Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Beautiful Cuticles: My Favorite Products

With my nubbins for nails this week I decided it was finally time for a product post. When I first started looking at blogs I was always envious of all the beautiful cuticles. It must be witchcraft! I thought. Well surely Photoshop... I am proud to say that I do no editing of cuticles on this blog and can tell you it is possible without selling your soul or spending hours fiddling with technology.

I want to talk about a few basics so everyone can get started. First I recommend reading THIS POST by The Lacquerologist for some science basics on nails. The Lacquerologist is a trained nail tech and really knows her stuff while making it understandable for us laymen (or laywomen). Please note, I will continue to use the vernacular terms I know we all understand.

Okay, now that you've read the science, here is the beginning routine!

I'm serious. I put mine away in the bathroom so that I will not sit and clip every little piece of skin I see. It's not healthy and ends up making your cuticles look worse. Only for hangnails, no more! While you're at it, throw away the nail clippers and use a file only to shorten and shape your nails (that will be another post).

Step 2: Cuticle Remover
I do this about once to twice a week. I first tried Sally Hansen's Instant Cuticle Remover and it worked great so I never looked for anything else. It is affordable, available just about anywhere, and it lasts forever (mine is going on a year and still over 1/4 full).

Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover--comes in an orange box!
I do one hand at a time and use an orange stick to gently slough off the remover and dead cuticle, operative word being GENTLE.
Please note: Read the directions as this is a chemical and can be harmful if used improperly. I promise you will be amazed at the difference in your cuticles, however DO NOT be tempted to do it everyday because you will get a chemical-burn-type of thing (and yeah, I know from experience). Trust me, once or twice a week at the most is all that is needed. Especially if you do Steps 3 and 4 religiously.

Step 3: Moisturize
You know from The Lacquerologist's post that the skin around your nails is different from the skin on your hands. In order to best moisturize your cuticles you need special products, not just any old body lotion. Sometimes I can be a real cheapskate, but I have really noticed a difference in my cuticles since I started using specially formulated oils.
Here are the current lotions and potions that I collected from around my house and purse:

Soap & Glory Hand Food, Gold Bond Ultimate Intensive Healing, Sunny's Hand Cream, Avon Moisture Therapy in Intensive and Oatmeal, KBShimmer Lotion
Sunny's Miracle Balm, Glisten & Glow Nail & Cuticle Balm, Badger Balm (not pictured, but is also great--so great my mom stole it from me)

NailNation 3000 Pineapple Cuticle Oil, Butter London Holiday Handbag Cuticle Oil, Glisten & Glow Glis-tics Cuticle Oil, Avon Cuticle Oil Pen, KBShimmer Cuticle Oil Pen, Bliss Kiss Pure Nail Oil Pen, LynBDesigns Bubby & Toot's Cuticle Loot Oil (not pictured--I forgot it I have so many haha, but it smells wonderful!)
Step 4: Repeat Step 3
...several times a day, as needed.

So while I showed you an arsenal of products, these three are my Holy Grails and will likely be my exclusive future purchases now that I know what works best for me:

Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover + Hand Food + Bliss Kiss = Beautiful Cuticles!
I hope this has been informative! With the dry winter upon us in the US, December is an excellent time to make this a resolution. I find the best time to do my routine is Sunday and Thursday evenings while vegging out in front of the TV. I also keep lotion and oil on me at all times so I can moisturize whenever I notice my hands and cuticles look or feel dry. Stick with it and it will become a reflex.
It takes 30 days to make something a habit. Just think... by New Year's you can have beautiful and healthy nails!

Check out the "Beautiful Cuticles" tab on my home page for more information and purchasing info on some of these products! And for the love of humanity... I hope you've moisturized ;-)

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