November 16, 2012

Friday Favorites #1: Manicure Basics

Hi guys, TGIF! Today I'm starting a new series on the blog called Friday Favorites. I've been toying with idea for a while, this will not be a weekly thing but more like a when I have time thing. Hope you enjoy!

For this first installment of Friday Favorites I'm sharing my manicure basics. The three things I get asked the most are 1. How do you paint your nails so neat? 2. How do you get your cuticles looking nice? and 3. What products do you use on your nails?. I have a whole video and whatnot planned for #1 so that will happen sometime in the future but for now I thought I'd tackle the other 2 questions in this first Friday Favorites post!



To see all my favorite products click the read more button below!


Small disclaimer before I get into this. Everyone's body chemistry is different, something that is a holy grail item for me may work horribly on you and vice versa!

When I am giving myself a proper manicure the first thing I do is file my nails. I prefer to file with prior to removing whatever polish I have on my nails, it makes it easier to make sure my nails are straight. If you want some great tutorials for shaping and properly filing your nails please check out Loodie's blog here, her tutorials are seriously fantastic!

I prefer glass files, my favorite is from Sephora (pictured below). I have to mention that Sephora just recently changed their files, the new version of this sucks in my opinion....they changed the grit and I am not a fan. Luckily I have 5 of the old version on their way to me thanks to Jess from Polish Insomniac. Anyway, I really love glass files because the grit is super fine, it's easy to take off length quickly if I want to. They also do not dull and last pretty much forever, to clean them you just wash them off! Glass files are also great at helping peeling nails, I used to have peelies on my right hand but when I switched to using a glass file they went away!



My next step is removing my old polish, I have a couple favorite removers. My #1 favorite remover is OPI Expert Touch. I buy it in the giant bottle pictured below from a local nail supply shop...I can't even tell you guys how many of these I've gone through! I believe you can also buy it in these large bottles on etailers like Transdesign (at least you used to be able to!)



Another favorite is Zoya Remove+, I don't really buy it often since it can be expensive compared to what I pay for OPI's remover. I do however LOVE their big flipper bottle which is pictured below. Once I run out of Remove+ I refill the bottle with my OPI remover.



To remove my polish I use Salon Rounds from CVS. This is just my preference, cotton balls work just fine too! They have rounds very similar to these at Sally Beauty Supply, I think the brand is called Hands Down.



After I remove my polish I tackle my cuticles. Cuticles are a pain in the rear, for a long time mine looked awful. My best advice for getting yours in shape if they are looking raggedy is to moisturize them like your life depends on it, more on what I use for that later though! My first step in taming my cuticles is pushing them back & removing them. I remove and push mine back once a week, you could do that more often if you needed to.

My favorite cuticle remover is Sally Hansen, pictured below. I do 1 nail at a time by applying the cuticle remover to the cuticle, then I gently push back the dead skin with an orange stick to remove it. I do not cut my cuticles, ever. Unless you are a nail tech and know what you're doing please don't cut yours...if you don't know what you're doing it could lead to infections and the like, we don't want that!


I use 2 different types of orange sticks (side note: why are they called orange sticks? they aren't orange). The first is long and has 2 flat sides that can be used to push the cuticle back. I think I got these at a local supply shop. The second kind is flat on 1 side and pointy on the other, I get them at Target!


After I'm done with all my cuticles I wash my hands and apply cuticle balm. I've tried tons of cuticle oils and they just aren't my cup of tea so I have no recommendations for those, sorry! My favorite cuticle balm is Lush Lemony Flutter. This stuff is seriously a god send for me, like it legit changed my life when I started using it. I know some people find the scent a little over powering but I like it! I've tried other balms (burt's bee's, badger balm etc...) but this will always be my favorite, it's creamy and ultra moisturizing...I've yet to find anything that works as well for me.




Next up I finally start painting my nails! Before I apply any treatment or base coat to my nails I put a little bit of acetone on one of my salon rounds and run it over each nail, this helps to remove and oils, dirt and cuticle balm on the nail which will help your manicure last longer!

I don't always use treatments on my nails, it just depends on if I feel like I need them. Sometimes, especially when it starts getting cold out, my nails start to feel a little dry and brittle. When they feel that way I use Feed Me from Essie, you can find this as Target! Feed Me is a hydrating treatment, I love it!



Another treatment that I don't actually use anymore but wanted to share because it's fantastic is Nailtiques. I used to use Formula 2, but there are a few other formulas that help with different nail issues, you can read about them here. In case you didn't know I used to bite my nails, when I finally kicked the habit my nails were in terrible shape. Nailtiques was great for making my nails strong so that they could actually grow out and become healthy. My nails are pretty healthy now so I don't use this anymore but if you have issues I would definitely give this product a shot, make sure you are using the right formula!



Onto Base Coats, I have tried about a million of them. For the most part I'm not too picky about base coats. There are a couple however that I really dislike like Orly Bonder which gave me peelies and OPI's Start To Finish which made my polish peel off (these might be amazing for you but for me they just don't work). CND hands down makes my favorite base coats! I really love CND Stickey and CND Toughen Up, pictured below is only Toughen Up...I'm fresh out of Stickey at the moment! I go back and forth between these 2 but Stickey is my favorite!



Another favorite base coat is Nubar Foundation, this can be a little hard to find unless you want to order online but I love it. My polish always wears like iron when I use this as my base, when I want a manicure to last until I'm good and ready to take it off this is what I use!



Top coats, I bet people are expecting me to say Seche Vite but nope...that was a favorite for a long time but I got sick of thinning it and having my polish shrink so I don't buy it anymore. I pretty much only use quick dry top coats, I don't have the time or patience for something that doesn't dry quickly. I have 3 favorites that I switch between, they are Sally Hansen Insta Dri, Cult Nails Wicked Fast and CND Air Dry. All 3 are great, I can't say I like any 1 more than the other however I have noticed that my Sally Hansen can get a little goopy about half way through the bottle which I haven't noticed with the Cult Nails or CND top coats.



After I'm done with my manicure I clean up any bits of polish that I've gotten on my cuticles or skin. I use an angled eyeliner brush from Target, I think this is about $2 or so. I put some acetone into the little pink container I got at a local nail supply shop and dip the brush into it then run it along my cuticle wherever I need to clean up. There is a great tutorial for how to do this on Polish or Perish, this is how I learned how to clean up my cuticles back when it was on the MeganChair blog ages ago.




Last but not least, lotions. I am a lotionaholic...I have a bazillion of them. I moisturize my hands a lot, it's the best way I've found for keeping my cuticles in good shape...moisturized cuticles = happy cuticles! I'm really not picky with lotion, if it smells good I will use it...however I do have 2 favorites.

Favorite number #1 is OPI Avojuice. I like OPI's Avojuice line because I feel like it hydrates well but it doesn't leave my hands feeling greasy. I have a bottle on my desk at work and when other people use it they always comment on how soft their hands feel after they rub it in. My personal favorite scent is Vanilla Snowflake, I hoarded it last year since it's a holiday scent and I'm about half way though my last bottle...which means I need to go haul a couple more since it's out again! Pictured below is a small version of the Avojuice lotions, I carry this one in my purse!



My other favorite is Soap & Glory Hand Food, I found this at Sephora. I like this lotion because it's a bit thicker, I use this a lot when I'm swatching polishes. It's a little greasier than Avojuice but it sinks in quickly and I feel like the moisture I get from it lasts, if that makes any sense.


Hope you all enjoyed this first installment of Friday Favorites, if there is anything you want to see in future posts like this let me know in the comments!

69 comments:

  1. OMG!!!! The thought of you doing a Vlog fills me with glee!!!! You're our fave blogger here in the office and use your swatches to see if we will buy polishes, we have often wondered....Are they real!? LOL hurry up and do this video!!! :) xx

    www.nailtheday.blogspot.co.uk
    www.instagram.com/nailtheday

    ReplyDelete
  2. Excellent post, thank you! :) And the sticks are called orange sticks because they're often made of orange wood :) I tried using Lush Lemony Flutter but OMG I just can't put up with the smell :/

    ReplyDelete
  3. PS: I was too excited after I saw this to actually read it and we have very similar products, I swear by the Sally cuticle remover its amazing! I have to import it as we don't have it here in the UK :-( Lush Lemony flutter is a MUST! Soap & Glory Hand Food, is my fave hand cream ever! So happy you started this blog! WOOP WOOP!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Orange sticks are made from orangewood, which has a bit of a carrot stain color.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Awesome post! I would also like to mention that you can buy the big jug of OPI Expert Wear from Amazon, and probably most of the other stuff in your post too. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Great post, I've not tried the OPI lotion yet but am very tempted :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great post! Some of these products are familiar to me, but a lot are new.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Great post! I can't wait for the video and more post like theae to come.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Great tips! Have your tried NYC Grand Central Station yet? For $2, I think it can't be beat and it dries so fast for me!

    ReplyDelete
  10. loooooooooovveee this post! so informative and helpful. thank you!!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I've been using Orly Bonder for some months now and have noticed that my nails have been drier. I just never made the connection! I have just started using Essie Protien Base Coat to get them healthy again. I may have to leave the Orly Bonder alone and switch back to my OPI Natural Nails Base Coat- which I actually really love.

    ReplyDelete
  12. That was really good advice.. i have recently managed to stop biting my nails and everything is in a state... will be going to have a try of the Lush cuticle balm and see if that can fix any problems! x

    ReplyDelete
  13. It's on my list to try but I can't seem to find it around here :(

    ReplyDelete
  14. ha! So there is a reason, thank you for that tidbit of info!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Kat Hooked On PolishNovember 16, 2012 at 7:55 AM

    I love these kinds of posts! It's so weird how something can be fantastic for one and horrible for another. Definitely most excited about the video, can't wait!



    Nailtiques Formula 2 is what stopped my peelies too. I'm terrified of them coming back though so right now I'm using Formula 1 which is supposed to keep nails healthy and flexible. I'm also on my 2nd bottle of Feed Me thanks to your recommendation a while ago.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Good post, great overview of basics!

    I wanted to ask if the Essie Feed Me treatment is a base coat, and if it works well as such? I use Essie's All In One Base, but that's just a regular base coat with no treatment. I LOVE IT though! It applies very thinly and dried very quickly, and it's super rough/sticky so the mani really holds for a long time. I'm wondering if the treatments would do the same thing? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Super helpful, thank you so much. I'm also an avid nail biter and I'm trying to stop by wearing polish. Can't wait to read your tips on painting perfectly.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I love your blog! I was actually looking up cuticle removers when I came across this post. Keep these posts coming please!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I've never used it as a base coat also but I don't see why it wouldn't!

    ReplyDelete
  20. This is a fantastic post, thank you for sharing your manicure tips. This post was very timely because I've recently decided to start doing my own self manis and pedis at home, and I needed some advise on which products work best and how to tackle cuticles. Thanks again!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Makes sense! My idea was that maybe the angled side was good for peeling citrus?? =P

    ReplyDelete
  22. I love posts like this! I love getting to see what people use after trying so many options, and hearing a little mini-review. It's funny because I was just thinking that I *need* to get my own "what I use" post done and there are several in my feed today!

    ReplyDelete
  23. JUST FYI; THEY'RE ACTUALLY ORANGE WOOD STICKS, BECAUSE THEY ARE MADE OF - YOU GUESSED IT - WOOD FROM ORANGE TREES. DON'T KNOW WHY ORANGE WOOD IS BETTER THAN ANY OTHER FOR THIS PURPOSE.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Have you ever tried those spray-drying things that they usually have next to the nail polish area? It's in a red spray bottle, I can't think of the name at the moment. It's an insta-dry kind of thing.

    ReplyDelete
  25. This is fantastic!! Thank you for doing this. It was a huge help for me (I'm taking notes). But I do have one question: I know you listed your fave top coats for drying time, but what ones do you love for shine? I can't seem to find one that I even like that has a shine that lasts - outside of using my gel top coat and that is a BEEEYOTCH to take off.

    ReplyDelete
  26. This was sooo interesting, I'm looking forwars to more friday favorites:)

    ReplyDelete
  27. All 3 of the ones I like are nice and shiny, at least I think so!

    ReplyDelete
  28. nope, never tried anything like that

    ReplyDelete
  29. Very good post. I've been using Burt's Bees lemon butter cuticle cream the past 6 months and it has made my cuticles virtually nonexistent. It is amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Thank you so much for the great tips! I have always used Seche Vite, but it's really starting to annoy me too! I may change to your suggestion. :~)

    ReplyDelete
  31. i loved this post! i love seeing what products people love for doing their nails and reading about the manicuring process. avojuice is my top favorite lotion too. i love it so much.

    ReplyDelete
  32. You don't like L'Occitane Shea Butter hand cream!?

    ReplyDelete
  33. I'm surprised to hear some bloggers say SV shrinks but I haven't seen that fortunately. Hmm. But oh my gosh, I recently got the Hand Food as a sample in an order from Sephora - God send. It's wonderful! :)

    ReplyDelete
  34. I LOVE nail care posts!!! This was great, thanks for sharing!!

    ReplyDelete
  35. I absolutely LOVED this post. I love knowing what products other people use that work well, especially the more expensive ones. I think we must have similar body chemistry because Essie Feed Me has done wonders for my nails and we use pretty much the same products! =)

    ReplyDelete
  36. Thank you so much for this very detailed and well put together (and probably time-consuming) post! I love the idea of the Friday Favorites, also.



    You have cleared up a good deal of my questions about nail care and your suggestions of products is something I will definitely study and use.



    Thanks again! BTW, I am a die hard fan of your blog---read it every day!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Never tried it :)

    ReplyDelete
  38. Because is very soft, and doesn't harm the skin ;)

    ReplyDelete
  39. You got a lot of stuff. The zoya remover is really good for glitter polishes. Its quite a bit more expensive than OPI but i love it

    ReplyDelete
  40. Great post! CND Air Dry is my new favorite top coat!

    ReplyDelete
  41. I love this post, so helpful, thank you! Looking forward to more like this!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Love this post! Thank u for all the tips!

    ReplyDelete
  43. Great post! I'm a fairly new polish wearer / old nail biter. Just curious....how often do you switch polishes on average? Also, I just received those awesome holiday polishes from the JulieG Holiday Collection. Can't wait to try some of the fun ideas you tried!

    ReplyDelete
  44. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  45. I usually do my nails a couple times a week!

    ReplyDelete
  46. Nina Margrete HaldrupNovember 17, 2012 at 1:36 AM

    This was a great post, I love it!

    ReplyDelete
  47. i've tried it! i find that it works pretty well, but i can't use that particular brand because the fragrance gives me a serious migraine. it's like they added perfume to it or something. i know there is an unscented formula, i think everyone should try it at some point :)

    ReplyDelete
  48. Very awesome post! I've had tons of problems with base coats and I want a new one but I'm tired of wasting $ on them. My OPI Hard as nails gave me peelies and the cheaper ones lift my entire nail polish off within hours of putting it on, so frustrating. Maybe I will invest again and try your favorites! Luckily my nails haven't been staining pretty much at all since I've gone without the base.
    Also Zoya's remover is my fav too, I wish it was cheaper!

    ReplyDelete
  49. You must! It'll change your life! If you like them on Facebook, they sometimes do giveaways.

    ReplyDelete
  50. thank you for a great post! I love your tip to use an eyeliner brush to clean up around the nail. I've been struggling with wrapping some cotton around an orange stick :-( but I have tons of old itty bitty eyeliner or lip brushes that I'll re-employ to clean up my nails...THANK YOU!

    ReplyDelete
  51. Thanks for posting! anxious for installment #2 =D

    ReplyDelete
  52. Thanks for sharing this, I always love reading about nail care. Personally, I'm a SV fan...I've tried a couple of other quick drying top coats, but the ones I have available to me, always smudge my nail art/stamps, except SV... Does that happen with the ones you use?

    ReplyDelete
  53. Thanks for the great post!
    After reading this I fished out my mini bottle of avojuice that I tossed in a pile of stuff to give away! I started using it and love it!
    Also, for you and any of your readers - I just went to my Sephora and the nail files you mentioned were on sale for $1!!! Also, they had eyeliner brushes for $1, so I picked one up to use for clean up!

    ReplyDelete
  54. If you like the Zoya Remover, try making your own version with acetone and glycerine. I found the 'recipe' on another blog, but can't remember which one. I just used a bottle of acetone remover form CVS, and glycerine (also from CVS) and a bit of filtered water to get them to combine. I noticed a big difference versus straight up acetone. It's also good for clean up since it isn't as drying.

    ReplyDelete
  55. So pleased to have found this post in my email! Great tips! Can't wait for more Friday favorites from one of our fave nail divas!

    Thanks much!

    Lisa

    ReplyDelete
  56. I loved this. Ready for next Friday's installment. Also, the link to the blog about how to clean up nails, THANK YOU.

    ReplyDelete
  57. This is so helpful, thanks for posting! :)

    ReplyDelete
  58. I really enjoyed this Manicure Basics post :) So many nail blogs don't really go over the basics - they expect you to know what they're talking about. I appreciated the photos and concise information, and have added quite a few of those products to my Amazon wishlist :) I look forward to Friday Favourites 2!

    ReplyDelete
  59. Love this post! I am always curious about bloggers favorite products because I know how often you swatch and what that does to your hands! I will be checking out the CND products next time I buy!

    ReplyDelete
  60. Maybe a silly Q, but how long do you wait between each layer of polish?? One of my biggest issues is those teeny little bubble from putting polish on before they underneath is totally dry. I try to wait...but unless I do base and layer-one in the am, then another layer and top-coat HOURS later, I get bubbles. Maybe my layers are too thick??? help! ty!!

    ReplyDelete
  61. I usually only wait a couple minutes. You could be having bubbling from too thick of coats, or maybe shaking the bottle right before application. It might also be your base/top coat. If doing thinner coats doesn't help I would try switching your top coat and see if that helps

    ReplyDelete
  62. love this - brilliant post. This will become a go-to for everybody xx

    ReplyDelete
  63. They're called orange sticks because they're made of wood from orange trees. I ordered some Stickey base after you recommended it, I'm really liking it so far and am pondering some OTD top coat, too. I already had the Sally Hansen you mentioned above, but I have problems with it bubbling...

    ReplyDelete
  64. Hi! I'm a nail tech and just wanted to let you know your bubbles might be coming from applying too thick of polish layers, not letting them dry adequately between layers (like you thought), your polish is too thick, or there's too much air in the polish before you start to paint your nails. If you shake your bottles to get the polish mixed up before you start that could be your problem. DON'T SHAKE the bottle, instead roll it gently between your palms for several seconds (turn it upside down once and roll also) and that will mix the polish without getting air formation which in turn causes bubbling on the nails. Hope this helps! :)

    ReplyDelete
  65. thank you for this! and thank you for linking that "clean up" post! both were great!

    ReplyDelete
  66. josiemuggenburgbelshanAugust 2, 2013 at 3:17 AM

    I never knew why they were called orange sticks either! Interesting!

    ReplyDelete
  67. josiemuggenburgbelshanAugust 2, 2013 at 3:20 AM

    Jen, thank you SO much for pointing me towards this post! I was trying to figure out why my polish was starting to lift, and I have been using Seche Vite as a top coat for some time. (I'll use Glitter Food and top it off with Seche Vite.) I think it's time to try CND or one of the others you listed. Nubar is a brand I know and love, a dear friend of mine was an executive there. I'll have to see if she's still connected. Thank you again for pointing me to this post, I greatly appreciate it!

    ReplyDelete

Please make sure you are commenting in DISQUS. If you can see this message you aren't which means I cannot reply to any questions you have.

Please do not leave links to your blog in my comments. If you would like me to check out your blog please email me using the contact button in the sidebar.

Related Posts

Related Posts with Thumbnails