Tuesday, April 9, 2013

How We Take Care of Our Nails

Arden here!  Today, I'm going to walk you through the steps we follow to take care of our nails, and Lisl will break in whenever necessary to tell you guys what she does differently than me.  Obviously we paint our nails a lot, so it's pretty important to try to nourish our nails as much as possible.

***Full disclosure: neither of us are in any way trained in nail care, so don't take this as the absolute best thing you can do to care for you nails.  It's just what we do!***

First, I start my trimming and filing my nails.  I usually only do this once a week or so.

Nails freshly trimmed and filed.  I'd also just taken off some nail polish, which is why the skin around my nails looks so dry.
I know there are a lot of fancy nail files out there, but I just use a regular old orange one you can buy in packs from the drugstore.

No frills nail file.
[Lisl: I love, love, love the glass file that I got at my local beauty supply store.  It is by Swissco, you can get one here for a little over 7 dollars.  I also buff them about once every week or two with an foam buffer thingy (very precise language) from OPI.  I believe it is called the Smoother.  I try to avoid doing it too often because over time it weakens nails, but I am also crazy paranoid about my nails being ridgy, so there are times where I can't resist]

Next, if I'm really feeling luxurious and have bunches of time, I'll soak my hands in warm soapy water for 5 minutes.  This isn't really necessary, but it does help loosen cuticles.  [I have done this literally once in my life]

After soaking (or not), I apply CND Cuticle Eraser cream.  Don't let the name worry you, it doesn't really erase cuticles.  I think it mostly just softens them to help you push them back. 

I usually rub it into my cuticles and let it sit for a minute or two before attempting to push back my cuticles.

I use either a metal cuticle pusher or a wooden stick cuticle pusher.

I've ready some things online that have made it sound like the wooden ones are somehow better for your nails, but I've really never noticed the metal one damaging my nails in any way.  I guess if you use a metal one, just try not to push it so hard that it scrapes your nail bed?

Since I still have the CND cream on my nails when I use the pusher, I usually have the pusher help scoop it off my nails.  (It also can be good to have a tissue around to help wipe off any extra.)

[Lisl: I find pushing back my cuticles horrifying and fascinating at the same time, so I either fail to do it for a long time, or do it constantly while simultaneously being grossed out.  I don't always remember to push back before painting my nails, but I often just use the thumb of my opposite hand to push them back when I think of it at random points throughout the day]

Now, it's time to really moisturize the cuticles!  After I push them back, I apply Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream.  (A lot of companies make similar products, Burt's Bees was just the one I was able to find easiest at Target.  Plus, it smells great!)

I take a little bit and rub it into my cuticles, my nails, and the surrounding skin.  I'll use the Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream more than once a day sometimes-- I find that my manicures look better if the skin around them looks healthier.  So yes, you can also use it once your nails are painted!

I should stop now and tell you that Lisl & I haven't really found that using any of these special cuticle products necessarily help us have much less visible cuticles.  Of everything I've done, I feel like the best way to have less noticeable cuticles is to moisturize them and push them back frequently (every 1 or 2 days).

[Lisl: I have a long rant, that I will spare you, about the fact that we are supposed to have "less visible cuticles" in the first place.  All I will say is DOWN WITH THE CUTICLE-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX. Also, I am obsessed with the J.R. Watkins Lemon Hand and Cuticle Salve below.]

Next up, I use hand cream.  I did a lot of online research trying to find a hand cream that nail bloggers recommended, and OPI Avojuice Skin Quenchers were the ones I kept seeing over and over again.  I didn't know which flavor to order, so I got a six pack of samplers off Amazon.  All of them smell really great!  These are two of my favorite: Cran & Berry, and Jasmine.

I try to use this several times a day.  I've also found that it is always better to apply it BEFORE you paint your nails, rather than after, so you don't accidently smudge your manicure (learned that the hard way!).

[I randomly just moisturize constantly.  Just all the time. If I see a lotion, I put it on my hands]

The last thing I do before I paint my nails is use a buffer.  After putting all those products on your hands, your nails can be quite slick!  And nail polish sticks best to a surface with a bit of friction.  So rather than use all sides of the buffer (which gets your nails really smooth and shiny) I just use the first, most rough buffing surface.  (DON'T use any surface intended to file your nails as a buffer.  That hurts!)  By just using that first, more rough surface, I find that my nails have a bit of texture to them so nail polish can adhere better.  If I wasn't going to paint my nails, though, I'd use all of the buffing surfaces to give my nails a good shine.

And that's it!  The next step is polishing, which I think we might cover in a future blog post, once we've gotten better at applying polish ourselves.  (As you can tell from basically any picture I post in the middle of a manicure, I'm pretty messy with my polish right now and always have to do a lot of clean-up to my cuticles afterward.)

Let us know if you have any questions!

1 comment:

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