Friday, 4 April 2014

How I do my nails

I thought it was about time to show you all what all goes into my nail polish routine, seeing as all I ever mention is what colour I'm wearing. With this routine, my nail polish usually lasts for 7-10 days before chipping significantly (lab accidents notwithstanding - unfortunately spilling chemicals/solvents on your hands has a tendency to dissolve/lift polish). Of course, unfortunately everyone's skin and nails react differently, so what works well for me may not work as well for you, but I thought I would share nevertheless.

1. Base coat
At the moment I'm actually using two base coats. At the same time. First, I paint a layer of Tip Top Nail Booster Base Coat, to help strengthen my nails and promote healthy growth. Like all Tip Top products, I can highly recommend this. I got it in my CPT Blogger Meet goodie bag and ever since I started using it, I've noticed a definite improvement in my nails - no more flaking or peeling or breakage, woo hoo! I then top this with a layer of Revlon's Calcium Gel Nail Hardener. I've been using this for about a year (previously on its own, but on top of the Tip Top base coat this year). Long term, this product doesn't really do much to strengthen my nails but when I am wearing it, it definitely helps harden and strengthen my nails. This means that the tips (esp the corners) don't flex and bend as much, which - for me, at least - means that my polish chips significantly less.

2. Colour time!
It should come as no surprise to regular readers that my favourite nail polishes are from essence! I love the wide range of colours, good formula and tiny pricetag! (Also a bonus, no animal testing or nasty chemicals.) Other favs are Tip Top, Catrice, Revlon and Mavala.

3. Top coat
To get a super shiny finish, and to ensure longevity, top coat is essential! I also love quick-drying top coats because I often end up painting my nails before bed and, hello, no one wants to smudge on their sheets (also, laziness). At the moment I am loving Sally Hansen's InstaDri Top Coat. Shininess? Check. Quick drying? Check. Anti-chip? Check check check!

Other bits and bobs
There are two important things I added to my routine to get as neat and professional-looking a mani as possible: cuticle remover, and clean-up. To remove cuticles, I use Sally Hansen's Instant Cuticle Remover. It's the only one I've tried, so I can't compare, but it does the job well. For clean-up, I use a small paintbrush (from the art section in PNA) dipped in acetone to neaten up edges. (A process which I had not yet done in the photo at the beginning of this post - my bad! In my defense, I was in a rush to get to the excitement of the Cape Town Carnival!)

And that's about it!


  1. Ooh, I love the glitter over the dark polish look. I usually pair it with lighter colours, but this looks so cool. I'm so tired of chipping nail polishes. I'm getting the Essence at home gel nail kit for my birthday next month and I'm so excited to try it. I'm sure I even dreamt about it last night :)

  2. Great post!
    As I am sure you know I am also a huge Essence fan. I have recently been using the Sally Hansen Insta-dry topcoat as well (in place of my seche vite) but I am struggling so much with it bubbling. It's driving me nuts and I am ready to chuck it!

    1. Also discovered that Sally Hansen's Insta-Dry coat causes bubbles. At first I thought I was just being lazy and not waiting for undercoat to dry but sadly it is from the Insta-dry :(

      xoxo One Stiletto At a Time fashion and beauty blog

    2. So sad really. But then I am not the biggest SH fan so it should've been expected.

    3. That's so weird :( I've had several topcoats in the past bubble (esp the essence gel look one, which ruined all my christmas manis) but haven't had a single bubble with InstaDri.

    4. How far into your bottle are you? I found the first 2 maybe 3 times I used it was ok but since then, crazy bubbles. I have heard that it thickens too quick and that is why it bubbles so I am going to thin mine with thinner and see if that helps. Still sad though as I have an almost full bottle still (2nd bottle)

    5. I'm about 7 or 8 uses into this bottle

  3. Then I am going to consider you super lucky :P I wish I was you!


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