Friday, September 18, 2020

Protect and Care of Your Tiny Canvases

     I have a whole arsenal of products I use to keep my nails nourished, protected, and healthy.  Do I really need all of it, probably not.  But as a bored, quarantined, empty nester I have filled my time with this hobby, and maybe went a little overboard...just a little.  There are essentially three habits that are in my opinion are the most important to have for keeping your nails in great health.  After that there are extra steps/items you can add to your routine as you want.

The Basics

  1.  Cuticle/Nail oil.  This is important as a well hydrated nail will generally bend and not break, it will also aid in helping solve peeling and cracking.  It is important to at least do this in the morning and night, but I do it after each time I wash my hands.  To simplify this I have nail oil pens all around my house, and take one with me when I go out.  Also a good non-greasy, quick absorbing oil is best.  Pretty much all indie polish makers create their own brand, most have fun scents and sell a variety of application methods, sizes, and refill options.  However this can get expensive.  An alternative is to make your own, and it's actually super easy.  Natasha Lee has a good video on how to make you own and another on how to refill your pens. But refilling some pens can be a bit difficult, so you can also choose to use empty nail polish bottles, dropper bottles, doe foot tubes, or roller bottles.  Whatever you find works best for you. I purchase my oils at Wholesale Supplies Plus

  2. Glass Nail File.  I was surprised by how much I liked glass nail files.  I had seen them used by many Youtube gurus, but figured it wouldn't make a difference.   It wasn't until I received one in my Maniology Mani X Me Box that I started to use it and noticed I liked it. But even so it wasn't the best quality.  There are ones you can get that are cheaper but are created by a sanding material being applied to the glass.  A good quality glass file is created by the glass being etched to give it a super fine grit surface.  I noticed a huge difference after using compared to my finest emery board nail files.  The edges of my nails feel smoother after filing and I have noticed they split and peel less.  A good set isn't all that expensive and should last a lot longer than an emery board, and they are washable.  I always give mine a quick alcohol spray and wipe before I put away.  I was also surprised that despite how fine the grit is they can take length down pretty easily, and you can take more off than intended if you don't pay attention..whoops. Mont Bleu makes a nice set (is the ones I personally use) you can purchase on Amazon for only $9.95.  It's a set of three, a large 7.68 inches that I keep at my mani desk, a medium 5.31 inches I keep at my computer desk, and a small 3.54 inch that I keep in my pocketbook.  They are surdy, but they are glass so dropping them could cause it to break so extra care is needed. Ultimately though when choosing look for ones that are etched.

  3. Never NakedAlways have some form of polish on your nails, base coat & top coat is a bare minimum.  Your nails are not living tissue and do not need to "breath", leaving them unpolished leaves them more susceptible to breaking.  There are many makers of top/base coats and it is important for each person to decide what works best for you.  My personal favorite top coat for all manis are Vibrant Vinyls - Fast and Hard and their matte top coat You Matte-r is a favorite of mine as well.  As far as base coats go I have several that I go between a few depending on what I need.  I have pretty ridged nails so a ridge filler is pretty important to me, especially when wearing a multichrome or holographic polish.  I have three that I go to, Vibrant Vinyls - Double Bond when I need my many to level well and last a long time, plus you can get it in the same scent as your top coat.  If I want to level and strengthen and nourish I go to either Anchor and Heart - Mermaid Tears  or I will also use Chirality - Factory Reset.  Factory Reset is generally a week long treatment to restore damaged, weak nails.  Excellent to use after nail extension removal, I also use it as a basecoat and it also levels well and lasts well.  You can also use Mermaid Tears or Factory Reset alone in a couple of coats to protect if you just want to be somewhat bare.  Both have a slight nude color.  Other brands I use - Cuticula, and Glisten & Glow.

    Optional additional things I do
Extra things I do to care for my nails is take supplements - Hair Skin & Nails, and use a nail fortifier cream Cuticula - Confection Nail Fortifier right before I polish, and I use and an additive Baronesse X - Acetone Antidote in my acetone to reduce the drying effects when removing my polish.  Also never trim/nip off the skin around your nails.  That is not cuticle, but is your proximal fold.  Your cuticle is a substance that grows out with your nail. 

 A really good video on how to do a perfect home manicure is Natasha Lee's Top 5 hacks to a perfect DIY manicure at home.  I love her tutorial videos.  Lastly never use your nails as tools.  Use a spoon or tool to open pop tabs, use your knuckle to push buttons - elevator or microwave.  All of these things will help you to grow stronger nails.   

Additional products/resources I love and use.


Sunday, August 16, 2020

In the Beginning


    It all started May 2019 when I saw a post or maybe it was a Youtube video suggestion, I honestly can't remember.  But it led me to Maniology, I looked over all of their items.  I was still clueless as to how stamping worked, but was impressed with all the images you could create on your nails, and I wanted to learn how to do it.  Before making any purchases I wanted to see what I might be getting into and what all I would need to buy, so the video searches began.  I watched a few here and there before settling on a favorite channel, Guylene 325.  For her there wasn't any editing out steps or little mistakes and her slightly snarky but humorous dialog was educational and entertaining, and after a few videos & her discount code I was ready to make my first purchase.  I right off the bat joined the Mani X Me subscription, May was a mermaid set and I love mermaids.  I also purchased the beginner bundle Rebel Yell.  I loved the techie/nerdy/gamer themes. I spent hours polishing, stamping, removing, repeat.  My nails were short, thin, and peely so I didn't have a lot of room to work with at the time but I did my best to choose designs that would work.

    I also found Aliexpress,  where I could purchase Born Pretty, Beauty Big Bang, KADS, and a plethora of inexpensive nail art and stamping supplies all I had to do was have the patience to wait at least a month or two for shipping.  I found Lantern and Wren, Uber Chic, and as I watched more videos the more places I found shop.  Then I started finding out about indie polishes. P⋆O⋆P Lipslick was my first indie polish purchase and it was my first indie love.  From it's unique bottle to it's sexy shiftiness, it just blew me away and is still today one of my favorites.  I mean just look at it, it is just so freaking gorgeous!

    So it has been about a year and a half since I started this hobby, and it is still a constant stream of preorders, group buys, box subscriptions and I love it all.  I love the friendly community and has been a place to escape, and I love looking over the year and seeing how my nails have improved and how my skill in stamping, polishing, and photographing has improved.  Today I am starting this blog and an Instagram account to even further this hobby of mine, and I can't wait to see what I will have accomplished a year from now.