Friday, 4 May 2012

My Manicure Essentials

Anyone that knows me, knows that I love to have perfect nails at all times if I can help it! I'm painting my nails at least once a week, and gosh forbid if I get a chip before I have time to repaint my nails it stresses me out until it's fixed. Haha. Perhaps a bit of an exaggeration, but I do like having neat nails! Don't we all?

Today I thought I'd give a run down of the tools I use to keep my nails nice and neat, and I've pictured pretty much everything I use above.

Personally I have quite strong nails that grow rather quickly, so I'm pretty lucky in that sense, and I don't bite my nails at all, so the only time they get maintenance is when I sit down and do my nails. I work in an office so they're not really under much duress on a daily basis, and I wear gloves when I wash the dishes (but that's mostly because I hate having wrinkly hands! Haha), and am constantly using hand cream to try to keep my hands nice and hydrated.

The first thing I usually do when I change my nails for the week is remove the old nail polish. I am not fussy when it comes to nail polish remover really, as long as it works it's fine by me. This time I picked up a Sally Hansen 'Strengthening' nail polish remover for about $5 in Priceline, and it's been quite good - if you have weak nails it might be worth taking note on little things like picking something like this to help strengthen your nails from the get go. I use this with Swisspers round make-up pads to remove the nail polish, you can obviously use any cotton pads/cotton balls, but I find these really stay together well without the cotton coming apart and sticking to your nails - unless you're removing glitter, and that's another story altogether! Try to be gentle and patient when removing your nail polish, or you may rip up the surface of your nails, not fun.

Once they're clean I will cut and shape my nails. I use nail clippers usually as it's easy to get a nice straight or round starting place for the shape of your nails with these. Make sure they're sharp or they may just bend your nail instead of cutting it cleanly. Mine are Revlon clippers and I've had them for well over a year now and they're still great. I can use them on my toes too. I have a good pair of Manicare nail scissors for when I want to round them off even further. I've had these for over a year now too and they're still extremely sharp, worth paying a little extra for good quality with these tools as you'll generally have a better product that will last longer.

I don't use my nail clippers or scissors every time I paint my nails, sometimes I can get away with just using the nail file to shape my nails if I've cut them really short the time before. I got the Sally Hansen nail file pictured above in a Beauty Box ages ago, I think it was a Glossybox, and before this I had always just used those cheap ones you can get in a 10 or 20 pack. I must say, having a proper nail file has improved the shape of my nails tenfold. I can now have nice flat nails in a few seconds, and shaping them round is so easy too. I need to buy a new one as you can tell by the photo, but this has lasted me around 6 months and they're only about $5, which is what you would pay for the smaller thing nail files in bulk anyway. I do keep one of those kind in my hand bag at all times though, good for touch ups if you pull your nail etc. because they're smaller.

Last but not least - Base and Top Coat! If you're not using a base coat especially before putting on your nail polish colour, you really should start now. Base coats are necessary for promoting healthier nails, and ensuring easier application of your nail colour. They help your nail polish last longer, stop any staining that some nail polishes can leave on your nail (I'm still growing out a stain on my nails currently, because I forgot my base coat one time, once!), and can include nutrients needed to help your nails grow stronger. I'm so glad I've added a base coat into my nail routine. It only takes a few extra seconds and the benefits are enormous. I am using an Essie 3 way glaze at the moment, but I will soon be searching for a base coat specific nail polish because the all in one nail polishes can sometimes not be as good for the nails. 

After the base coat I will paint my nails with whatever colour I feel like for the day, then finish with a top coat. Top coat is not really essential, but since I've gotten a good top coat nail polish - Seche Vite (which I will review soon) - I never want to go without it! It leaves your nails perfectly shiny, makes the manicure stronger overall, and a lot of them have faster drying properties to set your manicure a LOT faster which is definitely what I love about mine most. Top coat nail polish can be skipped if you're going for a certain look with your nail polish, for example textured nails, or matte finish nail polishes, but probably 9/10 times I will use a top coat now. 

And that's it! I hope you're looking after your nails if you're keeping them polished every day! What's your nail routine?

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