Although I have pared down my collection of colors and don’t have polish on as much as I used to, my nail care routine is still an essential part of keeping myself feeling human as opposed to some cave-dwelling fiend.
Every week or two, I kick my nail care routine off by trimming and shaping my nails. I’m still using the clippers from the kit I shared in January 2015 and these super-inexpensive files from Sally Beauty that I shared this past February. They’re great! I taper the sides and round the edges ever so slightly.
You see all these super squared-off manicures constantly that look nice, but I’m like, “How are they not stabbing everything with the corners of their nails!?” Looks nice, but just like a two inch nail enhancement – not practical.
Care for your Cuticles
Don’t skip cuticle care in your nail care routine! You could have an amazing polish job, but ragged, dry cuticles will bring it down a few notches. Conversely, polish-free nails still look great when they’re shaped and have their cuticles cared-for.
For cuticle care, I slap on Sally Hansen Apricot Cream (shared January 2017) throughout the day. Once per week, I use a Sally Hansen gel to facilitate the removal of dead tissue where my eponychium meets my nail plate. An orangewood stick does just fine, but I like cuticle stones, these plastic pushers (I bought just one at Sally’s), or one of the heavy-duty stainless steel implements salons use. I hate using cuticle nippers for this; they tend to cause more problems than they solve. I do use them, however, to treat annoying hangnails.
Slap a hydrating cuticle treatment on afterwards. I use either the cream I mentioned above or Essie Apricot Oil. At this point, I’m not sure if I would repurchase the Essie product. I don’t dislike it but there are probably more cost-effective solutions out there.
Polish and Beyond
If polishing, I’ll use acetone or alcohol to clean up and slightly dehydrate my nails to prep for polish. After I polish (regardless of method), I apply cuticle oil (yes, again!) and enjoy the fruits of my labor.
If I’m skipping polish, I finish my nail care routine by giving my nails a good scrub with hand soap, then reapplying cuticle oil. In case it is relevant, my soap dispenser is currently filled with SimpleHuman Spring Water – I like it, but will probably just go back to Method; even though I bought it cheaper than Amazon has it for, Method is still cheaper and works just fine!
Nail Care Routine Maintenance
Usually, I can go two weeks before needing to trim and redo my cuticle work. In the meantime, I keep my cuticles from spontaneously bleeding all over my keyboard (yes, it really happened) by applying my cuticle cream at least once a day. I don’t use a crazy-fancy hand lotion, either; Skinfix (shared August 2016) is unscented and awesome.
If I break a nail, I file it smooth lest I lose my mind. Otherwise, I mostly let them be and enjoy a tidy manicure. If I lose my mind and get a shoddy manicure in a salon, however, I usually need to pay extra attention to my hands for the month after (aka defeating the purpose of a salon manicure). Boo.