Today I thought I’d share my nail care routines with you and show you some of the products I use. Earlier this year I removed my gel nails and grew back my natural nails. I’ve also done a lot of reading at NailCareHQ.com and found some very useful articles.
Winter and cold weather brings a little more challenge to keeping your nails in a good condition. Also being a mother of three and having a 3 month old baby is not easy on your nails. So I have my work cut out for me when it comes to nail care. The most important tip I can give you is moisturize, moisturize, moisturize and always keep your nails polished. Invest in a good nail oil and always apply at least a base coat to protect your nails after moisturizing them well.
This is gonna be a looooong post so you might wanna grab a soda, maybe something to eat and get comfortable :P
So here we go, let’s start from removing the old manicure and go step by step from there.
I use nail polish remover with acetone in it. It removes the polish quick and easy and doesn’t seem to harm my nails. I used to think that acetone made my nails peel and for the longest time I used acetone free nail polish removers. Now that I have found the right products and ways to take care of my nails, acetone doesn’t seem to do anything but remove the nail polish faster. I actually think that acetone free remover does more damage cos it takes longer to remove the nail polish and you’ll be using more product to get all of the old nail polish off. The longer it takes, the more your nails dry, even if there isn’t acetone in your remover.
After removing the old manicure I clean under my nails with an orange wood stick and I wash my hands. About once a week I apply cuticle remover. I like to use Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover and also Kinetics Cuticle Remover works well for me. These two are quite strong and I use them one hand at a time to prevent damage/irritation to my skin. I apply a very small amount of the cuticle remover and push my cuticles back with orange wood stick. I rinse my fingertips immediately after and then I do the other hand the same way. After I’m done with that I wash my hands.
Right now the cold weather and constant hand washing is drying my cuticles more than usual so I find those two cuticle removers a bit too drying for me. I got to test Sally Hansen Cuticle Eraser + Balm and that works great. It removes the cuticles without drying and seems to be very moisturizing. Only downside is that it leaves your skin feeling really greasy and it’s hard to wash off. Though I still use it since it doesn’t seem to dry my cuticles at all and it gets the job done. I think this is meant to be left on your skin but I don’t like the greasy feeling so I just use enough soap to get it off.
After removing the nail polish and using the cuticle remover I let my nails dry for a bit and then file them in shape if needed. I always use a good quality glass file to shorten and shape my nails. I quickly rinse the filing dust of my hands and apply a generous amount of nail oil. I swear on Bliss Kiss Pure Nail Oil. It is THE BEST nail oil I have ever tried! I rub the oil on my cuticles and nails and also apply some of it under the tips of my nails. I keep massaging the oil in for a bit and also gently push my cuticles back. I usually take at least 30 minutes to really moisturize my nails. During this time I don’t wash my hands or let my nails touch water. After my nails have absorbed all the oil they can I wipe the nails with a cleaner I also use while doing gel nails. This removes the extra oil and prepares my nails for a nail treatment and polish. I also wipe the oil off from under my nails.
So now it’s time to paint my nails. Finding the nail treatment and base coats that work for you is an important step. Most nail strengtheners cause my nails to break and peel so they are out of the question. For my taste nail treatments don’t provide enough protection from staining so I’ve started to use a combo of nail treatment and base coat.
For a bit now I’ve only been using Sally Hansen Nail Rehab as my treatment. It’s meant for severely damaged nails and instead of damaged, my nails are in a perfect condition right now. It still works like a charm though. It doesn’t cause drying or peeling and the polish doesn’t chip faster than usual when using this treatment. I also tried Duri Rejuvacote when my nails were in a poor condition and it made them worse by causing drying and breaking. For a bit I tested Essie Fill The Gap and I quite liked it at first but after a while it started to cause the nail tips to dry just a bit so I switched back to Sally Hansen.
When I apply Nail Rehab I wrap it around the tips and carefully apply one or two coats under my nails too. This is a trick I learned from NailCareHQ and it truly works. Applying base coat under my nails protects them from water and the damage it can make. The base coat seals the oil and moisture into my nails. Doing this has been the final step to stop my tips from drying and peeling. When I remove the nail polish there’s absolutely no dryness on my tips and no signs of peeling.
After applying a coat of nail treatment on all my nails it’s safe to wash my hands again or I can continue straight to doing my manicure.
The base coat of my choice is Glisten & Glow Stuck On Blu!. It keeps my nails from staining and cos it dries sticky it provides a great base for most of the nail polishes. I apply a coat of Stuck On Blu! and let it dry for a couple of minutes, then move on to the polish.
I usually paint 2 – 3 coats of polish. Depending on the polish, I let the coats dry for a bit in between applications. I then clean up my cuticles where needed with a brush and nail polish remover or acetone. At last I apply a fast drying top coat. I’ve been using Glisten & Glow HK Girl for almost two years now and it’s still my favorite. Dries fast and leaves your nails super shiny.
I prefer not to leave the house without nail polish cos it provides some protection and extra strength to my nails. You know how deadly simple things like car door handles and seat belts can be to your nails. So I like to have every little bit of help I can before taking them on.
As a mother of three I’m usually in a hurry too and it’s really rare for me that I can paint the nails on both of my hands in one sitting. So I usually paint my left hand nails and wait till they are completely dry and then paint my right hand nails. This way I always have at least one hand to use safely. Though I have to say I’ve gotten pretty good at getting a lot done while my nails are wet too :D
The manicure is done and your nails are protected but the work never ends ;) Now it’s time to talk about moisturizing (again). Nails and cuticles aren’t the only ones needing some TLC. Your hands also need daily care and moisturizing.
Have you ever count how many times a day you wash your hands? It’s a lot! Add in cold weather, having a baby and cooking for a big family and the mess is done. Just while being in a kitchen I might wash or rinse my hands a dozen times a day on top of everything else like showering. My skin also dries really easily, especially during winter. It gets so dry it can crack and bleed. So I need to moisturize my hands religiously or they start feeling like sandpaper.
My favorite winter time hand lotion is The Body Shop Hemp Hand Protector and LUSH Lemony Flutter combo. But now I have a young baby and strong, smelly lotions are out of the question. So I’ve been trying to find good ones to replace those two for now. At the moment I need a lotion that absorbs very quickly and is scent free or very mildly scented. I find Philosophy Hands of Hope to be very good for daily use. It leaves my skin silky smooth and it absorbs very quickly. Perfect for daytime use.
I also found out that a lotion meant for baby’s skin is perfect for my hands. I was moisturizing my little boy’s legs with it and noticed it left my hands incredibly soft so I started using it as a hand cream too. I think this one is only sold in Finland though. This lotion is now my go-to night time lotion with a generous amount of Bliss Kiss Pure Nail Oil rubbed on my hands and cuticles.
I have another non-scented lotion that I use in between of hand washes. This one is also only sold in Finland as far as I know.
So there it is, my hand and nail care routine. At last I have to mention that to keep your skin and nails in a good condition you also need to drink enough of water and eat healthy. I also take a biotin supplement. Mostly cos I’m suffering from postpartum hair loss and I hope that this will help my hair grow back faster. It also doesn’t hurt my nails.