Over at the British nail bloggers Facebook page, we've started a series of questions to ask every 2 weeks. Here's the first installment!
My nail care routine differs depending on whether I'm sporting my natural nails or extensions. As you can probably tell, I'm currently on my natural nails, though this is set to change due to my upcoming holiday (do I mention that enough?). On a normal day I don't do all of this by any means, but I thought I'd share how I give myself a manicure once a week or so.
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1. I start by using a crystal nail file (not pictured) to do any necessary filing, usually just to neaten up any edges. I bought my nail file off ebay which I'm now regretting as just the other day it snapped in half (if you follow me on Twitter you'll have seen). I'll be investing in a decent one soon so any suggestions are welcome. I find a crystal/glass nail file is a little gentler on my natural nails.
2. Next I remove my nail polish with a mixture of acetone and glycerin in a handy pump bottle. I heard that this is a very similar solution to Zoya Remove and it's a lot less harsh than 100% acetone. I used the tutorial on Loodie Loodie Loodie to do this. I also like to use Bourjois acetone-free polish remover when I'm swatching as it's super quick.
3. I use a metal (shock, horror!) cuticle pusher to remove my cuticles and I also have a habit of pushing back my cuticles using a towel when I dry my hands thanks to Loodie!
4. I like to use ASP Prep 'n' Clean to remove any excess oils from my nail plate before applying a base coat.
5. I've recently discovered Orly Bonder base coat and it's the best thing since sliced bread for me. It really helps to keep my polish on for longer so I need to invest in a large bottle of this!
6. I clean up using a cheap nail art brush I bought from ebay, dipped in the acetone and glycerin mix. For stubborn clean ups I use pure acetone.
7. I then add a top coat from one of the five I currently own. It literally depends how I feel as to which I use. Seche Vite can shrink on me so I only really use that when swatching. Essence better than gel nails, Color Club top coat and NYC top coat are my favourites. I love NYC for how cheap it is and it drys super quick and shiny. OPI is a new addition which I'm yet to really test-drive.
8. After all is dry, I add a few drops of cuticle oil and moisturise those puppies. I use Lush Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter every day and tend to keep it on my desk at work. I've also recently discovered Sweet Almond Oil, which I really love for a non-greasy boost.
So there it is. Very long winded I know!
All of these things work for me, they may not work for you. I'm still trying new products and new methods to get my nails in tip top condition.