Nail Care

As an admitted product hoarder, I am always trying new things and incorporating new steps into my nail care routine. I will keep this page updated as my routine changes!

For each mani:
1. Before polishing, apply oil to your cuticles AND nails. Oiling the actual nail has an immediate visible effect, and over time will help your nails to grow healthy and strong. I use CND Solar Oil, which absorbs quickly for a very scientific reason described here by my nail health guru, Emily the Lacquerologist!
2. After washing off any excess oil, I start every mani with 1-2 coats of Nailtiques 2 (for soft, peeling, bitten, weak, or thin nails). This is a line of nail treatments that have worked wonders on my consistently nubby nails! They are pricey, (around $20/bottle) but, in my opinion, well worth it. Be sure to read the different descriptions for each formula* so you pick the right one for your individual nail "issues." If the price tag on this one is a deal breaker, Millionails, a protein treatment base coat by Essie, is a good alternative.
2. Next, I use one coat of a regular base coat to ensure a smooth base for the polish. I really love the Essie line of base coats; I alternate between using Grow Stronger and Grow Faster
3. Always top polish with top coat to protect from chips! My favorite is Seche Vite Fast Drying Top Coat, especially over any kind of nail art. I apply generously and seal at the tip to prevent noticeable shrinkage. Sally Hansen Insta-Dri is a great cheaper alternative to SV. If I want a matte effect, I use OPI Matte Top Coat, usually over a layer of SV. This is because the OPI smears nail art very easily, and doesn't do much to smooth out loose glitter or thick polish.

1. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! All day, every day. I have a ton of hand lotions (my current favorite is Camille Beckman Glycerine Hand Therapy) and creams that are scattered throughout my home, office, and pretty much every bag I own. My favorite product for daily use is Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream. I apply a small amount directly to the cuticle, then rub it in working my way up my fingers and hands. I also love Essie Apricot Cuticle Oil; it smells sooooooo good!
2. Push back cuticles using a Trim Nail Care Stick. These are very affordable and have a variety of uses. After moisturizing, I gently push back my cuticles with the thicker, colored end. I naturally have relatively small nail beds, and have found great success by doing this daily rather than just between manicures.

1. Remove cuticles using Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover. Apply gel directly to cuticle area and let sit for about a minute. Then, using wooden, pointed end of a Trim Nail Care Stick, I scrape along the cuticle line to remove dry skin (and very often, old base/top coat). There are a lot of different approaches to cuticle removal, but I urge you to not cut them!! I used to be a chronic cuticle cutter, and would always wind up with small cuts and nicks. Not cute, and bad for your nails!
2. File nails using a glass file (I use a Revlon Crystal File) in one direction, NOT back and forth, as is very, very common; this causes splits and breaks! I cannot emphasize enough the value of using a glass file! It took actually using one for me to believe it. Using a glass file results in a much smoother edge, and makes it easier to file without mistakenly removing more length than you intend.
(I will obviously file more frequently if I have a break or want to change my nail shape, but I find that once a week is a good standard for regular maintenance).

I try to treat my nails at least once a month to a good scrub and deep conditioning. Again, there are a lot of different DIYs for this, so if you're feeling adventurous, try a google or Pinterest search for ideas! Since I always have the ingredients around, my go-to "recipe" is:
1 Tbsp baking soda
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
Mix in a small bowl, and soak fingertips for 5-10 minutes (or however long you have!) After soaking, use a toothbrush to scrub each nail individually before rinsing. The oil in this is ultra moisturizing, and the other ingredients help address staining.

Have you tried any of these products? What do you do to keep your claws strong and healthy?


  1. This was a very good article... very helpful, thank you! :D

  2. This was very helpful for me. My nails are always breaking on the corners. :( I just purchased a crystal file from sallys! When filing, what direction do you file?

    1. I'm so glad to hear it! I used to have the same problem with my corners breaking, and I definitely think filing properly has made a huge difference!

      I'm not sure that which direction you file in really matters, I just do what's comfortable. I think the main things is that the grit is consistently going the same way to prevent splits. Honestly, I think the best advice is to try everything and then stick with what works best for you. Good luck!