There once was a time when I would change my nail polish three, maybe four, times a week. No base coat, no top coat, just colour. As you can imagine my nails were left a bit of a state - stained yellow and flaky. However, as I have grown to be older and wiser (when it comes to my nails) I have developed a routine that is serving me well and keeping my nails in great condition...
Step One: Removing Previous Colour. For this I like to use the Sally Hansen Strengthening Nail Polish Remover. Packed with vitamin E and wheat protein this product removes every trace of polish with ease whilst treating the nails to some much needed nutrients. This has made a huge difference in the condition of my nails and I would really recommend picking a nail polish remover suited to your nail type.
Step Two: Prepping the Nails. I have four mini steps to this; firstly I start by simply cutting, using any nail clippers I have to hand, my nails to sort out any breakages or uneven edges I have gained and to shape them to how I like - square, FYI. Secondly, I go ahead and file the edges to help achieve a straight edge, any emery board will do. Thirdly, I buff over my nails using this Boots 7 Way Curved Block. I only do this when necessary as it can be damaging to the nails, but if you have any flaky bits it needs to be done! Fourthly, I take one cotton pad with a bit of nail polish remover on and quickly swipe over each my nails. This removes any left over polish that there might be and it dehydrates the nail slightly which helps your manicure's staying power.
Step Three: Base Coat. My base coat of choice, for the past six months or so, has been the Sally Hansen Maximum Strength. Pale pink in colour, this product works perfectly as a base coat as it treats the nails while still protecting them from staining. This has made my nails go from dry and brittle, to stronger and much more healthy. You can also use this as a treatment but I just like to use it as a base coat.
Step Four: Colour. As apposed to back in the day when I have about 200 different nail polishes, my collection is now just a small array of shades that I switch between depending on my mood. As you can probably guess, my usual choice is an Essie polish - Essie Watermelon to be exact. This almost red, hot pink shade is probably my all time favourite colour, of which I like to apply two coats. I apply to coats of any shade.
Step Five: Top Coat. Seche Vite. Need I say more? Probably not, but I will make a quick note - this stuff is amazing! If you like doing your mani's last thing at night then you need this.
Step Six: The Finishing Touch. If you want healthy nails, you need healthy cuticles. To get healthy cuticles you need to incorporate a Cuticle Oil. I am still yet to find one that I love, so at the minute I just using a Sally Hansen one. I like to do this once my nails are completely dry and then again once or twice every day.
Now this isn't the quickest of routines, it will take you around 30 minuets to complete. However, with a manicure that lasts around 5-7 days and healthy nails that are now a lot stronger, I can deal with that.
What are your favourite manicure products?