Monday, March 18, 2013

My Mani Routine

I often have people ask me what my manicure routine is like/what products I use regularly/ here's a quick rundown on this lovely Mani Monday!

To start, here's what my set up generally looks like. The little black & white bag was a gift from my mom a few Christmases ago & it quickly became my nail supply catch-all. I generally sit at our kitchen table, as shown in the photos, but sometimes I'm lazy & it happens on the coffee table. Either way, the set up is usually always the same (I'm a creature of habit). This is obviously minus whatever colors I would be using at the time but includes my clean up supplies, base & top coats, cuticle products & of course the bag & my little work light. The tiny lamp is so crucial! I love it.

General manicure set up

Moving on to top & base coats. As with most products, I have a hard time being faithful to just one. The products pictured below are what I'm currently using/experimenting with. The base coats that I've been using the most lately are CND Stickey & Qtica Natural Nail Growth Stimulator & I'm pretty happy with both. Duri Rejuvacote is also on my list of favs despite not being pictured below. When it comes to top coats I am constantly trying to find the best quick dry option for my needs. (I quickly grew tired of Seche, but will still use it every now & then. I've been through phases with Poshe & Nubar Diamont, too). The top coats that I've been using the most lately are Orly Sec'n Dry & NYC Grand Central Station. They dry quick and shiny enough for me & so far I haven't had any problems with either of them.

(L-R) CND Stickey, Orly Sec'n Dry
NYC Grand Central Station, Qtica Natural Nail Growth Stimulator

Another important aspect of the manicure process is clean up! I know that everyone has their own system & this is just what works for me. The white tub/bottle is filled with mostly pure acetone & also some miscellaneous polish remover leftovers that get thrown in there from time to time. The 2 tools that I use are a plain old orange stick & a random e.l.f. concealer brush. When I'm actually doing my nails, I keep both of these in the polish remover so that I can grab them whenever I need to do some clean up. I use the orange stick the most during the painting process & the brush to do post-mani clean up. I also keep a random microfiber cloth handy for blotting & wiping. (You can tell by the polish stains that the one pictured has been around the block, lol).

Clean up tools

The final step of any good manicure is cuticle care! I don't know about you, but between the polish removing process and the clean up, my cuticles can usually use a little love after my mani is done. The products pictured below are a few favorites out of a bajillion oils/butters/creams that are floating around my apartment. Of course there's LUSH Lemony Flutter, the ultimate in thick & amazing cuticle butters. It's probably my all time favorite cuticle product but, like I said, I'm hardly faithful. The Sally Hansen Salon Manicure Cuticle Eraser + Balm is great for softening hard cuticles & to slather on before using a cuticle pusher. It's a little sticky, so it might be best to use in a situation where you can wash your hands shortly after applying. As far as cuticle oils go, I'm a pretty big fan of CND Solar Oil. It's very moisturizing & I find the smell to be very comforting for some reason.

LUSH Lemony Flutter, CND Solar Oil &
Sally Hansen Salon Manicure Cuticle Eraser + Balm

So there you have it! My favorite/current/must have products & a peek into the method behind my mani madness! The only thing that I forgot to photograph is my polish remover of choice, which is Zoya Remove Plus. I keep a big pump bottle full of it for general use & turn to pure acetone for tougher jobs like removing chunky glitter or dark, staining polishes.

Do you have a specific nail polishing routine? What are some of your favorite products to use when you do your nails? Let me know in the comments!

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