Sunday, 6 January 2013

My Nail Care Favourites

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. 
In the US: Walgreens ($7.99), Ulta, Target
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:
Seche Vite
In the UK: Asos (£10.95) Feel Unique (£8.76), Amazon.co.uk (£6.19)
In the US: Ulta ($9.95) Amazon.com ($5.13)

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.

 That concludes my nail care favourites. I hope this is helpful and answers any questions you may have had about how I care for my nails. What are your nail care essentials?

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32 comments :

  1. Very interesting! Am surprised you dont do more than that for your cuticles, they always look fab! I too have used that SH bamboo strengthener and i liked it. Another good glass file is Leighton Dennys Crystal File, thats the one i use and it's really good. I didnt like Lemony Flutter, i found the smell a bit chemically and it put me off. Flexitol cuticle balm is brill for taming those ragged thumb edges, and super cheap on amazon! Great post x x x

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  2. Always love to read this kind of things...
    OPI nail envy is also my favourite although it is a bit expensive

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  3. Great blog post. i like to read about others favourites when it comes to nail care products.

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  4. It seems taht there is a way to prevent the shrinking with seche vite, if you put your topcoat also on the "side" of the nail, at the edge.

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  5. Leighton Denny's nail file is the one I always go back to! Totally love it. Nail envy is brilliant as well :)

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  6. Great informative post! I also use matte nail envy, the matte finish seems to make the base coat extra 'grippy' so that my polish lasts longer!

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  7. I really need to get my hands on the OPI Nail Envy. I've been having difficulty with my nails lately!

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  8. A good place to get OPI Nail Envy and Seche Vite for a more manageable price is buyapowa.com - it would be easier for you to check it out than me explain, but they basically buy a bulk lot of a particular item and the more people who buy it from them, the cheaper it gets - and it always goes for the lowest price when it's OPI :) as for nail files - Leighton Denny definitely have a superb nail file, and it comes with a lifetime guarantee!! - http://www.boots.com/en/Leighton-Denny-small-crystal-nail-file_924162 - it's £12.50 but if it's the last one you will ever have to buy (and it probably is its so good) it is definately worth it! Plus it's in a lovely little case - perfect for the handbag!

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  9. i've never had any problems with seche vite shrinking. i am excited to get a bottle of opi nail envy though. i really need some nail help. thanks for the post. oh and in the us, seche vite can also be found at sally beauty supply, and opi nail envy can be found at most ulta stores. just fyi. (:

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  10. I use Nail Envy too, and also love any Sally Hansen base coat - they never fail! Lemony Flutter is really good but can be quite greasy. I like the Sally Hansen apricot cuticle massage cream but like the look of the one you use, and may give it a try!

    Seche Vite just didn't work for me (the shrinkage and the bad chemicals plus the fact it didn't actually dry properly) but I like NYC or Sally Hansen Insta Dri x

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  11. Essence Better than Gel top coat is also available in the US. I don't know what other stores may carry it, but my local Kroger/Fred Meyer carries Essence, and I picked up a bottle of Better than Gel for $2.99 there.

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    1. They don't have those stores in NY. Will have to take a look at the local drug stores here. Is it available online anywhere?

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  12. I am big on Burt's Bees lemon butter cuticle cream for softening my cuticles. And it has a lovely scent!

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  13. I use Sally Hansen Cuticle Eraser Balm and I love it. I agree that it isn't a great remover but it leaves my cuticles super soft. I use it when I'm at work since the air in my office is so dry and my cuticles dry out a lot because of it.

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  14. I love Sally Hansen "Instant Grip" as a base coat. It's really thin, and dries incredibly fast. I don't feel like it bulks up my nails any (which is great when you've got a bunch of coats in a tape manicure), and maintains the health of my nail.

    For top coat, I am absolutely stuck on "Mega Shine". I'm not a fan of matte, and this is the opposite... it makes any nail polish look super super shiny (as the name would have you believe). Another Sally Hansen product, it dries fast, looks great, and even though sometimes I stray, I always come back to it. It makes every glitter, shimmer, and sparkle really pop.

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  15. I also barely do anything to my nails too :) I just moisturize (I love Eucerin because its rich but my hands don't feel greasy) and use Burt's Bees Lemon Butter cuticle cream every once in a while before I go to sleep. Oh I also never skip out on the basecoat too! Nail Envy is also my favorite, but SO PRICEY! Still I'll use it up.

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  16. Thanks for the tips! New follower here:) I'm do gonna try OPI envy. I've been looking for a pretty good base coat for a while now. Thanks! xx

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  17. Since you're a Sally Hansen fan like me, might I suggest my go to absolute fave fast dry top coat- Sally Hansen's Diamond Flash it's AMAZING and only $6.99 I can't live without it- no shrinkage, high gloss, super fast dry

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  18. I use(d) the Matte Nail Envy but the day I use it one of my nails break. EVERYTIME. I got it on Amazon for like $7.

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  19. I live in Aus, and am lucky enough to have many retailers who stocked these products. I use Nail Envy by OPI in the matte and original mostly, but was told by the OPI nail tech (yep, you can actually get a mani at the counter and nail health info) that if you overuse the Nail Envy, it can strip your nail of its ability to be flexible under stress. Kind of like turning your proteins into a more calcified form, or the difference in green wood flexibility vs dead branches that will snap away easily.
    Having said that, I have always been thrilled with the results I got. I used to bite my nails and barely had any, my cuticles were really overgrown. I tried just pushing them back, and taking vitamins to strengthen my nails, but to no avail; my nails barely grew before they broke or split. After using Envy, I now have to file back those nails each week because of their length!
    Another trick I found was to use the matte Envy as a top coat, it makes your nails look like lollies, and will probably go well towards the 3D nail art trend.
    Xxx

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  20. I live in Aus, and am lucky enough to have many retailers who stocked these products. I use Nail Envy by OPI in the matte and original mostly, but was told by the OPI nail tech (yep, you can actually get a mani at the counter and nail health info) that if you overuse the Nail Envy, it can strip your nail of its ability to be flexible under stress. Kind of like turning your proteins into a more calcified form, or the difference in green wood flexibility vs dead branches that will snap away easily.
    Having said that, I have always been thrilled with the results I got. I used to bite my nails and barely had any, my cuticles were really overgrown. I tried just pushing them back, and taking vitamins to strengthen my nails, but to no avail; my nails barely grew before they broke or split. After using Envy, I now have to file back those nails each week because of their length!
    Another trick I found was to use the matte Envy as a top coat, it makes your nails look like lollies, and will probably go well towards the 3D nail art trend.
    Xxx

    ReplyDelete
  21. I live in Aus, and am lucky enough to have many retailers who stocked these products. I use Nail Envy by OPI in the matte and original mostly, but was told by the OPI nail tech (yep, you can actually get a mani at the counter and nail health info) that if you overuse the Nail Envy, it can strip your nail of its ability to be flexible under stress. Kind of like turning your proteins into a more calcified form, or the difference in green wood flexibility vs dead branches that will snap away easily.
    Having said that, I have always been thrilled with the results I got. I used to bite my nails and barely had any, my cuticles were really overgrown. I tried just pushing them back, and taking vitamins to strengthen my nails, but to no avail; my nails barely grew before they broke or split. After using Envy, I now have to file back those nails each week because of their length!
    Another trick I found was to use the matte Envy as a top coat, it makes your nails look like lollies, and will probably go well towards the 3D nail art trend.
    Xxx

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  22. I use Nails Inc Caviar top coat and I love it. It dries sooo fast and is really shiny! I find that it almost seals the nail polish layers in, so that even if your other coats of nail polish arent 100% dry, this acts as a seal and dries them. It's the best top coat I have ever used. It's a bit pricey but well worth it. I bought it off Amazon.

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  23. I use Nails Inc Caviar top coat and I love it. It dries sooo fast and is really shiny! I find that it almost seals the nail polish layers in, so that even if your other coats of nail polish arent 100% dry, this acts as a seal and dries them. It's the best top coat I have ever used. It's a bit pricey but well worth it. I bought it off Amazon.

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  24. I really, really hope they start selling Essence Better Than Gel Nails elsewhere too! I want it here in Canada! I love OPI Nail Envy too, so pricy but so worth it!

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  25. Hi, they do Essence here in Ireland, in most pharmacies and Penney's (Primark). It's a pain they don't do it there. I'm addicted to their stuff.

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  26. Hi:) I live in the uk and found the sally hansen cuticle eraser and balm in asda today. Its £9.something. only place ive ever seen it, so pickef some up to try.

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  27. Hi i live in germany and i only use the topcoat from essence...cause it dries so fast
    for care i use lush lemony flutter
    and for my nails i use sally hansen maximum growth....because i'm ex nail biter and 42 yrs old...and then the nails don't grow so fast anymore :(....it helps a little hahaha
    and i wanna start taking biotine cause my skin is bad(outbreaks on daily basis and dry) and my hair is falling out
    guess that comes with age ;)

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  28. I just bought Nail Envy and was getting kind of panicked at the idea of not being able to wear polish for weeks while I followed the "apply 2 coats, and another coat every other day" rule... so when I read that you managed to see the effects even though you just used it as a regular base coat... needless to say that lifted my spirits!

    Thanks!

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  29. Found something you could add to your shopping references for UK for the cuticle balm and remover :) https://www.google.co.uk/#q=sally+hansen+cuticle+remover+and+balm&tbm=shop hope this is ok

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  30. Great blog post. i like to read about others favourites when it comes to nail care products.

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