Today I have the second instalment in my Facebook readers suggestions series, and it’s one of the things I get asked most by a lot of people. A topic I could easily just run off my mouth with, as I believe hand and nail care is first and foremost when it comes to having a nice looking manicure. I have said it time and time again, no fancy manicure will ever look good if the initial grooming isn’t done and maintained. This post will give you a brief overview of what I do to maintain my hands and nails.
There are really not too many things that I do, I think because it comes down to one thing. LOOK AFTER YOUR CUTICLES. Cuticles are the bane of my life, at any one time I have issues with at least one of them on my swatching hand. Right now it’s on my middle finger, and if you look through any of my recent posts (see list in sidebar) you may notice this stubborn little bit of cuticle that draws my eye every time.
For the most part, however, my cuticles and subsequently my nails are in pretty good condition. If you look after your cuticles, the nails have no choice but to grow nicely, at a good rate, and much stronger. The most important rule, something I tell my clients all the time, and adhere to myself, if there’s only one thing you ever do in hand maintenance, do not let your cuticles dry out….EVER!
Here’s an example of my cuticle and nail products that I use daily……
No, I’m not pulling your leg. I use every single one of these products at least once, daily. Seems like a lot right? I am a wee little bit obsessed with cuticle products. I just gotta catch them all! Pokémon….Woah, sidetracked.
It’s more a case of having products handy in a location where you will regularly use them. The products I’ve shown above are all strewn about my house, car, handbag, near my computer, in the kitchen, in the bathroom, and of course in my nail room.
After a shower I apply a nice light oil, after I’ve gently pushed back my cuticle with my towel, while they’re still pliable from the warm water. Throughout the day, on a non swatching day, I apply either balm or a lighter oil whilst on my computer, after washing my hands, sitting in my car waiting for kids. It’s a habit that has basically become second nature, and surprisingly doesn’t take any extra time. At night I apply a nice rich balm before bed, and really rub it in nicely.
The rubbing in part is important too. I use gentle circular motions all around my matrix (the area where the cuticle and nails are formed). This of course distributes the product nicely, but another bonus is the gentle massage of the area stimulates growth and activity within the matrix itself. The matrix is THE most important area when it comes to nail growth. A slight bump to it will see white spots on the nail, more extreme damage can cause permanent issues to the growth of your nail.
My tip for everyone, is simply, import the habit of balms and oils into your daily life, rub that goodness into your cuticles, and you’ll see a huge improvement in no time. Of course, one day off this routine does cause a huge setback, even I notice on my nails if I slack off for a day.
You cannot overdose on cuticle products. 😉
This is not relevant for everyone, but for me, and any other blogger, the use of cuticle oil becomes one of the most important tools on a swatch day. On a day I swatch hard core, I know I’m going to be doing a lot of work on my nails, and my routine starts early. I use extra products, for example a scrub in the shower specifically for my hands and cuticles. I also moisturise, a lot. I do not apply cuticle oil to photograph my nails, as the shine is not a look I want in my photos. I remove old polish, and simply slap on a good moisturiser, then use a wipe to remove any oiliness off my nails. If you don’t do this, the polish will not sit nicely. After about every three/four swatches, when I’ve removed the polish (don’t forget my no acetone addiction either!) I give my nails/cuticles a good soak in a high quality, dense oil, and apply hand cream/butter. I let that steep for a good 15 minutes before moving onto my next round of polishes.
I hope that helps answer the question of my base line hand care routine. If there’s anything more about hand and nail care in specific you want to know, just mention it. I could go on and on if given the chance and time.
And, yes, I’m doing it right now, whilst writing this post…..massaging balm into my nails and cuticles.
Have a great day.
*Nothing to disclose