July 18, 2012

My Nail Care

Here you go folks.. my first tutorial (sort of)! :)

I have been racking my brain to come up with nail art tutorials, and I have made a small list of ones I will be doing soon.. and I hope that more ideas will come to me. To start, I wanted to run through my nail care routine.

Before I get started I want to state VERY clearly, I am NOT a professional. I have never taken any nail technician courses whatsoever. So.. anything I state here is based on my own personal google searching and tips/tricks that I have read on other blogs. If the information came from somewhere else I have indicated with an asterix (*). The sources are listed at the bottom of this post.

Supplies: (These are my preferred tools)
   180-grit nail file (the lowest grit to be safely used on natural nails!)
   glass nail file (from Cult Nails)
   3-way buffer
   metal cuticle pusher (an orange stick would work fine too)
   cuticle remover (top right corner)
   cuticle oil
   cuticle butter (or any hand cream would do)

So, the other day I managed to chip my index finger so my nails were all different lengths. Perfect timing to do a full nail care post including cutting/filing (which I typically do once every 3 weeks).
In this photo you can see the uneven nails & dry sad cuticles... I did not touch up any photos in this post so you can really see the difference in proper nail care. 

I start with clipping my nails down not quite as short as I want them. The filing will take a little more off the length after. From what I have read, you should never use a file to shorten your nails. 

*Second I use my 180-grit file to file the nail square (my preferred nail shape), always going in the same direction to avoid chipping and/or peeling of my nail. 
For some reason this photo turned all yellow on me :S

My glass file is used to fine-tune my nail shape. I round the edges just slightly so they don't hook in clothes and things... and then I use the file for beveling.

*Beveling is a method used to remove excess nail shavings and smooth the edge of the nail. You want to hold the file at a 45 degree angle and file very gently upwards.

Next is cuticle care! I love love love Blue Cross Cuticle Remover. This stuff loosens up all the dead/rough cuticle like a champ! I have been using this massive bottle once or twice a week since january and there is barely a thing gone out of it and it only cost me about $5 at Sally's. Worth every penny! 
**When purchasing a cuticle remover you want one with potassium hydroxide (a.k.a castic potash).
Many cuticle "removers" that do not have this as one of their main ingredients will not actually slough away the dead skin but just soften up the cuticles. 

I pour a small amount of cuticle remover into a dappen dish for ease of use. Then I use a Q-tip and flood my cuticles and the under side of my nail with it.

I let the remover sit for about 15-30seconds and then begin to VERY GENTLY push them back with my cuticle pusher. You have to be very careful, this remover can soften the nail bed, and if you push too hard you could damage your nail plate and peel away layers of your nail. 
Wipe away any excess remover/skin (ew!) and then wash your hands thoroughly. Any excess remover may irritate your skin (especially if you're sensitive)

*Some people choose to cut their cuticles, but this can leave them open to bacteria. The soft live skin you see around my nails is there to moisturize and protect newly forming nail. It is called the eponychium. Cuticle removers are meant to remove the pterygium, the "true" cuticle. It is the dead, flakey skin that builds up at the base of the nail and around the edges. It should be removed regularly to prevent build up.

Once the cuticle is removed and washed off, then you're ready to polish your nails! The below photo was taken immediately after I did all of this and has one coat of O.P.I Original Nail Envy on. (again, I did not retouch any of these photos)

The other products listed above were a cuticle oil (which I use before bed every night),
and Burt's Bees lemon cuticle butter which I use throughout the day, especially after a shower.
I use various cuticle oils (no particular brand) and many different hand creams thrown around my house/work/purse etc. The main thing is to constantly keep your hands/cuticles moisturized! 

Next I have my nail polish application/clean up: (quick and simple) 

I painted my nails using my new Barry M Raspberry polish, and as you can see I was not careful with the application... 

I use a small angled brush to clean up around my nails after painting them:
I dip the brush in pure acetone.

And.. voila! I'm usually more careful with polish application, but for the purpose of "clean up" I wasn't. Keep in mind it's best to do a neat job the first time around and spend less time cleaning up the mani.. especially with polishes that may stain the skin - this polish stained my cuticles slightly.

And finally, for your viewing/reading pleasure I give you a couple swatches of this gorgeous polish:

Indirect Sunlight - looks a little too "red"

Indoor lighting: more color accurate.
This was two coats of Barry M Raspberry with no top coat. It's a gorgeous color and a fantastic formula. I had a few Barry M polishes come in the mail last week and I can't wait to try the others :)

I hope you enjoyed my first ever tutorial! :) If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask and I will edit the post as needed.

*I learned a lot about shaping/filing my nails and a lot about the nail anatomy from Kayla Shevonne's Manicuring 101 series... check it out!!

**My knowledge of cuticle removers came from Medscape: Nail Cosmetics