Monday, June 9, 2014

Nail Prep 101

Hey everyone! Today I'm sharing with you my current nail care/prep routine. A lot of people ask me how I make my manicures last for so long (We're talking anywhere from four days to over a week!) Here are the steps I use and recommend for achieving long lasting manicures!

Step one: Remove your nail polish if you are wearing any. I have been loving Zoya Remove lately!

Step two: Cut your nails if desired. I skipped this today because I'm happy with my current length. When you cut your nails don't feel obligated to make the shape square like they do at the salon. I actually prefer the squoval shape. Dare yourself to try something new!

Step three: File your nails. For this I strongly recommend using a glass nail file and ALWAYS file in one direction! This will prevent any jagged edges. I started using a glass file from Sephora a few weeks ago and I have seen an amazing improvement in the strength of my nails. Plus you can rinse these files under warm water and they're as good as new!

Step four: Use an orange stick, or some other sort of cuticle pusher, and gently push back your cuticles and clean under your nails. If your cuticles need a little encouragement, soak your hands in warm water to soften them up. DO NOT cut your cuticles! They are there for a reason, which is to protect you from all sorts of bacteria that can lead to infection.

I pick these up from the drugstore for a couple bucks and they work great!

Step five: Buff your nails. I have one of these four step buffers that tell you the order to go in. The first step is always file, and we've already done that with our glass file. The second step helps to smooth out ridges in your nails. The third step is buffing even further. For both of these steps use a gentle side-to-side motion on your nails. The final step is to polish and shine. If you really take the time to do this your nails will look like you've just put on a coat of clear polish! This is a great tool for those of you who may not be able to wear any polish for work or other reasons, but still want your nails to look fresh and healthy.

Step six: Swipe your nails one last time with nail polish remover to remove any excess oil and then apply your base coat. I have naturally weak nails, so for the past couple of months I've been using OPI Nail Envy and it has really worked wonders on my nails. Lately I've been switching back and forth between that and the Formula X for Sephora base. Sometimes I like to take a break from using polish so I'll just apply two coats of Nail Envy and reapply every other day for a week. If I'm applying color, as I did today, I just use one coat of my base and make sure to wrap my tips. This means that I apply a thin layer of the base coat to my nail and then run the brush along the tip and a little bit underneath the nail. This greatly increases the wear time of your manicure!

Step seven: Apply polish of your choice. For my mani I chose Zoya Faye, which is described by Zoya's website as "a bronzed mauve with purple and brown undertones flooded with bright gold sparkle." This color is absolutely gorgeous and can be worn in any season. This is one of those .colors that looks just as beautiful on your nails as it does in the bottle! I used two thin coats of this, making sure to wrap the tips of my nails on the first coat. Make sure you let the first coat dry before putting on the second.

Step seven and a half: I consider this to be half a step because not everyone will need to do a lot of clean up, but I admit that sometimes I do get polish on my cuticles when using my non-dominant hand. Taking a little extra time to clean up your cuticles will make your manicure look professional. I use a combination of q-tips and this $1 concealer brush from elf. I just dip it in nail polish remover and carefully clean around my cuticles.

Step eight: Apply your top coat once your color has dried completely. I have searched for a long time for the perfect top coat and found my HG (holy grail) a few months ago. It is the Sally Hansen Insta-Dri and at around $4.00 per bottle I will be buying this stuff again and again. Once again make sure you wrap the tips of each nail as you apply your top coat.

Step nine (going the extra mile): Cuticle oil/cream & hand cream. This step is completely optional, but if you're like me and your cuticles tend to get dried out or you get hang nails (especially in the winter) I suggest you give this step a try. I always put on cuticle oil after my manicure has dried because my cuticles usually get dried out from the nail polish remover. I also like to use the cuticle cream or oil before bed. I take the time to massage it in because it improves circulation and actually stimulates healthy new nail growth! I like to use Julep Essential Cuticle Oil, Rainbow Honey Cuticle Oil, or Sally Hansen Cuticle Eraser & Balm. I also use hand cream constantly to keep my skin hydrated! My all time favorite is the Ahava Deadsea Water Mineral Hand Cream.

Step ten: Take a look at your beautiful manicure that you did at home, post a pic of it on Instagram, and show it off to everyone you know! You earned your bragging rights ;)


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