If I had a penny for every time someone asked how I care for my nails, I'd probably have a whole pound by now. The only reason I haven't made a post like this sooner is because I'm really not big in to nail care and I know very little about it so I don't really feel qualified to instruct anyone on the subject. Truth is I'm just a lucky SOB when it comes to my nails and cuticles, they don't need much taking care of so I never made much of an effort.
That's not to say I don't do anything at all to care for them, just very little. In this post, I'll share my brief nail care routine with you in the hope that some of you curious cats can take a few pointers.
The best advice I can give anyone trying to keep their nails strong is find a good base coat.
I never used base coat until I won a bottle of OPI Nail Envy in a giveaway back in October 2010 and started using it underneath every manicure. I saw an improvement within 2 weeks. My nails were stronger, less prone to breakages and grew at double speed.
Since then I've tried a couple of different base coats but I always come back to OPI Nail Envy. Both the Original and Matte formulas do the same job. Recently I've also been using a Sally Hansen base coat, I've never been let down by any of their strengtheners.
Where to buy:
Sally Hansen Green Tea and Bamboo Strengthener 13.3ml...
In the UK: Superdrug (£7.99), Boots (£7.95)
In the US: Ulta ($7.79), Target ($6.99)
Search for: 'Sally Hansen Green Tea Bamboo'
OPI Nail Envy 15ml...
In the UK: Boots (£18.65), Sallys (In Store Only), Amazon.co.uk (£10.31)
In the US: Amazon.com ($7.95)
Search for: 'Nail Envy Original' or 'Nail Envy Matte'
So many of you are curious about how I get me nail shape. All I do is use one snip of the nail clippers to trim my nails to a square shape, then a glass nail file to smooth the edges and round off the corners slightly. I wrote a full post about it trimming and shaping my nails here.
These tools are the least fancy ones you'll ever find! The clippers are from Primark and the file is from Tesco's Barbara Daly make up range. They've both been with me for years and I'd be lost without them!
When it comes to glass nail files, some are better than others. I discovered this when I attempted to replace mine and the replacement was absolutely rubbish. It just didn't seem to actually file my nails so it went straight in the bin. I don't have any recommendations on this one, sorry guys.
My cuticles are naturally quite healthy and I moisturise my hands using Vaseline's Essential Moisture lotion countless times a day which I think contributes to my overall hand health in a big way.
This product from Sally Hansen is called Cuticle Eraser and Balm* and it's supposed to 'remove dry cuticles and moisturise in one step'. I don't think it works well as a remover but it leaves my cuticles feeling super soft. I'm a reformed nail picker but sometimes the habit sneaks out and I end up taking it out on my right thumbnail and the skin around it, this is the only product that has helped to heal that mess of a finger and return the skin and cuticle to a respectable state.
I've heard that Lush's Lemony Flutter is a great cuticle product but I've never tried it myself. It's on my bucket list!
Where to buy Sally Hansen Cuticle Eraser and Balm
In the UK: This product was sent to me by Sally Hansen and I can't find it available anywhere in the UK yet.
Search for: 'Sally Hansen Cuticle Eraser Balm'
While not really anything to do with nail care, top coats are a valuable part of my manicure routine nonetheless. My favourites are Essence Better Than Gel Nails and Seche Vite.
The Seche Vite is quite new to me and I only purchased it because it was an absolute bargain in the Urban Outfitters sale. It's a very, very fast drying top coat but it 'shrinks' sometimes which is incredibly annoying. It's exactly what it sounds like. The Seche shrinks, pulling away from your cuticles and nail tips and takes your colour polish with it, leaving gaps where there shouldn't be. If you can overlook that, it's awesome.
If the Essence top coat was available here in the UK, I would use nothing else. Unfortunately, it's only available in Continental Europe so it's tricky for anyone not living there to get hold of. It's fast drying (although not as fast as Seche Vite), glossy and it lasts. Please click here for more info about the Essence top coat (and every other top coat I've used in the past!).
Where to buy:
Essence Better Than Gel Nails
Only available in continental Europe and I believe the retail price is €2.59 for a 10ml bottle. A fellow blogger was kind enough to send me a few bottles.
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