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!
If you've read my post about prepping for colder weather, you know I love to stockpile lip balms so I always have one on hand. I keep them in my backpack, coat pockets, my car, my nightstand, etc. This being said, there are some brands I prefer some brands over others. My primary lip balm of choice is classic ChapStick brand cherry lip balm. However, after working at a Packer game outside in Green Bay about a week ago, my lips became extremely chapped and irritated from both the cold and the wind and I needed something a little stronger. I picked up a medicated lip balm by Maybelline from Target and my lips instantly felt better, so I thought I'd share it with you.
I purchased Baby Lips Dr. Rescue by Maybelline in#55 Coral Craze. It's a menthol external analgesic medicated balm that relieves discomfort from cracked or chapped lips almost instantly. It also has a little bit of tint which helps lips appear healthier while they're healing. It has a slightly strong menthol smell which I personally don't mind because it's not strong enough to be noticeable after it has been applied. I also personally enjoy the packaging because it seems to be more effective than that of most other lip balms. Many other lip balms have a wheel of sorts at the bottom which allows the product to be twisted out of the tube. However, when I keep them in my pocket, they often accidentally get twisted which is a minor annoyance. The Maybelline packaging on the other hand, has a larger wheel that locks in place when the cap is on, so I don't have this problem. Maybelline Baby lips usually runs just under $3.00 which is pricier than ChapStick brand, and I know that ChapStick does make a medicated lip balm as well that is also quite effective, so it's up to you to decide if it's worth the extra money.
I hope this brief review was helpful and informative, and as always, I appreciate your feedback! Thanks for reading!
Although this winter hasn't gotten very cold yet, it has still been quite drying. My hair has become especially dry which is a side effect of winter I don't normally have to deal with. Oddly enough I think this is because I haven't been neglecting my hair as much as I normally do come wintertime. Normally I'm running late and wouldn't have enough time for my hair to dry fully before going outside, so I throw it into a messy bun rather than washing it. However, it's actually beneficial to wash your hair every other day, and because my hair is so long, tying it back also protects it from the harsh winter winds. However, this winter I've given myself enough time to let my hair air-dry in the mornings, so I've been washing it every day and wearing it down. This routine requires a little extra hair maintenance, so I tried an oil treatment to refresh my hair overnight. I eyeballed everything, so I don't have any exact measurements, but I used a combination of coconut, almond, and extra virgin olive oils. If I had to guess, the ratio would be 3:1:1 respectively. I combined all three oils in a microwave safe dish and heated them up so the mixture was warm but bearable to touch. I then ran the mixture through all of my hair focusing specifically on the ends of my hair. Next I wrapped my hair in plastic wrap to secure my hair, and then foil to keep the heat in as long as possible. In case any of the oil were to leak out of this wrap during the night, I also wrapped my head in a towel to protect my pillow case. The next morning I removed the wrap and washed my hair as normal. For maximum benefits, I would suggest leaving this treatment in overnight like I did. However, for a quicker treatment I would suggest leaving this in for maybe 20-30 minutes before washing it out. I hope you found this post helpful and try this hair treatment out for yourself!
In my experience, athletic apparel can be the most expensive category of clothing. Because of this, when I work out I tend to wear old, baggy T-shirts and athletic shorts that always seem to ride up on me. When I heard about these capris from SecretLifeOfABioNerd (link to the specific video), I was a little skeptical because they were from Old Navy. When I was younger, Old Navy was one of the stores my mom took me to, but I was at an age where I wanted to shop at the stores my friends shopped at, like Aeropostle. Now that I've grown up, I decided to give Old Navy another try.
I looked at some reviews on their website for these carpis, and people were very positive about the fit. Not only did these capris get such rave reviews, but they were only $22.94 which is a crazy deal; about half the price of what most athletic apparel costs. I'm 5'2" so pants are always too long on me, but these capris were the perfect length. I would definitely recommend these for shorter people, but Old Navy also offers petite and tall sizing for many of their clothes. Another issue I have with finding pants, is that despite having a very small waist, I am bigger in my hip/butt region. Most pants that accommodate my behind are way too big in the waist and either ride up or fall down. However, these capris have a small waist that stretches just enough so I can get them on and off, but remains tight to my waist once I have them on.
To sum everything up, the length is great for my height, they stay in place throughout my entire workout, and the detailing in the seaming is very flattering. It's hard to find cute workout clothes for a decent price, but Old Navy has managed to manufacture an amazing product. I would highly recommend these capris to anyone, and I'm very glad to call this my favorite product of April!
This item was purchased by me personally and this review is not sponsored in any way. These are my personal opinions and I hope you find them helpful!
During my spring break trip to Florida, I was running around so much that by the time I got home I was too exhausted to properly take care of my skin. As a result, after returning home I sprouted a few blemishes I'm not too happy with. A blemish here and there is normal for me, but this outbreak is unusual so I've decided to keep a sort of skin blog with daily pictures along with what I'm doing/using to treat my skin so I can see how effective my methods are. I hope you find this helpful and please feel free to comment with questions or suggestions.
Five main trouble spots present along with unevenness in skin tone. Skin appears tired and dull.
I first used my Conair facial steamer followed by a mud mask. Before bed I used a toner and spot treated my blemishes with apple cider vinegar and prescription acne medication.
Same trouble spots present, and although redness is still very much an issue, blemishes are flatter and less irritated. Skin appears brighter, more rested, and youthful. (I know the lighting is better in this picture, but my skin still looks brighter).
I washed my face this morning as normal and followed up with my usual oil-free moisturizer. At night I spot treated with another prescription acne medication.
Blemish near my hairline is basically gone, however the other four areas are persistent and the areas around those blemishes are becoming more irritated. The blemishes themselves are showing signs of healing.
I washed my face as normal in the shower and followed up with my daily moisturizer. I skipped any other treatment to give my skin a break because prescription acne medication can be pretty harsh and tends to dry my skin out.
On my right cheek, all but one blemish have healed, however this still some redness where the blemishes were. The blemish on my forehead was very irritated this morning and had some discharge (gross I know, but I'm going for full disclosure).
Immediately when I woke up, I applied some apple cider vinegar to remaining blemishes as well as the discolored spots because it can help with lightening the skin. I then washed my face with a face scrub to remove the dry skin around my blemishes due to the acne medication. I followed up with my daily moisturizer.
Blemishes on my cheek are completely healed, just waiting for hyper-pigmentation to fade. Blemish on my forehead is still inflamed but healing.
Didn't do much today for treatment, just washed my face with a charcoal cleanser in the morning. I showered after work and exfoliated using my facial brush and followed up with moisturizer.
Hyper-pigmentation is fading significantly on my cheek. Two more very small blemishes are appearing on my right temple. Forehead blemish is flattening out.
Same routine as yesterday, just washed my face in the morning, exfoliated in the shower after work and then used moisturizer.
The blemish on my forehead is really drying out and as a result has some flaky dead skin around it. The irritated spots on my right temple haven't progressed much and I suspect they'll be gone soon.
I was really lazy today and didn't wash my face in the morning. Took a shower at night and exfoliated and moisturized like the previous two days.
Blemish on my forehead is still healing. Three spots near my right temple are irritated, but not nearly as severe the blemishes on my cheek were. As of today, I pretty much feel like this battle is over.
Washed my face this morning and followed up with toner.
I've decided to try to post at least once a month and I thought a good way to do that would be to talk about a favorite product for the month. This month for spring break I got to go to the ocean for the first time. Because of this, I needed to get some waterproof makeup products. I didn't want to bring very much makeup, just enough to naturally enhance my eyes and cover some blemishes. I settled on two eye shadow, a waterproof mascara, an eyeliner, a brow pencil, and a tinted moisturizer and foundation.
This month, my favorite product would have to be one of the L'Oreal infallible eye shadows I picked out. I wanted to get two colors; one for my lid, and one for the crease area to add definition. I also didn't want to bring any makeup brushes so I wanted eye shadows that I could apply easily with my fingers. After some testing, I decided to only wear the lighter of the two colors: #997 Eternal Sunshine, which wore better in water and I didn't have to use an eye shadow primer. Because the color was so light, any creasing that may have occurred wouldn't be noticeable. The other color I bought is #890 Bronzed Taupe and is also a great color, but it just didn't wear as nicely as the lighter color. Both colors have a slight shimmer to them and feel very soft and creamy although they are not cream eye shadows. They were both very pigmented, and I really liked the packaging not only because of appearance, but also practicality. Each shadow comes with a piece of plastic which helps tamp down the eye shadow between uses. Overall, for me these eye shadows lived up to their hype and I would highly recommend them for summer wear because they last well through sweat and water. I would recommend the color Eternal Sunshine specifically because gold tones tend to look good on any skin tone and I personally really liked this color.
Just like we prep our bodies and skin for warmer bikini weather, we also need to prep for the harsher winter temperatures. This is often something that gets overlooked because we don't typically look forward to cold weather. However if we neglect taking care of ourselves, we face dealing with cracked and chapped skin which is harder to get back to normal than if we had kept up with a beauty maintenance routine in the first place. This post explains my favorite tips and tricks to complete your winter survival guide.
Tip #1: Lips
I'm sure there's more things I'm not thinking of right now, but for the moment these are my winter agony prevention tips. I hope you found this post helpful, and if you have any questions don't forget to comment!
The last time I posted about my skincare was almost exactly a year ago, so I decided to post a little update. This year has had a lot of ups and downs as far as my skin is concerned. While living in my dorm room first semester, I rarely took care of my skin properly because it was easier for me to just go to sleep with all my makeup on than to walk down the hall to our bathroom and wash my face. Yes I admit it, I'm guilty of a huge beauty no-no, and I battle with this bad habit all the time. When I moved into my first apartment, I managed to properly wash my face every morning but didn't use toner or moisturizer and I still didn't always remove my makeup at night. Now that I've moved into a new apartment, I am determined to start off on the right foot and take proper care of my skin. Here are a few tips and tricks that help stay on the right track to beautiful skin.
About My Skin: I have combination skin to normal skin, meaning certain areas of my face are oilier than others. I don't get very many breakouts anymore, but I do still struggle with blackheads and the occasional blemish. I also have been noticing more unevenness in my complexion such as redness around my nose and cheekbones, and darker pigmentation where blemishes have healed.
Tip 1: If you're going to try a new product, use it consistently for a while before you make a decision about it. Something I've noticed about myself is that buying new products seems to motivate me to take better care of my skin for a while. However, the 'thrill' of having a new product eventually wears off and I end up back to my old ways and my skin shows it. If you've found something that works for you, stick with it. Don't feel like you need to go out and buy the latest new product just to have beautiful skin. This being said, don't be afraid of trying new things either, but keep in mind that the way your skin reacts to something may take time to show. Many people try something expecting to see results immediately and end up getting discouraged when they don't.
Tip 2: Find what works for you! Just because someone is doing something a certain way doesn't mean it will work for you. Start building your skincare around what your skin needs by choosing products that cater to your skin type (dry, normal, combination, oily).
Tip 3: Remember you don't have to do everything at once; start with the basics! If your skincare routine is nonexistent, first try washing your face every morning. Then once this becomes a habit, introduce something new like a daily moisturizer or toner.
Tip 4: Get organized! If your skincare products are thrown somewhere in a drawer, you probably aren't going to want to dig around to find what you need. If you have the space, displaying them neatly on your bathroom counter can also serve as a reminder to use them. If not, find some other way to keep everything organized such as a hanging organizer for the back of your door or in your closet.
Tip 5: Drink more water! Water not only keeps you hydrated, but it hydrates your skin as well. It can also flush out toxins from your body that may be causing your skin distress.
Top 5 Products I Use Now:
DIY Acne Mask
I saw this mask on Pinterest the other day and was really excited to try it out. It's a face mask that is supposed to help with acne, and lately I've quite a few stress related breakouts. All you need are three ingredients: 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and ½ teaspoon of cinnamon. I tried this mask out the other day and was planning to use it several times over the course of one or two weeks. I wanted to film my results along with a short tutorial on how to make the mask, but after using it once, I'm severely discouraged. The ratio of ingredients didn't seem to work very well (at least for me) because I ended up having to add more honey just to get everything to mix properly. Once it was mixed up, I applied it to my face and waited about 20 minutes before washing it off. The mask was a huge sticky mess and large drops of this mixture kept dripping down my face onto my clothes. When I tried to rinse the mask off, it was nearly impossible to get everything off. The cinnamon was like glitter that just wouldn't come off, and I felt like I had to scrub too harshly to get the honey to come off. After much frustration, my skin didn't feel any different than it did before the mask. My skin didn't get worse either, and I want to give this mask another try because there's always the possibility that my one experience was a fluke, but I'm having a hard time bringing myself to coat my face in honey again. If you have tried this mask, please leave me a comment and let me know how/if it worked for you!
I've never been good at keeping a journal, but I've always wanted to. I hope you enjoy my sporadic posts about beauty, fitness/health, and various other topics.
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