when I told her.
  • I started eating better - My Shakeology for breakfast has some good things for nails in it, like Biotin, which probably helps a bit.
  • I stopped drinking soda - What does that have to do with anything? I would use my nails to open the top of pop cans. Using nails as tools is bad and leads to breakage. I am trying very hard to be more cognizant of nail ruining habits.
What Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator DID do for me in the course of solving  my peeling problem was allow my nails to grow fast enough that I could get rid of the bad peeling parts without losing much length. I also believe that it has helped improve the overall health of my nails. They do seem a little stronger.

Besides the price, what are the Not-so-good things about it?
  1. Your nails will stain - As a base for nail polish, Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator will not stop very pigmented polishes from tinting your nails after you remove the polish. I know some of you nail fanatics out there will take this as a showstopper, but for me I don't care too much. I generally cover my nails with a thickly pigmented polish anyway. 
  2. It can take a long time to work - I know so many people who are impatient and won't wait for this product to work for them. You do have to give your nails enough time for the entire nail bed to be renewed. 
  3. It doesn't work alone - Like most things, this is only part of the process of creating long healthy nails. If you don't take care of your nails in other aspects (like quit using them as tools to open things), your nails will still have problems. They're natural nails - of course they have problems.
Bottom Line
I think the price is a little high, but if you're like me it will be worth it. Just make sure to treat your nails kindly while you use Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator and you should be good.

The Picture Show - Danger! Nekkid Nails!!!
To really get a handle on this review you need to see where this all began. My horrible nails:

Picture Taken on March 1, 2010
Before Beginning Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator

Two Weeks After using Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator
Growth, but Nails Still Peeling

Three Weeks After Using Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator
Nails have been cut back. Still growing. Less Peeling.

Now, see my nails as they are currently:

Four Months Using Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator
Minimal Peeling, Nail Growth Good (for me)
Same Time Period, Another view
The change is not dramatic, but it is very noticeable to me. I see a very large improvement from my March pictures. 

My Personal Thoughts on Nail Length
If you go to a salon and get fake nails, "Active Length" is much longer than the length I keep my nails. I type, I play softball, I work out... "Active Length" is too long for me right now. I will never have really long nails. I probably won't ever have nails that are "active length" though hopefully I will get close. But I am happy with how my nails are growing now and I will be repurchasing Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator when I run out. This little bottle is only half empty, and I have been using it every other day since March! At least I can be confident that the $20 will last a good long time.

Thank you, Good Fairy! I am grateful to you for putting my nails on the road to good health.

Full Disclosure
The products in this review were furnished to me by Zoya for my use, but not specifically for a review. I was not paid to provide this review, and have provided my honest opinion of the product. I don't sell Zoya or Qtica products, nor am I affiliated with Art of Beauty in any way.