So, how do you start a nail blog? Well, at the beginning I suspect. So the beginning of nails is naked. Here are my naked nails today, 22 April 2019.
So my nails are fairly short at the moment which is a length I'm liking really - it's handy for typing (day job and all that) but also less inclined to break which is one of the things you really need to be careful of the most. My ring finger nail is just a tiny bit shorter than the rest but that'll resolve itself as they grow and I bring them all in line with each other. I'm a little bit of a perfectionist when it comes to things like this ... I can just about deal with the difference in length right now as I know it won't take long for them to come into more of a balanced length.
So I did my cuticle work last night in prep for painting my nails today. I use the Essie Cuticle Remover, the Essie Exfoliant Remover. I got this in a Mani and Lola box months ago and it's, by far, the best cuticle remover I've ever used. It works really quickly, takes off the cuticle skin so fast and leaves a nice clean look afterwards. It's also very good at removing colour when you're nails are stained from some polishes.. you know when you remove polish but there still seems to be a cast of the colour left? Rub this on, do your cuticles whilst you're at it, and remove and it'll take away that residue of colour left. It might not work on really mega stained nails but for simple residual colour, it's a dream.
I use a stainless steel cuticle remover that I got from ebay or Joom or one of those companies... cheap and cheerful but does the job. The bottom end, shown here, is used to push the cuticles back and I use the top end to get all the gunky bits out, and also scrape under my nails to make sure they're as clean as possible. Mind when you push, don't be vigourous - you need a firm hand but be careful, you are just trying to remove that very thin layer of skin that grows from the very base of your nail and it doesn't take an army to remove it so go slowly, don't damage your nails in the process. With good tools and good products, you won't need to attack the skin. If you haven't worked on your cuticles in forever, you will need to go slow and steady as it may be more of a job to remove than if you do it regularly. But that's ok, take your time and pamper yourself!
After I remove my cuticles, I go wash my hands in soap and warm water - I am still using my own hand made soap that I used to make when I ran my own business and, if you want get handmade soap, try it as your skin will thank you! I give my nails a good old scrub, underside as well and around the cuticles. Then I take my handmade scrub (details with follow in another post) and give myself a good old scrub with that... I adore the feeling of my skin when I do this. I rub it around the nail beds, trying to remove any discolouration and any dead skin that may still be hanging around. I rinse off everything and dry my hands thoroughly. I love the look of my nails at this point, all fresh and bright!
My final stage is cuticle oil and hand cream. I make my own cuticle oil in the main but I've also bought some in the past. Here is my own blend in the middle, and ones I purchased from a fabulous friend, Helen, who makes her own cuticles for sale to a group of like minded nail fiends! The nail polish bottle applicator is fab, you just brush it where you want and rub it in! Generally speaking, I don't buy mainstream brands. If you look at the ingredients of whatever you buy, go for oils like jojoba, macadamia, sweet almond, castor, meadowfoam etc, all of which will help to sort out dry skin around your nails. I put this on liberally and massage it in - yes, it's a little oily but so what, it's working wonders on your skin. Gently massage it in, this encourages healthy nail growth and can be very relaxing.
My go to handcream is actually a mainstream brand but I've found it just works great with my skin. Everyone is different so you do need to find what works for you. Bath and Body Works Shea Body Cream is the one I use - this particular fragrance is DIVINE! You can't buy them in the UK or Ireland (shame!) but I got a bunch when I was over in the US last Summer and I buy via a couple of Facebook groups as well - yes, it's probably more expensive, but it's a great great formula, smells ah-mazing, and really works with my skin. I also use it on my feet and it's been fantastic for them. I just basically massage it in until it's soaked in which is pretty quick but it leaves the skin so soft and supple but not sticky or greasy. Plus it smells SO GOOD!
So that's my general nail care routine and this is what I did last night to end up with the naked nails I currently have. So they're ready to paint and I'm wondering what colour to go with ... any thoughts???? I shall report back in the next post as my decision!
Feel free to drop me a comment if you like this post or want to add anything - I'd love to hear from you!
Celine aka The Lazy Lacquerist 💙