Have you ever tried a Shellac manicure? I'd never had a salon manicure in my life, but I thought it would be fun to try out pretty coral nails ala Betty Draper for my best friend's wedding.
It took almost a month to get my thin brittle nails long enough to bother manicuring. The shellac goes on as a powder and is sealed with a heat lamp to a nice shiny finish that made my nails feel thick and fancy looking. (It reminded me of automotive paint!) Supposedly indestructible and impervious to chipping, they claim Shellac lasts two full weeks. Here are my hands after one week- I couldn't handle being so dainty anymore and soaked it off with acetone nail polish remover. I didn't like the new growth showing through at my cuticles either, but I'm excited to try it again next time I have a big event coming up.
Have you tried any crazy beauty services, like a real snakeskin pedicure? I'm dying to try laser hair removal, but I think that's as close to actual surgery as I'm willing to go.