Hi y'all! Do you guys remember a while back I posted a nail art supply post with the promise of a second part to follow with all of my care supplies and routine? Well, I'm finally getting around to that second part and my care routine has changed a lot over the last several months, but I think for the better.
I also posted on my facebook page asking if anyone had any questions they wanted me to answer in this post and I got a couple, mostly about Cuticles and whether or not to push or cut them. Which I would have answered anyways, so not a big deal to add in. There will also be a lot of other stuff in this post.
And just to start off I'm gonna say, I read a lot of the articles on this facebook page and I learn a TON from there. I don't always follow exactly, I do what works for me. But I do keep in mind the things I read there because it makes more sense than a lot of other sites I've read. So if there's anything you'd like to know in more detail, you can search through her articles, or even ask her yourself. But, let's go ahead and get into this.
First off, I don't use a store bought cuticle oil. I tried one. That was enough for me. While it was on the nail/skin it was great, but as soon as it absorbed or got washed off, it was exactly as if I had never used it at all. It made no difference whatsoever, and I've heard a lot of others make the same complaint about store bought oils. You can get them from Indie makers as well, and these are going to be much better and much more natural, but in the end for me, I found it was cheaper to make my own.
By reading articles on the facebook page I shared above, I learned the jojoba oil is a MUST for cuticle and nail care as it's the closest to the oil you body makes naturally on it's own, therefore is best absorbed by the skin and even the nail. That particular oil was probably the one I paid the most for, I think it was about $12 for that 4 ounce bottle, but it's been nearly a year and see how much i've used? Not much at all. The avocado oil was about $10 as well, but that was for an 8 ounce bottle, a 4 ounce bottle was the same price, so it made no since not to get the bigger one. Theres a Vitamin E Skin oil, which is actually vitamin E, Coconut oil, and Mineral oil. I don't like that it has Mineral oil as that stuffs not any good at all for your skin, but I don't use a lot of it, just a little bit to get the vitamin E effects. There's also Grapeseed Oil, Almond Oil, and Apricot Oil. All of these were picked by me to use because of different vitamins in them that are good for the skin. All were under $5 besides the ones I mentioned being a little more expensive. Another I want to get and add is some tea tree oil, but it's expensive and I haven't managed to have a few extra dollars for it, so for now, these are the ones I use.
This is how I mix them. Old empty bottles of base/top coat. I just clean them out, clean the brushes off, and then I'm able to add the oil into them. I moisturize like crazy. I use my cuticle oil at least 3 times a day, sometimes more. But always when I wake up, after dinner, and before I go to bed. It does AMAZING things when it comes to keeping my nails and cuticles looking healthy.
This is a rather new addition, just bought last week actually. I had a few dollars to spend and was at walgreens, grabbed this and a couple polishes along with some acetone. Besides the point though. This also cleaned my nails and cuticles up a TON. A cuticle remover might be needed if you have crazy over grown cuticles. I have a couple fingers that get a little crazy and have taken a few uses of this stuff to really scrape it all off, but it's working well! Just follow the directions on the cuticle remover you have and ta-da!
These are the tools I use the most. A cuticle pusher, and cuticle pusher. This is where most of my questions from facebook were. "Should I push or cut the cuticle?" To be fair, you shouldn't do anything you're not comfortable with or don't think you can do right. To be honest here, I've been doing this for nearly two years, and I'm in no way a professional, but I've just recently in the last couple months gotten comfortable enough with Cuticle nippers to attempt using them. My cuticles look much better for it. But I wouldn't advise anyone else to do it unless you really know what you're doing. If you want to try it, go slow, and be extremely careful as if you cut actual live skin rather than the cuticle you could make them look worse, or worse yet, cause an infection, I'm sure you don't really want either. If you want to, but don't know how, go to a salon for a manicure, with have them do it, and ask them to show you how. I only nip about once every two-three weeks depending on how they look and just push them back inbetween then.
The cuticle pusher, if you're new to these, I would also suggest not using a metal one as it's so so easy to damage the nail if you're not careful with them. I did the first time I used this and had to wait for it to grow out. If you're just starting out, I'd suggest the plastic pushers, I believe they have rubber ones as well, or an orange wood stick. If you must use a metal one, just be careful and don't push too hard on the nail.
Now, whether you should push them back or cut the cuticles I believe is mainly personal preference. I always read that you should never ever cut them which is why for a long time I was scared to even try. But, not that I have, I prefer how they look now over not cutting them and just pushing back. But I do notice that now when they start to grow back, they come back thicker than before so keep in mind, if you start cutting them, you'll have to keep up with it.
Also, I got asked what to do about thick long cuticles. In this case, a little nipping may be needed. I'm not a professional by any means though, and I don't actually have this problem, I've always had pretty decent cuticles. If there's anyone that has experience with this and would like to answer this question though, feel free to do so in the comments.
This is something else I've added recently and I LOVE it. I found a few recipes for sugar scrubs, and I improvised with what I had on hand to use. This started out as just plain white sugar with olive oil and a hint of vanilla extract. It smelled amazing just like that. But then I found this recipe and realized we had some brown sugar hidden in the fridge and we pretty much always have pumpkin pie spice, so I added some of the brown sugar to what I already had, along with the pumpkin pie spice, and then I added some of my oils I showed you i use for the cuticle oil until the consistency was just right. And let me just say, it smells SOOOO GOOD and my hands smell just like a pumpkin pie after I use it. I finger the brown sugar to have smaller grains as well so it's not as harsh as the white sugar alone, it reminds me more of sand than sugar.
This stuff does amazing things though, the sugar scrubs off all the dry dead skin from your hands while the oil in it moisturizes. Also, keep in mind, you don't actually need anything but the sugar and oil to make it, the vanilla/lemon/pumpkin spice/etc is more for the smell than anything else. I have been trying to use this at least once a day though. I just use it just like I was washing my hands with a little extra attention around the nails and cuticles to get any dead dry skin away from that area and then just rinse it off. If your hands feel too oily after that, you can wash them with soap and water after and it'll take that away, but I like to just rinse and dry my hands off, they're so soft and smooth after!
One thing I forgot to get a picture of for this post because.. well I forgot a couple things and had to keep goig back and taking them.. then I started editing pictures and went: Oh crap! Nail files!
So. NAIL FILES
For me. I like the glass ones. I feel the much much smaller grain on them is less harsh on your nails. I use to use the regular ones you get in a pack at like, family dollar for $1 or something like that. Then I found the joys of glass files. For one, if you get a true glass file, they'll never wear down, you can use them all you want, wash them off, and then they're good as new, so unless you lose or break it, once you buy one, you'll never have to buy another file again. So, while they're more expensive, just think in the long run, you'll be saving money.
Also, when I use to use those cheap disposable ones, my nails would split and peel all the time. Since I've been using the glass file, this happens much less often. It still happens from time to time, but not near as much.
Also one important thing to note: NEVER FILE WET NAILS. The nails are much softer when wet and tear of split more easily, and filing can help cause this. If you've just gotten out of the shower or soaked your nails in water for a while for any reason, wait at least an hour before filing. And trust me, from experience, this is important to remember. My nails get horrible and peel if I file them while wet.
Last off, base coats! These are extremely important in keeping your nails protected from all the polishing. Especially staining. I've been using the base/top coat from LA Colors which I get for $1 at family dollar store and it works much better than toher more expensive ones I've tried. I normally try to stay away from hardeners/strengtheners because of all the bad stuff in them, they usually do your nails more harm than good, but these don't have all that bad stuff in them and I've never had any problem with them causing problems with my nails, so if you're looking for a cheap hardener that won't damage your nails, these are it. I try not to use those more than once a week at most though.
If you're wanting to strengthen your nails, garlic! Little cubes of it in a clear polish and then paint it on your nails as a base coat. I love it! It's how I got my nails to start growing and stop peeling so much, and when I stopped using it, it didn't make my nails gross and brittle like most of the big name nail hardeners will (OPI, rejuvicoat, nailtek, all of those, if you STOP using the product, your nails will be worse than they were when you you started it, so I'd avoid thme to be fair) and it's all natural! (Minus the polish it's in of course) but I think that's about it!
If there's anything you'd like to add, or a question you'd like to ask, then feel free to leave it in the comments below!