ASK Cosmetics Total Nail Transformation Challenge

A few weeks ago I was chosen by Lisa Mueller from ASK Cosmetics and Lisa's Nailcare Blog to participate in the ASK Cosmetics Total Nail Transformation Challenge. You can also see Lisa's TNT Challenge blog post here. Earlier this week my TNT Challenge kit arrived.

The kit:

  • one ASK Cosmetics Contour Nail File
  • one bottle of T.I.P.S. for Toes
  • one bottle of T.I.P.S 
  • one bottle of REVIVAL Hand & Nail Cleanser with pump top
  • one bottle of REVIVAL Skin Conditioning Milk

The Challenge:

  • using only the ASK Cosmetics products daily for 12 weeks (easy-peesy!)
  • all participants must refrain from wearing nail polish or having any manicures done for 12 weeks (*GASP* WHAT!)

Yep, no manis and no polish for 12 (TWELVE weeks). So I admit as a polish addict and nail polish blogger I totally freaked a bit at the no polish for 12 weeks aka 3 months thing. That means no Halloween manis, no Thanksgiving manis, no Christmas/Wintery manis, and no New Year's manis because this challenge will end for me on 1/4/13. That's a lot of manis to give up for someone who is used to polishing everyday or every other day. Then I realized just how many products I have purchased in the past to try to achieve healthy cuticles and nails and I can only guess much I spent. All to no avail. Isn't giving up 12 weeks worth of manis totally worth having gorgeous, naturally healthy nails? HELL YEAH IT IS! Plus I remembered that I have toenails and 3 daughters who love for me to paint their nails. So be on the look out for tinier nails and toe nail art. LOL! So with that we are off...ready for some ugly nail/cuticle pictures? Yeah, I knew you were.

Okay, as with any challenge like this, we need some starting photos so at the end we can remember how atrocious my nails looked before. So I rolled out of bed this morning, got the kids up for school and flipped on the lights in the lightbox and grab the camera. Yep, nothing on my nails, no filing done, ruely nekked (naked) nails.

First, a bit about the current state of my cuticles and nails: My nails are UBER thin, like paper. They are also very bendable not stiff. They peel horribly at the tips if I don’t keep them buffed. They are full of ridges, and as for my poor cuticles…They are currently dry, cracked, torn, peeling, bleeding, and sore. I have tons of hangnails that have appeared in the last few days. I will admit to being ill the last few days and showing absolutely no love to my nails or cuticles and it shows.

Starting nails - Left Hand

  • Thumb - nail is thin, dry, ridged; cuticle is hard, dry, cracked, torn, and has hangnails near right-bottom side and one starting on both sides of the nail
  • Index - nail is thin, dry, ridged, peeling and cracked at tip; scab from lost hangnail, small hangnail starting on right side of nail and hangnail on left
  • Middle - nail is thin, dry, ridged, peeling; hard, dry cuticle, hangnail on left side, tear starting in the middle of cuticle
  • Ring - nail is thin, dry, ridged, recently torn; torn, hard, dry, raw & bleeding cuticle, with hangnails near tear
  • Pinky - nail is thin, dry, ridged; hangnails starting on right side of nail

Starting nails - Right Hand 

Yes, I have a right hand. You just don't see it in swatches/manis because I am usually holding the camera with my right, being right-handed and all.

  • Thumb - nail is thin, dry, ridged, peeling; cuticle very dry, hangnails starting on both sides
  • Index - nail is thin, dry, ridged, peeling; dry, hard cuticle, scab from lost hangnail
  • Middle - nail is thin, dry, ridged, peeling; dry, hard cuticle with hangnails starting on both sides
  • Ring - nail is thin, dry, ridged; cuticle is hard and dry with a tear and a hangnail and two more starting on both sides
  • Pinky -  nail is thin, dry, ridged, peeling; cuticle is dry and tearing on the bottom also hangnails at the bottom, left, and right

After taking these starting photos I proceeded to re-read the pointers Lisa emailed me about how to use the ASK Cosmetics products in my kit more effectively.
The following is quoted from that email: 

  • Clip or cut back any damage you may have at the ends of your nails;
  • Refrain from using any other nail products during this time;
  • Do not cut, clip back, massage or stimulate your cuticles in any way;
  • Always be sure to apply TIPS first thing in the morning before putting your hands in water.  If TIPS is applied first, then water can't enter the nail tissue and dry it out!  It's as simple as that.  
  • You can't wash TIPS off, because it is the only product on the market that has been proven to actually penetrate the nails, nail tissue and cuticles - treating, fortifying and hydrating them from within.
  • For all of you - I would strongly recommend beginning your TNT Challenge by applying TIPS for Toes to your fingernails in order to give them a big boost right from the beginning.  Then after several weeks as you see new texture in your nails, your cuticles have receded naturally and your nails feel a lot stronger, then you could continue to use TIPS Nail Conditioner for the rest of the time.
  • Use the Contour Nail File at least once a day to seal the ends of your nails and prevent snags.  In fact, most participants in the past who have followed my instructions of filing 5 - 7 times gently each day have gotten rid of their cracked, peeling nails completely!
  • Refrain from using any other hand lotions or creams on your hands other than the ASK Cosmetics Skin Conditioning Milk.  You see, other lotions contain large amounts of waxes and silicones and this will a) hinder the effect of TIPS by leaving a waxy film on your nails that is very hard to get off, and b) due to this waxy, "silicone glove" effect your nails will have a yellowish tinge to them over time.  Products with waxes and silicones also dry out your skin and hands greatly.
  • One application of TIPS for Toes each morning BEFORE EXPOSURE to water is wonderful, but you may want to do two applications to see faster results.  Just remember though, for a second application your hands must have been out of water for at least one hour.  That is the time it takes water to evaporate out of your nails and hands.
  • One of the huge advantages of applying TIPS is that there is NO waiting time after your 2 - 3 min. application.  Simply rub your hands together ever so gently, keeping in mind that you don't want to touch or massage your cuticles in any way.

I also went over to the nailcareASKlisa youTube channel and checked out some of the short, informative videos on how to use the contour nail file and the proper way to apply T.I.P.S to my nails. T.I.P.S by the way stands for The Incredible Protection System. After that I took Lisa's advice and started with T.I.P.S for Toes. I applied it as directed in the video and noticed right away that the rawness and soreness of my torn cuticles and hangnails disappeared. I also was a little shocked at how fast my nails sucked the T.I.P.S. for Toes in. After applying I waited about 3 minutes and then used nail clippers and the contoured nail file to remove damage and smooth & seal my nails (just like the video showed). I will admit that the contour nail file had me a little worried about how to use it but the video showed me just how easy it was to use. I will say this, it ROCKS! The edges of my nails are so smooth I keep catching myself feeling them. The whole process from T.I.P.S for Toes application to end of filing took about 5 minutes. 

I then rushed off to get the kids to school.When I got back I decided to follow another of Lisa's suggestions and do second application of T.I.P.S for Toes to see faster results and let in soak in for about 5 minutes (I got distracted on FB - curse you FB games!). I jumped into the shower afterwards and noticed how the water seemed to glide off my nails and the skin around it. Like water off a duck's back without any greasy feeling. Pretty cool! After my shower and hair care routine, I wanted to make sure I removed all of any hair product that might be left behind so I tried out the REVIVAL hand & nail cleanser. The Revival hand & nail cleanser was very light and gentle. After this I applied a small amount of the Revival skin conditioning milk. I was shocked at not only how light and silky it was but how fast my skin absorbed it. I kid you not, like 10 seconds! There is also no greasy, residue left behind like most other lotions.

So my first day of the TNT Challenge is off to a great start. Now it's time for me to go do some coding for my C++ project. Until later...

Much Love, The Dragon Lady


  1. 12 weeks without nail polishes on your nails? This was a tought decision for you! But, I see that you will still have many nails to use for your manicures! :-) Good luck with your ASK Cosmetics Total Nail Transformation Challenge! :-)

  2. I couldn't do it! So long without polish...

    You could always have some occasional guest posts to add some variety to your blog, I would so I'm sure there's lots of girls who would love to guest post for you!

    1. Great idea, I may have to use that! Thanks!

  3. Good luck with 12 weeks! I am glad you have lots of other nails to polish in the meanwhile.