Wednesday, 20 May 2015

My Top 5 Mani Essentials

I work as a waitress so my hands and nails are easily dried out and damaged. It's very important for me to keep them moisturised and looking at their best.. These are some of the products I'm obsessed with.

First up is cuticle oil. At the moment I'm using this Apricot Cuticle Oil from Essie. I've never been tied down to just one brand. I've used one from Avon, Hema and OPI before. They all do the same thing, they are excellent at intensely moisturising your cuticle area.

What I normally do is use a little concealer brush and apply the cuticle oil around my nails after I've finished my manicure. A little goes a long way, I've had this bottle for a couple of months and you can see how full it still is! I let it soak into my skin for maybe a minute? Then I remove any excess oil with my other hand. It soaks into my skin very quickly and it instantly makes my skin look smoother.

Any time my hands start to feel dry I use my go-to moisturising hand lotion by Crabtree & Evelyn. This is a brand that I'm very loyal to, I've been using it for over a year and have gone through a dozen of these little tubes.

The Citron honey & coriander isn't my favourite scent, but it's the one I had on hand at the time. My favourite one is actually Pomegranate argan & grapeseed. It's amazing and I have gone through too many of those alone! I like buying the small tubes of 25g as they're a lot more convenient to through in a bag and they only cost £5! There is also a new size that I've never seen before of 50g for £9, and there is the large one for £15 which is 100g.

This "hand therapy" soaks into my skin almost instantly and makes a huge difference on my skin.

Another essential for me is a nail hardener. Like I said, I work as a waitress so I'm constantly cleaning and using my hands. My nails aren't too happy with that...

I'm currently using Essie Grown Stronger. I have been using this brand on and off for over a year, but this is the brand I'll always go back to.

I used OPI Nail Envy for a while, but unfortunately that did nothing for me. I also used Sally Hansen Miracle Nail Thickener, which was great but got very thick and gloopy too quickly so I would only be able to use about half of the bottle. Sally Hansen Miracle Cure is another one that was great, but again got really thick and unusable.

I apply this before work every single shift and I also use it as my regular base coat. Of course my nails do still break, there is no way of preventing that, but I only have very small breaks to the tips of my nails. If I forget to put this on before my shift, my nails are guaranteed to break that shift.

This also makes my nails grown incredible quick. I am lucky with quick growing nails and hair anyway, but I've seen a difference when I started using this.

I do a lot of swatching and my absolute go to product is OPI Glitter Off base coat. It is such a life saver! I apply one coat of this onto my nails and wait for it to fully dry (it goes from white to clear). I then apply whatever colour I'm swatching over the top, take a photo and I can  just peel it off! It means I don't have to use any nail polish remover so my skin won't be affected.

I also use this as a base for a lot of my nail art. I can't wear nail polish to work (apart from the strengthener), so I only tend to wear nail art for a very short amount of time. When I'm ready to remove my nail art, again I don't have to use any nail polish remover and weaken my nails.

My final mani essential is liquid nail tape. This is just a little mini bottle but as soon as I finish this one I'm purchasing the full size. This is Mess Free Mani from Nail Mail.

It basically works the same as OPI Glitter Off, but this actually goes on the skin around your nails. I'm obsessed with doing gradients, but the clean up is always very frustrating. With a liquid nail tape like this, you just apply it around you nails, wait for it to dry, sponge on the gradient, and then you can pull it right off your skin. You'll only have the tiniest bit of clean up left.

I prefer this one over other brands because it doesn't smell. My first liquid latex product was great! But the smell was just horrible and very strong. If you get right up close to it, yes it'll smell, but when I'm applying it to my nails I don't smell it at all.

I do have many more mani essentials including a clean up brush (obviously), a top coat, a nail file (amongst other things), but these are definitely right at the top and my most used products.

For my clean up brush I use a tiny angled brush I got for free in my Glossybox a few months ago. I think it's supposed to be a lip brush. My favourite top coat at the moment is the quick dry formula from Hema, a dutch store that's recently opened in Kingston.

I hope this post was helpful if you're looking for any specific products.

xx Elaine

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