I am one of those people that takes their nails very seriously. You will never catch me walking around with chipped nail polish which means I tend to re-paint my nails every 3-4 days. To some this might sound a bit excessive, but we all have our quirks, right? Today, I want to share my nail care routine as well as tricks and tips I’ve developed over the years of being a nail enthusiast. As always I will share my holy grail products for nail care and more importantly, where you can find them.
Prep Work – Unlike when you go to the salon, I don’t usually have have time to sit with my hands in a bowl of water when I’m doing my own manicure, so what I tend to do is take off my nail polish before stepping into the shower and letting the hot water do the job. As you might have noticed after a long hot shower – your cuticles and hangnails are super visible and that makes it the best time to get your cuticle nipper (or cutter) out and take care of them. It’s also because you are less likely to cut too deep – keep in mind that your cuticles are there to protect your nails from bacteria, so you need to find the right balance.
Let’s take a step back and talk about my nail polish remover. I’ve been using the same one for years because nothing even comes close and the remover I am talking about is none other than the Zoya Remove + 3-in-1 formula. This mild acetone formula leaves your nails looking cleaner and healthier and I’ve already converted several of my friends to it. It comes in a super convenient bottle with a pump so you can just put your cotton ball on top and a few pumps get you enough remover to take off an entire hands’ worth of polish. The bottle with the pump is about 8 oz and runs around $10 but what I have found is that eBay sells a 32 oz refill bottle for $15 so I just re-use the same pump bottle and refill it as I run out. This is the only nail polish remover I own because it takes care of glitter, red, black nail polish, you name it. When removing red nail polish, I tend to keep an extra cotton ball out to run it on my fingers after removing polish since I’m pretty sure the red bleeding everywhere is inevitable.
Time to Paint – Since I am a little obsessed with that fresh nail look (sorry 2000s chipped black nails fans), I re-paint my nails very often. So to save some time, I like to multi-task as much as possible. I call this my “me time” as I sit and catch up on my favorite YouTubers (Kathleen Lights, Jaclyn Hill, Valeria Lipovetsky to name a few) while I paint my nails. If you’re addicted to beauty YouTube videos like me, I would recommend doing this to make it extra relaxing and very productive.
Now let’s talk actual process. First, I file and shape my nails since I have already gone through the cuticle cutting process after my shower; bear in mind if you do your nails a couple times a week you do not need to cut your cuticles every time. Also, I use a pusher tool as well to push the cuticles and after doing countless research, the conclusion I’ve come to is that it’s not bad to do this to your nails so cuticle pushers, rejoice. Next, I take an alcohol swab and wipe down my nails. Why? Because oils on your nails and debris are part of the reason nail polish tends to chip quickly and if you wipe those off before you paint, you prolong how long your nail polish will last. Up next, the base coat, which I know you might be tempted to skip however you really shouldn’t. The base coat provides a barrier between your nails and the polish which will not only prevent your nails from getting ugly stains, it will also help your manicure stay longer. If you buy one product that I talk about today, it will be the holy grail base coat: Bonder by Orly. I have a friend who is even more obsessed with painting her nails (every other day believe it or not) and she has recommendations lined up at all times (Sonia, this one is for you). Not only does this top coat do an amazing job preventing staining but it also locks in your nail polish , prolonging its wear, and makes it much easier for you to remove your polish later (dark colors, glitter, you name it). You can pick this up at your local Ulta, Walgreens or online.
When it comes to the nail color itself, I drink the same Kool-Aid as everyone else in my love of OPI and Essie nail polish but that’s because quality speaks for itself. I love seeing all the new lines each brand comes out with and have expanded my nail polish collection to an impressive size. If you haven’t checked out the Essie Gel Couture line yet, I would recommend doing so. You get a shellac like effect without having to buy all the equipment and it’s a much longer lasting manicure. A plus of this line is that they have a wider brush for painting, which is something I always struggle with in the original line. Recently, I’ve really liked KL Polish, if you haven’t heard of the brand, check out the review I did a few months back.
Moving on to the final coat of polish, let’s talk top coats. For those of you who like to cut corners, don’t skip this step because it will usually make your nails dry faster than just applying the color polish alone. I’ve tried out probably over 10 top coats in the past few years and my favorites have to be the Out the Door fast drying topcoat ($6 with free shipping, can’t beat that) and the Essie Gel Couture Top Coat. The Out the Door topcoat has been one of my favorite nail discoveries of the last few years as this top coat dries in about a minute and works great for my nails. On the other hand, the Essie one makes my nails look super shiny and polished and lasts very long on the nails.
Last Steps – Last but not least, cuticle oil and hand cream seal the deal on the paint job. I recently got a new cuticle oil in my BeautyCon Summer 2017 box (Deco Miami is the brand) and have really been enjoying it. It has a very pleasant fragrance and comes in a little nail polish like bottle which makes it super easy to apply. As far as hand cream goes I have already talked about my favorite, nothing beats Hand Food by Soap&Glory. Best. Hand Cream. Ever. If you’re not into the scent of that one, I’ve also really been liking the H2O+ Beauty Specialty Care Nail and Hand Cream.
Now that we are done talking products, let’s talk tips and tricks. A rule of thumb to follow when waiting for your nail polish to dry is to wait at least 10 minutes before touching anything (this is where those YouTube videos come in – sit back, relax and watch while your nails dry) and 6 hours before you can put a lot of pressure on the polish. The latter of that rule is more important when it comes to pedicures – no closed toed shoes for that period unless you want to re-paint. When painting in general, follow the rule of starting in the middle and then going to the curves of the sides last. Also, this was touched on a bit before but remember – do not cut your cuticles more than once a week. They serve an important function and overcutting them can lead to infection as you’re getting rid of that protective barrier.
What do you that is different? I hope I was able to introduce you to some of your new holy grail nail polish products or at least enlighten you on a nail routine that’s different from yours and pitch some ideas. Let me know if you have nail products that you think I should check out and I will definitely do so! As always, thank you for reading and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram, Pinterest and like my Facebook page!