Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Blogmas Day 16 | Festive Nail Essentials

I'm as guilty as the next person of applying nail polish in a slap-dash fashion half an hour before i'm heading out the door.  And yet i'm still annoyed when I see that it has almost immediately smudged.  Us women clearly cannot have it all, eh?  However, there is a lot to be said for taking your time and making a bit of a 'thing' of properly doing your nails.  Over the past couple of years I have amassed a little kit of products which I know I can rely on to help create a long-lasting manicure and I thought I would share them with you.

Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover & Boots Essentials Manicure Sticks
If there is one thing that spoils any manicure, it's dry flaky cuticles.  The Instant Cuticle Remover makes light work of softening cuticles and makes it a doddle to then push them back.  In the early stages of using this, I had to snip away my fairly substantial cuticle skin (my god, there is no way of wording this nicely), however with continued use it really does keep them in check.

Leighton Denny Crystal Nail File
I very rarely actually cut my nails with scissors or clippers, and prefer to use a crystal nail file.  I bought this file around 3 years ago and let me tell you, it's been well-used.  At first I couldn't quite believe I had spent £12.50 on a nail file, however the promise of a lifetime guarantee really sealed the deal.  The file feels very gentle on the nails - there's no rough sandpaper feel like a regular file.  The crystal file helps to both smooth and seal the edges of your nails.

Mavala Nail Polish Thinner
Not strictly part of the manicure itself, but this is an unsung hero of a product.  As the name suggests, it helps to thin and revive any polishes which have become thick or gloopy.  I sometimes find that my glitter polishes tend to dry out most quickly, so a few drops of this and a good shake and they are back to applying smoothly again.  Apparently this can also thin out the oh-so-famous Seche Vite Top Coat when it starts to thicken.

Essence The Gel Base Coat and Top Coat
I am aware that I have already raved about this recently, but I cannot get enough of this duo.  The base coat has a matte finish, and it feels like your polish then sticks onto the base coat.  The top coat is super glossy, and although it is not marketed as quick drying, it is at least touch dry in no time.  It also lives up to it's gel name in that it lasts and lasts.  I can get about 3 times as long out of my manicure when I use these products - so, for example I can get 2 days out of a normal polish, but i'm still going strong for a week when I use the Essence base and top coat.

Saffron London Gold Flakes and Barry M Treasure Chest
A full-on glitter nail isn't always appropriate - well, I think it's appropriate, but my work may disagree!  So applying a flaky gold top coat is a not-so sparkly compromise.  It can be used as a light coat on all nails, built up as a glittery accent nail, and I love the way it can refresh a 2-day old manicure.  The gold is definitely a staple colour - it seems there is no colour it doesn't go with.

What are your manicure essentials?
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