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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

nail care 101

Nails get their fair share of attention on blogs, but it mostly in the form of polish. You know I love me a little nail polish, but it can be easy to forget about what's underneath the polish- the nails. Nails take a beating, especially when you're continually coating them in chemicals, glitter, sticky wraps.... the list goes on. I thought it might be a good idea to go over some of the items I use to keep my nails looking great- even when they're not polished.

I've called the post 'Nail Care 101' because it really is quite basic. You could totally do more, but I don't. As you can see, all of my items fit neatly into a B&BW candle jar- it ended up being the perfect way to store all of my bits in one spot.

There is one item that's not shown here- it lives in the bathroom- Biotin. I can't definitively say that it helps my nails but it is said to help in growing and maintaining healthy nails and hair as well as in metabolizing fats and carbs and keeping blood sugar regulated so it seems like a useful vitamin to take. It does seem like my nails are less prone to peeling than before I was taking it regularly. The pills are inexpensive and tiny, making them easy to take. I like these ones as the dose is big enough to only need one.

When it comes to cuticles I don't clip them, ever, and I don't tend to use cuticle removal products. I did once and it wasn't really for me. I tend to just push them back gently after a shower. Simple. I do however use products to keep them moisturized as I easily get dry cuticles and hang nails.

Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream... does it really need to be mentioned? If you don't use this, go get a tin. Right now. It's cheap, it smells great and it really works to soften dry cuticles. I use it the most, but from time to time- especially right after doing my nails- I use Julep Essential Cuticle Oil because it's a roll on and is super easy to use with wet nails.

The newest addition to my nail routine is something I didn't even know I needed but am now totally hooked on- Avon Nail Experts Cuticle Scrub. So, the pot is itty-bitty, but it's filled with a coconut-macadamia scented scrub that is pretty amazing. It's formulated with aloe vera extract, vitamin c and e, it not only scrubs away dry skin but it also treats. It leaves my cuticles looking and feeling great.

For a long time I passed nail treatments off, asuming that they wouldn't work, but I decided I might as well try one before completely poo-pooing them. You see, when I go for long periods of time without giving my nails a break they can be prone to peeling which isn't so great.

The first treatment I tried was China Glaze Calcium Gel Fortifier which is great because of it's lower price point but has a major downside in the fact that you are supposed to use it for four weeks and not apply nail polish over it. Ugh... It is an effective treatment if you can go that long with polish. I tend to get impatient, which is why I decided to try OPI Nail Envy as it can be used alone or as a base coat. I love this stuff! It took a few weeks before I noticed much difference but after some time I did find my nails were both stronger and the peeling stopped.

In the 'one pot wonder' category is Hoof Hard as Hoof. It's a cream that works to both fortify fragile nails and treat cuticles and dry skin. I haven't been using it long enough to know if it really does strengthen nails but it is quite hydrating, non-greasy and the cherry-almond scent is amazing.

 Straight Edge Nail Clippers | Standard Edge Nail Clippers | Mont Bleu Glass Nail Files*-Full Size $12.98 and Mini $10.38

Last but not least, tools. For clippers I use a standard style clipper for the most part, but from time to time do use a straight edge. They're usually sold as being for toes, but they do work for fingers as well. They allow you to get a fully straight edge with less filing. 

Speaking of filing... I never used to be much of a filer, mainly because the bulk of my experiences with filing didn't end so well. When I did find files I liked the were the Revlon Style Files (fancy name for emery board) which have the perfect grit and don't do as much damage as other files.

I had tried a glass file years ago- one that you were supposed to wet before use- but I never really got on with it and gave up on the idea. Since then glass files have gotten quite popular and it only made sense to try them again. I was sent glass files from Mont Bleu and have to say they've completely changed my view on filing my nails. It used to be something I did as little as possible because I usually made my nails look worse then better, but since using these, I've found there isn't anything to fear. The grit is light, but strong enough to easily shape nails. I don't know what it is that makes them so great, but I am really impressed. Aside from working really well, they're also super cute- I mean, just look at the Swarovski crystal clusters! I keep the mini one in my purse which has come to the rescue in nail emergencies many times. Overall they really are great files and the price is incredibly reasonable for what you're getting.

So there you have it, my nail care. It's fairly basic, but it works for me. Classes 102 and 103 will cover base coats and top coats as I seem to fall into the 'need to try them all' category. How do you care for your nails? Do you have any secret tips?

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