I'm about to pop up a spring nail edit type post, but before I do I figured some of you lovely lot might want to know what I use to make a protective type sandwich round my coloured polish and how I go about painting my finger helmets.
For Starters I always make sure I've got all the old polish off before starting a-new. A blank canvas is essential for getting a super smooth finish. I'll use either the Cutex Nail Varnish Remover (£2.20) or my Bourjois Magic Nail Polish Remover (£4.99) to do this, then make sure I give my hands a good wash and dry.
I then try and pay some attention to my cuticles. I'm trying to find a cuticle remover gel I get on with, I've been trialling the Sally Hansen Cuticle Remover Gel (£6.45) which is alright, but nothing to write home about. If anyone has any suggestions about cuticle removing and softening products please leave them in the comments!
Moving on to shaping my nails, I tend to rock a straight edge with baby-proofed corners (I just take off the sharp edges with a couple of light swipes of the nail file). Then I'll wash and thoroughly dry my hands again and if I'm feeling really professional I'll swipe over the nails with a bit of varnish remover on a clean cotton pad (a tip learnt from Anna of Vivianna Does Makeup, see her full Manicure routine post & video here).
Currently I'm using the O.P.I Original Nail Envy (£18.65 (!)) as a base. I suffer from really flakey nails, by that I mean they don't break so much as separate into layers at the tips and peel off. Ewwwww. I know right? Anyway... O.P.I has actually really helped with this issue. A lot more than I was expecting to be honest. It's not solved the problem completely, but my nails have always been rather weak and I subject them to quite a bit of daily torment so I wasn't expecting a miracle cure.
After one coat of Nail Envy has been applied and completely dried it's on with the colour. I'll do 2 coats of colour with pretty much all my nail varnishes. I can rarely be bothered with three, and if a colour isn't opaque enough after two coats then it usually ends up being given away. I find that too many layers of varnish can encourage that 'peel off' effect? Anyone else get that?
Then it's a topcoat of Seche Vite Dry Fast (£9.00). This little number has caused a bit of a stir in the nail world. There was a lot of hoo-ha about health concerns flying around the place. For some information on this head over to Lacquer Glamour, there's a full run down of the issue and some further reading if you're interested. I did my research into it and decided to take the plunge, risk it, throw caution to the wind, etc. It was a personal choice based on the fact that I subject my body to a lot of other unnatural substances and poisons (queue the one too many montage!), and so long as I don't sit and huff this stuff in an unventilated cupboard I looks like I should be ok. Plus, bless my soul, does this stuff work! Previously I'd been using the Save The Nail Wet Look Top Coat (£6.95), which had served me relatively well. However my nails seem to last longer with Seche Vite, I can go a good few days with only minimal signs of wear appearing round the tips and damn does this stuff dry fast! I swear it's like the road runner of topcoats, and still has a lovely glossy finish. BEEP BEEP.
I've been finishing up with a Boots own nail and cuticle oil (£6.20) that I got in some sort of deal, combo jobby, which has actually been rather disappointing. If anyone has a suggestions about an alternative please let me know. I'm thinking about purchasing the Burts Bees Lemon Cuticle Cream ... ?
So there you have it. Sorry it was a little long winded but I figured I might as well review the products as I went. It's all very well saying what I've been using but it's better to know why right?
The Spring / Summer Nail edit will be up shortly, so keep your eyes peeled (this phrase really freaks me out, I NO WANNA PEEL MA EYES!)!