I was asked by one of my lovely followers over on Facebook if I had any tips on good nails as she wanted to start doing them herself. Well yes, I do have a few! I will admit I don't have painted nails often, I would love to but with one child still in nappies the hand washing (and a little light OCD with the house work) doesn't allow. However I have mastered a fairly good manicure routine when I am in need of one. I have got into some good maintenance habits this year, partly I think due to my time spent working in London as I had to always have well groomed nails. My swear by hand cream is Clarins, I put this on every night. I would love to say during the day also, but I forget and just using this at night seems to be enough to keep my hands and nails in good condition. The only other one I find works nearly as well is The Body Shop hemp hand cream, it is a fraction of the price. Oh and I think the Queen uses this one?!?
I keep my nails short and tidy with Wilkinson Sword nail scissors. They are at least 10 years old and have stood the test of time, I even use them on my girls. I find clippers are too harsh on my nails, they tend to snap more. I then use Mavala emery boards (my Mum put me on to these) and file in to the centre of my nails. I hear the glass emery boards are amazing but I have a stash of the mavala ones at the moment so I've not tried them yet. Only this year have I purchased a buffer (yes I know, I am a little slow with some things). I really notice a difference when I use this as I have developed a few ridges across my nails now and not only does it blend them but I feel the polish sticks better to them also. You literally just buff quite vigorously across the whole nail.
During the course of the week I apply a cuticle oil to my whole nail and massage partly down my finger. I do this probably 2-3 times a week before bed whilst I am switching off and watching an episode of Sex & The City (I work my way through the series, currently on season 5!). It then has time to seep in. I love Solar Oil due to the almond smell but have been told any oil will do. I have also started gently pushing my cuticles back whilst in the shower sometimes. The moist air and hot water makes them really easy to do. Then before a manicure I use a wooden stick ( I find the metal too hard to use myself) to push them back some more, always after soaking in warm water first. I don't do my cuticles all the time, it just depends how bad they are and how much time I have.
So the polish. I always apply a base coat, previously Mavala but currently a Helen E one. If you don't you run the risk of yellow nails. Now my top tip, always allow time between your coats. If for example I need them painted for the Friday, I will apply the base and one coat Thursday night once the kids are down. One coat dries quicker with less chance of smudging whilst you sleep. Then I will do the second coat before I jump in the car for an appointment (or sometimes whilst sat, strapped in the car so I then don't smudge them moving around!). If you have a good half an hour in the car driving somewhere this is perfect as again it's only one coat to dry and as you have a base and previous coat it adheres really well.
I am a little slack and don't apply a top coat. Usually this is a time thing, I just can't factor it in but if you do have time then do, it will probably make them last longer. As for the nail polish itself, I pretty much use all brands. I love the colours Chanel do but they stay put best on my toes in the Summer, no more than a day on my fingers usually. I like Essie, OPI, Jessica but I'm swayed more by colour than brand.
I'm no pro, this is just what works for me. I hope that helps Jo! x