Monday, 3 June 2013

My Nail Care Routine!

As promised, here is my personal nail care routine! I included all of the products I use often on my nails my nails. I didn't realize there were so many!

Before Polishing: Buffer Blocks, Cuticle Remover, Nail Clippers and Emery Boards

I hardly ever buff my nails anymore, but if I unknowingly use a polish that stains, I'll try to buff out the stains a little. On a side note, a paste of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide and something to scrub with seriously works for removing stains (and as a bonus, doesn't thin out your nails like a buffer does)! I buffed my nails out the other day (after they were pretty badly stained by OPI Don't Mess With OPI) and it made my nails a bendy mess. I think I buffed out the months of progress I'd made using OPI Nail Envy :(.

My cuticles have been a little unruly lately (growing faster than usual perhaps?) and the cuticle remover pictured here (and sold at Sally's) has really helped me out! Removing my cuticles is something I usually only do every month or two, but I've been doing it a little more frequently lately.

Confession time: I cut my nails. I know you're not supposed to (you're supposed to file them down and never cut them to prevent splitting and damage) but I've never noticed any damage or splitting due to cutting my nails. I'm not an advocate of using nail clippers, you probably shouldn't follow my example!

I use your standard cheap emery board (in an unknown grit) to shape and file my nails. It's recommended to use the smoothest and highest grit nail file you can handle. I say the highest grit you can handle because the higher the grit, the smoother the file and consequently the longer the shaping and shortening process.

Before/During Polishing: Nail Polish Drying Spray and Nail Polish Thinner

I picked up this nail drying spray from Sally's a little while ago for five dollars or less. I don't use it every time I paint my nails, but it does seem to speed up the drying process! It smells a bit strange, not like a chemical that's bad for your health, but just kind of strong. It doesn't leave any residue, it's basically like spraying your nails with compressed gas to help dry them. I wait five to ten minutes after applying my last coat of polish to use this in case it could cause any smudging.

A nail polish thinner is a necessity in any polish-user's supplies in my opinion. Apparently using nail polish remover to thin polishes is damaging to the nail polish, while nail polish thinner is perfectly fine! With sufficient nail polish thinner, even rock hard nail polish can be revived and used again!

Before and After Polishing: Strengtheners, Base Coats and Top Coats

I use one or two coats of OPI Nail Envy as a base coat every time I paint my nails. I prefer the matte version because you can tell by looking if it's dry or close to dry, and because it looks more natural when worn alone.

When I paint other people's nails I use Orly Bonder as their base coat and sometimes a coat of Nail Envy underneath if they have nails in need of strengthening. I also use Bonder when I paint my toes because I tend to only repaint my toes once a month or so. I change my fingernail polish so often and it holds up well enough that I don't need to use a sticky base coat on my fingers.

My current top coat is Essie Good To Go (bought by my lovely and supportive boyfriend). It dries a little slower than Poshe and Seche Vite but still quite quick! I've used this top coat a ridiculous amount and it's still more than half way full somehow. It dries super shiny, but it will bubble if you use a very thick coat (like most polishes) and it causes some uneven shrinkage at the cuticle end of the nail (not the free edge, presumably because I wrap my tips).

I have three matte top coats accidentally, but my nicest quality one is Julep Matte Top Coat. It creates a very matte finish but unfortunately I can't comment on the wear because I've never worn it myself. Let me know in the comments if you would like to see a review and comparison of my Julep, Elf, and NYC matte top coats!

After Polishing: Acetone and Non-acetone Nail Polish Removers, Cotton Pads and Clean Up Brushes

I use 100% acetone remover for cleanup after I paint my nails. It is exponentially more effective than non-acetone or even acetone-containing nail polish remover.

Conversely, I use acetone-free nail polish remover for removing my nail polish (unless it's a glitter polish, then it's the foil method with 100% acetone). I find using pure acetone to remove non-glitter polishes results in stained nails. It's as if the acetone is so effective that the cotton pad doesn't have time to absorb the thinned paint by the time your nail polish is all off (causing thinned nail polish to hang around on your nails and fingers and stain them). It's also as if the acetone is so strong that it decreases the absorbency of the cotton pad.

I use the cheapest priced cotton pads I can find when I'm running out, but I can say the Quo brand cotton pads are really nice and work wonderfully! I think they're the nicest cotton pads out there (for removing nail polish at least)!

For cleanup I use a variety of square-ended nail art brushes I got off of Amazon for very cheap! I would suggest wiping the brush off on paper towel periodically to remove the bits of polish you removed from your nail from the brush (to avoid putting them back on your skin).

After Polishing (most important!): Lotions and Cuticle Creams

I use a variety of lotions, but I decided to photograph my newest one (which smells so delightfully earthy and rosy!). I probably apply lotion to my hands about four times a day to keep them soft and moisturized!

Last but not least is Lush Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter! I use this once or twice a day and it's so deliciously hydrating! I've heard some people complain about it being too greasy, but I find if you just use a little bit or if your cuticles are dry, it isn't greasy for long!

Thank you so much for reading! :)

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