Tonight I picked up a few things from Target, including a leave-in conditioning cream from Garnier Fructis' Sleek & Shine line. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, my hair has been especially dry this winter. That being said, I have been getting a fair amount of split ends because of it. As soon as I got home from Target, I took a nickel sized amount of the cream and ran it through my dry hair starting about halfway down and moving towards my ends. Just from the one use, my hair feels softer, smoother, and healthier. The cream was very moisturizing without weighing my hair down, and it left no residue. Overall I'm excited to see how my hair health and texture improves while using this product!
I also picked up a new makeup remover by a company from the UK because the one I'm currently using is starting to get pretty low. It's called Botanics All Bright Soothing Eye Makeup Remover and it's designed to remove makeup while also gently chemically exfoliating to brighten skin. It has two components, one which is oilier to remove the makeup, and one which is water based to wash away any residue. Because of the two components, it needs to be shaken before use.
The last item I bought from Target was a body scrub by another UK brand. (Boots Extracts Mango Sugar Scrub) It's a sugar based scrub which is different from the scrubs I've tried before. Previously I've used two salt based scrubs; one from Lush and one from Tree Hut. I'm extremely excited to try this scrub out, and can't wait to do a review on it!
When it comes to nail maintenance, there are many different products on the market. Pictured above, are the items I use most often on my own nails. I don't necessarily use all of them every time I give myself a manicure; sometimes I need one or two of them for a quick fix. If you're interested in a particular product, just find the number below and it will list a description / how I use it.
1. Cuticle Remover
This product comes in several forms including gel and liquid. Its purpose is to remove excess skin around the nail bed and nail walls, which is basically anywhere the nail meets the skin. It works by chemically breaking down dead skin for easy removal. There are many different brands of cuticle remover at various price points. I myself have only tried two different brands, Sally Hansen and Pro FX (pictured above). The Sally Hansen cuticle remover runs from $5-$6 for 0.9 fl oz, whereas the Pro FX version is roughly the same price for 5.6 fl oz. That being said, the Sally Hansen formula was more powerful and seemed to be more effective at removing the excess cuticle. However, I personally prefer the Pro FX cuticle remover, because it still works well and lasts me about 6x as long.
2. Almond Oil / Cuticle Oil
Cuticle oil is a mixture of oils used to keep cuticles healthy and moisturized, and it can also be applied to the nail itself. It can be purchased from most drugstores, but it is also relatively easy to make if you're feeling a DIY project. If you're looking for an alternative to purchasing cuticle oil without concocting your own, you could use just one oil such as almond oil. I like to clean out an old nail polish bottle and refill it with almond oil, so I can easily brush it on.
3. Cuticle Trimmer
This tool can be used to trim excessive skin around the cuticles that cannot be removed with cuticle remover alone. This tool is also great for trimming painful hangnails instead of ripping them off. If you maintain your cuticles regularly, you may never need to use this tool, and even if you do, you shouldn't need to use it very often. I would recommend using cuticle remover and pushing your cuticles back before cutting them.
4. Cuticle Cream
This product serves essentially the same purpose as cuticle oil, however, the consistency is very different. Because this product is more of a cream, I prefer to first apply cuticle oil which I let soak in, and then I wash it off and apply cuticle cream which I leave on. It seems to absorb better, and doesn't leave the skin feeling as greasy as oil does. Because this is just my personal preference, you could just as easily use one product or the other rather than both.
5. Nail File
Nail files typically serve two purposes; to shape and shorten nails. If you only need to take a small amount off your nails, it may make more sense just to file them rather than break out the nail clipper. There are many different types of nail files; mylar, metal, padded cushion, ceramic, and glass. and they vary in coarseness. From my experience, mylar and metal nail files are very harsh on nails, and I would not recommend using them. However, glass and ceramic files are very popular. I personally prefer cushion-files, like the one I have pictured above, because I don't like the way glass files feel on my nails*. Once you've chosen a material you like, you need to pick the level of grit. When it comes to choosing the proper coarseness, the higher the grit number, the finer the file. Higher grit files are used for shaping artificial nails such as acrylic or gel whereas, lower grit files are used shaping natural nails, or buffing / shining nails.
*Update: I personally recommend using the Bliss Kiss crystal file which can be purchased here.
6. Orange Wood Stick / Cuticle Pusher
This tool is used to gently push the cuticles away from the nail plate. This process not only defines the natural curve of the cuticle, but also helps remove any dead skin that builds up around the nail bed. If done regularly, it can reduce the need to trim cuticles. Cuticle pushers are made of several materials including orange wood, metal, and plastic. For nail art purposes, orange wood sticks can be filed into a point to be used as a dotting tool, although some are already come this way.
7. Nail Buffer Block
Lastly, the four sided buffer block is another tool that is often used for filing. Some buffer blocks have the same coarseness on all four sides whereas others have varying grit levels. Along with filing, this tool can be used for buffing and shining nails, or sealing your nails' free edges after filing. Coarser blocks are typically used for buffing false nails, and blocks with varying grit levels often instruct you to use all four sides to buff your natural nails to a shine.
I hope this post was helpful and informative, and as always, please feel free to leave feedback or questions in the comment section!
If you've been keeping up with me on Facebook, you know I cut my nails recently. They're the shortest they've been in what feels like years, but nearly every nail had a break of some kind, so I decided to start over. Making the big cut was a huge shock to me and I hated the way my nails looked initially. Over time I got accustomed to the length and it was actually kind of refreshing. I thought this would be a good time to blog about my nails, since I'm pretty much starting completely from scratch. I'll be making a couple posts about my nail growth experiences and maintenance, along with tips and tricks I learn along the way. To get things started, here are a few tips about cutting and filing your nails.
I know some of these tips may seem like common sense, but I hope you still found this post helpful. As always, feel free to leave comments with any questions or suggestions you have for me, and I'll try to get back to you as soon as possible. The cuticle oil in the picture above is from Urban Outfitters, and the photo is linked to the site. More posts about my nails to come, so keep an eye out!
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