Monday, September 12, 2011

FAVORITES -- My Manicure Must-Haves

Hey everyone! Today I'm going to share my favorite at-home manicure products with you! I know nail products can sometimes be a very personal choice, and what may work great for me doesn't work for you at all.. but I've really rediscovered the joys of doing my own nails since I removed my acrylics last month.

Not included are my product spotlight are nail clippers and a nail file... I don't use any special brands, so I didn't see a need to focus on them. However, it seemed weird to me to not mention them at all, haha!


First up in my product spotlight is Sally Hansen's Instant Cuticle Remover. My cuticles were severely neglected while I was wearing acrylics, so now I'm focused on making them a priority. I think I snagged this at Ulta for around $7. Every time I do my nails, I apply a thin layer of this gel to my cuticles (one hand at a time) and let it soak in for about 30 seconds. Then I use an orange stick to push my cuticles back and to remove the excess cuticle that the gel has dissolved. After having used this twice a week for almost a month, I'm pleased to say that my cuticles now look great and healthy!

I also really like how this product dissolves the cuticle rather than having to clip them. I've always heard horror stories about how bad clipping your cuticles is! Another bonus: this gel also works to dissolve tough calluses on your feet and heels.


I picked up my Sinful Colors' Nail Hardener at Walgreens for $3.99. I bought this shortly after I removed my acrylics, as my nails were very brittle and started peeling not long after I removed them. I was tempted to try OPI's Nail Envy or any of the NailTek products because I've heard great things about them, but I didn't want to have to make an extra trip somewhere else. My justification was the Sinful Colors Hardener was cheap and I wouldn't feel bad chalking it up to a loss if it didn't work.

Thankfully, it does work! My nails are already regaining some strength and have almost completely stopped peeling (and healed themselves). Not only that, it makes a great base coat for polish. I can get 4-5 days of wear out of my manis... usually without even a chip! I typically end up changing my polish before I chip what I'm wearing.

I'll probably still end up trying NailTek or OPI's Nail Envy, but only to see if it's better than Sinful Colors' Nail Hardener. I'll be sure to keep you updated!


I got this exact buffing block at WalMart ages ago and couldn't tell you how much I paid for it, but I'm sure it probably wasn't more than a couple of bucks. Any buffing block will do, but I always use the 1st and 2nd side to even out and smooth the surface of my nails. Even when I had acrylics I used the buffing block and it always helped with my polish application and overall appearance of my nails.

For a drugstore topcoat, this is definitely the best one I've found. At under 2 bucks, it truly does dry in a minute or less and has a great shine. Plus, as I said.. my manicures usually last around 5 days. I attribute the longevity to the combination of the Sinful Colors Nail Hardener and NYC Quick Dry Topcoat. At some point, I'd like to try the famed Seche Vite and see how the two compare. ..I have so many interesting nail comparisons I want to make now that I'm back to having natural nails! It's exciting! :D



I first shared my love for acetone and a small cleanup brush in this DIY post and it's seriously become my biggest secret. I use acetone to remove my old polish and also to clean up any rough edges when I'm done re-painting my nails. I'm so thankful to the bloggers who have shared this tip. It's so simple, but something I never would have thought of.

Any brand of acetone will work, as well as any makeup or paint brush that you're comfortable using. The specific products I use are Onyx acetone which can be purchased at WalMart for under $3 and the Studio Tools Eyeliner Brush from Target which is around the same price point.

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Do you have any special tips or tricks for prolonging your manicure? Or any products or rituals that you really love? I'd love to hear about them!

1 comment:

  1. This is the perfect post! I've been practicing doing my own acrylics at home but after taking them off my nails are a mess! Thanks. :)