Today was flat-cleaning day chez Cucumpear. I have found out over the last half year, since I started letting my nails grow, that if I'm prepared I need not fear those days of scrubbing.
For years I was convinced that nothing could make my nails grow without constant tearing. I filed them, buffed them, occasionally applied nail hardener and ignored them. I had no idea that my nail hardener contained formaldehyde and that long phases of completely bare nails could be responsible for the tearing and peeling.
Then I discovered a polish blog, then another, and I learned how to take care of my nails properly. They still tear. The nail of my right thumb peels regularly. But I actually have long nails, relatively speaking, and I love them. So I try to protect them when I have to wash my hands a lot or use cleaning products. I found that I couldn't use gloves, they just feel wrong.
What I do is quite simple and not something that needs extra effort: nail art. Or rather double topcoat. If I seal the polish pre-art and then once more post-art, my nails will be strong and easily survive the scrubbing. I also coat as much of the underside of the free tip as possible with my nail treatment du jour. This works very well for me.
Of course my cuticles need some attention after cleaning, but a bit of hand cream and 15 minutes of nail oil fix them right up. I'm lucky to have pretty good skin on my hands.
What do you do to protect your nails during cleaning?