I treat my finger nails as if they are instruments in a Swiss Army Knife, using them to prod, prise and pull at all manner of things. I use Bareille's nail growth cream to encourage the poor, ragged and chipped things to grow back. But what if I could protect them from breaking in the first place? Duri's Rejuvacote got my attention when I saw the rave reviews of hard-working people like nurses. Rejuvecote ($9.99 for 0.5oz) is supposed to be the answer for acrylic abused nails.

Perhaps I've been reading too many of my own blogs, because ever since the bottle arrived I've been eyeing it as though it's radioactive. It has all the ingredients that, if they turn up in a nail polish, I can guarantee will fry my fingers.

First of all, it has nitrocellulose. When not a nail polish ingredient, this is most commonly used as a wood finisher (for which it is much favored by guitar makers) and for smokeless gunpowder. Then there is toulene, a toxic paint thinner. Phthalates, as well as being nearly unpronounceable if you wear retainers, do horrible things to hormones and are banned from children's toys in Europe. Finally, there is formaldehyde, which is frequently blamed for drying out nails and, more worryingly, is a known toxin and carcinogen.

Ingredients: Ethly acetate, n-butyl acetate, nitrocellulose, toulenesulfonamide, formaldehyde, resin dibutyl, phthalate, isopropyl alcohol, camphor, calcium pantothenate, gelatin, hydrolized keratin protein.