Nail Care Routine: Back in the early days of my blog, I was painting my nails every week, in almost every color under the sun – from a bright golden yellows and multi-dimensional corals to edgy navy and blacks. These past few months though, I’ve been sporting bare nails the majority of the time, with the occasional nude polish thrown into the mix.
Perhaps my routine changed out of a subconscious desire to live more minimally (I have been slowing scaling down my polish collection, and opting for cleaner, lower maintenance looks lately). Or maybe it’s due to laziness. I like to think it’s a combination of the two.
Step 1: Clean up
Nail Care Routine, The first step is to prep the nails, starting with a quick clean-up of the cuticles. I’ll grab one of my favorite cuticle softeners/removers – either Julep’s Vanish or this one from Sally Hansen – add a drop on each nail, massage the drops in, and then gently push back the cuticles using my own nails (I feel like that gives me the most control versus all the tools they have out there).
Nail Care Routine, The solutions instantly dissolve any skin that’s grown over my nail, while making the rest softer and easier to push back. I don’t typically cut them since the cuticles are there for a reason – to protect your nails and reduce the risk of infections – however I will trim any loose skin around the sides with tiny scissors.
Step 2: Trim and file
Nail Care Routine, Next, I’ll do the usual – a good trim with my favorite nail clippers that I picked up on Amazon. Boy do they beat out all the ones I’ve ever bought from a drugstore. They feel solid, the top knobby thing doesn’t detached every time I take them out, and the cutters are straight, sharp and cut cleanly with little force.
Nail Care Routine, To smooth out the edges, I’ll use one of the best gifts my Grandma ever gifted me (in terms of what I ended up using the most throughout the years) – a diamond nail file. Before, I used to use those cheaper, rougher files that felt like sandpaper. They’d tug and pull on my nail and never quite give me a smooth edge. The diamond file on the other hand, files super finely and smooths in seconds, plus they seem to last forever (I’d had mine for 7+ years).
Step 3: Buff
Nail Care Routine, I never used to buff my nails until I was sheepishly drawn in by one of those salespeople at those mall stands selling hand & body care kits. They took my hand and after about 30 long seconds of them rubbing some magic block on my nails, they had me inspect them and I was slightly wowed – they were super smooth and glossy.
Nail Care Routine, I ended up grabbing a buffing stick for myself, and now I use it before every main (i.e. about one a month, not too often – you don’t want to over file your nails, only smooth out the ridges a bit). Supposedly this helps your nail polish last longer. And of course, a smooth surface and a little extra shine helps elevate the look of bare nails.
Step 4: Moisturize
Nail Care Routine, Next, I’ll moisturize the nails using NCLA’s So Rich Vitamin E-Infused Cuticle Oil, which smells amazing – very warm and comforting – and works instantly to soften my cuticles and re-hydrate the entire nail area. For the hands, any old moisturizer does the trick.
Nail Care Routine, I have about 5 tubes lying all around my apartment at the moment (thanks Winter!) so I’ll grab whatever is nearest to my ever changing manicure station – my work desk, living room coffee table, bedroom nightstand – they’re all stocked. Once the hands are lotion-ed up, I’ll relax for a few minutes and give everything some time to soak in. Then before moving onto the next step, I’ll wipe my nails with a little polish remover.