Sunday, 21 April 2013

Naked Nails... Eeeeek!

Recently I've been on the receiving end of lots of nail related questions, whether it's about how I achieve my designs (this is also answered with LOOK AT MY BLOG!), what brands I use (a variety, but Models Own is a firm favourite), and where I get my stuff from (I always find AmazonDirect Cosmetics and Nail Polish Direct reliable and extremely purse friendly). I'm also approached for general advice on nail queries, and although I am by no means a nail care professional, I think it's about time that I dedicate a post to the basics! 

I spend a good long while on each manicure I create: thinking up the design, picking out colours, making mistakes, swearing, removing it all and starting again, spilling nail varnish remover everywhere... You get the picture. Anyway, it takes bloody ages to achieve my most detailed stuff (Pastel ButterfliesChinese Porcelain and Big Cats, to name a few), and although I'm generally happy with the results and love receiving compliments, I feel no sense of sorrow when scrubbing back to a blank canvas for my next design. Removing one manicure just makes room for the next, and means I can spend some time pampering my hands and nails prior to the next round of nail art!
So before the nail varnish, paint brushes and glitter come out, these are the products I turn to. I use a Boots own nail polish remover which, despite being acetone based, is enriched with moisturising oil and stops my nails from drying out. I have to use this remover because acetone-free just doesn't seem to the job properly, especially with all the layering up of colours in some of my designs. 3 or 4 cotton wool pads tend to do the job for both hands, and are much easier to use than cotton balls!

Once my nails are free of nail varnish, I use my Sally Hansen Gel Cuticle Remover. I got this from Direct Cosmetics for an amazing £1.99 - it came with a double ended tool for pushing back and smoothing ridges, but since I don't tend to suffer from uneven nails, I stick to my little pink and white cuticle tool. I leave the gel on for a few minutes, then push back and neaten up any raggy bits. I then trim and file my nails (how cute is my zebra print glass nail file?!), and use the tweezers to clean beneath my nails (a bit gross, yes, but when you have long nails it can be a problem...)

When I'm happy with the shape of my nails and neatness of my nail beds, I wash the remaining cuticle gel off my hands, and start moisturising! Palmer's is one of my favourite brands and I swear by their products. As you can see, my Skin Therapy Oil is running out, but I've had it for a couple of months and use it every day. I think it was about £3.00 from Wilkinson's, so definitely a worthwhile buy. I rub it into my cuticles, and because it's a quick absorbing formula, it leaves my fingers feeling fresh and moisturised without any grease. I also use this oil for dry skin on my arms and legs, and it works like a charm :)

I don't always use a specific 'hand' cream, just any good moisturiser that I have lying around (there are quite a few, it's a bit of an addiction). I got the Palmer's butter in my Cosmopolitan freebie bag the other day (see here for details), and it was perfect timing since I've only just run out of my other bottle. It's so important to keep your hands moisturised, especially if, like me, you take A LOT of photos of your nails! Once my paws are smooth and soft, I finish off with a coat of Sally Hansen Age Correct Strength  Dry & Brittle Nail Care, which is also courtesy of Direct Cosmetics and was amazingly cheap. My nails aren't naturally strong, so I have to make sure I keep them topped up to avoid any breakages. I try to use this product a couple of times a week at least, and it's really making a difference. If you're prone to snaps and tears, give it a go!

Ok so I'm going to be really brave now and actually show you my bare nails... For some reason this feels really wrong, but at least it's proof that I only paint on my natural nails (I have been accused of falsies in the past!) Like anyone who wears nail varnish every day, they're slightly more yellow than I'd like, but overall they're in pretty good condition apart from a pesky cuticle or two!
I love spending time pampering my hands and getting my nails into good condition before the next manicure. But I must admit, the sight of naked nails makes me feel slightly uneasy, so it won't be long until my next design!
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