1. RemovalI begin with removing old nail polish and oils giving me a clean base, for years I've been using the Sally Hansen Moisturising Nail Polish Remover, I have since been introduced to Fresh Therapies Natural Nail Polish Remover Wipes via TheVeganKind Beauty Box, I have noticed if my nail polish is quite thick this may need some pressure and work to get the polish off completely but it's vegan and doesn't have a bad smell.
- I then do a brightening nail soak and give it a proper clean underneath with a nail brush
2. ShapeI keep my nails more squoval and square, I have quite short nail beds so it's better for me to keep them to a shape that's manageable and doesn't snag. I use to have a glass nail file by Tweezerman I was sent years ago from the states from another blogger and I LOVED it until someone sat on it and it broke *cries* I've tried others but they just weren't the same. Therefore I've been using this Stylefile S-file which I find is good as it follows your natural nail and you don't do the sawing back and forth motion which is terrible for your nails. If I'm normally doing a shape of the nails if needed, I will keep my nail polish on, preferably dark as I can see how my nails look rather than when bear as my nailbed isn't symmetrical.
3. Cuticle RemovalPeople debate on cuticle removing and I do mention both in this post. One way is to use a cuticle remover, I have a couple that I'm sure are similar but I only really get on with the latter mentioned. Sally Hansen Gel Cuticle Remover or Instant Cuticle Remover. After my soak so the skin is still soft, I 'll apply the cuticle remover around the area, very gently and it clears up the cuticles that are growing onto the skin making it appear as if the nail is shorter. It's a gunky procedure.
4. Clean & ShapeHere's the second alternatives, Nail Clippers, I've not used these as much as I use too, I find unless this is done gently and bit by bit on the nail, I won't get too much of a wonky appearance but I prefer to now shape with a board. Orangewood Sticks, super important, I use these to push the cuticles back, clean under or around the nail if needed. Two controversial items, the V Blade Cuticle Trimmer, eeek, this can be quite deadly to the cuticles lol, sometimes they're too sharp or not as sharp and then the added pressure can just cut into the skin, sometimes it works perfectly fine but I rarely reach for these. The Cuticle Pliers are for those with a very steady hand and for those who are sure they aren't going to cut themselves, only trim the dry skin. I actually use my cuticle removers to help soften up the nail to trim the cuticles that have been growing up onto my nails.
5. BuffOnce all those steps are done before moving onto the base coat, I like to get rid of any oils once again and then buff the nail bed using the Superdry Buff & Shine Block.
6. Base CoatMy favourite base coat, Dr. LeWinn's Renunail Nail Strengthener it's a great strengthener. When used regularly, the nails are a lot harder and grow quicker. I'm always repurchasing this.
7. Cuticle CareSally Hansen Vitasurge Cuticle Gel, an orange gel that can be applied onto the cuticles and dry nail colour, it instantly dries so if you need to take any images afterwards its ideal as the orange doesn't leave colour. I've read that on fair skin it can leave a slight orange tinge so I wouldn't say to put this on a white or pastel nail polish. The sponge applicator is ok to apply it around the cuticles but it's probably not my favourite. Nailtiques Cuticle Care Oil, being this is a dry oil, it won't leave your nails feeling greasy, it is one that's best to be used nightly to get the best benefit. The smell is quite nice but continued use and you'll get the benefit. Dr LeWinn's Nourishing Oil, ingredients olive oil, vitamin E, apricot, almond, tea tree, sweet almond oil and jojoba seed oil, soften hard skin and any cuticle soreness with this. A bit more greasy so it's probably a good one to use alongside handcream. CND Solar Oil, was recommended to me when I started to grow my nails a good few years ago and by habit I keep buying it, the ingredients are sweet almond, jojoba, rice bran and vitamin E oils, might be cheaper to just use those if you've got them! Absorbs nicely and after time keeps the cuticles looking healthy. Nailtiques Oil Therapy is a rollerball pen which means you don't flood your nails with oil and you get just the amount you need and it's an easy one to keep in the handbag for any daily touch ups if needed, this has a blend of sunflower, safflower, avocado and hemp seed oil to help nourish the cuticles.
8. MoisturiseSoap & The Glory Endless Glove, has become a favourite of mine before doing a manicure I sometime use this after I clean and soak the nails to give the moisture back into my hands before doing my routine.I got the gloves in a S&G set but you can find cotton gloves anywhere and can be used with your favourite hand cream. A new one I have is the E45 Repair & Protect*. Which was sent to me and I've tried this a few times and it's not bad, quite nourishing day or night but it really does help to revive any dry or tired hands you might be having.
I'd love to know any favourites you may have?