I’ve had quite a number of you guys email me asking how I do manicure clean-ups, how I give myself a proper mani and what products I use when I give my fingertips a good pamper session. I thought I would answer your questions by doing a blog post covering all of the questions I have received.
I enjoy treating myself to a manicure but I hardly EVER go to a salon for a mani / pedi because most of the time I leave quite disappointed. The manicurists either flood my cuticles and don’t do any type of cleanup or they clip my cuticles into non-existence. I never clip, snip or bite (ew…) my cuticles because I have never had any issues with them & I also don’t push them back with an orange stick (I find one can damage the nail bed if you are not careful). Oh, and by ‘treating’ I actually mean giving myself a proper manicure – clip, file, buff, paint, oil, mask, you name it – the whole shebang!
Let’s get down to business, shall we? I’ve numbered the items in the sequence I would use them whilst giving myself a manicure.
1. Woolworths Dual Textured Cotton Rounds – to remove your existing nail polish. Retails for R 19,99 at Woolworths but loads of other brands i.e. Dove also make these.
2. Foil – to remove your glitter nail polishes. Not sure what I’m on about? Check out this blog post. Retails for R 14,99 at most grocery stores.
3. Bourjois Magic Nail Polish Remover Jar – this is a time- and energy saving method to remove your nail polish (plus there’s no need for cotton rounds). The Bourjois one pictured above retails for R 79,95 at Clicks stores but you can also get a super affordable one at Dis-Chem, check out this post.
4. Essence Nail Art Nail Polish Remover – I use this baby to remove my nail polish (when I’ve run out of my trusty Bourjois or Concord nail polish remover jars mentioned in number 3 above) & clean up around the cuticles after I have painted my nails. This stuff is industrial strength and makes nail clean-up a breeze. Retails for R 19,95 at selected Clicks & Dis-Chem stores.
5. Manicure set – to cut, clip and clean those nails. I generally only use the nail clippers, scissors and metal orange stick tool to clean up under the nail. I have this exact set and it was super cheap on eBay – R 80,00 (plus free shipping).
6. Essence Studio Nails 4-in-1 Professional Nail File – this is my favourite nail file of all time. I find other nail files start to split or peel after a while, this Essence nail file lasts for so long and you can use it to shorten, shape, buff & polish the nails for added shine. Retails for R 22,95 at selected Clicks & Dis-Chem stores.
7. Essence Precise Eyeliner Brush – I use this to clean up around my cuticle area once I have painted my nails. There is nothing worse, to me, than seeing a flooded cuticle area – if you are unsure of what a ‘flooded cuticle’ is, this is when you have applied too much nail polish to the nail and it pools around the cuticle area (it kind of looks thicker there). If you take the time to just do a quick cleanup after you have applied you nail polish (wait for it to dry a bit first), your mani will look like a professional did it – promise! That’s how I get my nail polish to look so perfect around the edges. You can take a look at my Instagram photos here (and while you’re at it, you can follow me too). All you need to do is dunk the eyeliner brush in your nail polish remover, shake off the excess polish remover and run the edge of the brush around your cuticle area. Then clean the brush by patting / rubbing it onto a cotton round – easy peasy! Retails for R 22,95 from selected Clicks & Dis-Chem stores.
8. Sally Hansen Diamond Strength Base Coat – best base coat EVER! It strengthens the nail whilst creating a protective barrier between your nail and the polish (this means no stained nails, ladies). If you have soft, fragile & chipping nails, this base coat is for you! Retails for R 99,99 at Clicks and Dis-Chem stores.
9. Essie Nail Polishes – my number 1 favourite nail polish brand because they have such an incredible selection of colours. Retails from R 110,00 upwards at selected Clicks, Dis-Chem & salon supply stores OR online from Takealot, Zando & Rubybox. I buy my Essie polishes on eBay because they work out to about between R 80,00 and R 100,00 per bottle (including shipping) plus you have access to all the new collections too.
10. Nails Inc Nail Polishes – I love the names of their polishes, they all sound so posh! Plus I have found the polishes to last for a good 3 to 4 days on the nails without chipping. Retails for R 109,00 at selected Edgars & Red Square stores.
11. OPI Nail Polishes – another firm favourite of mine, I have to commend OPI on always releasing the most interesting collections and coming up with truly incredible textured polishes. Retails for between R 130,00 and R 160,00 at selected salon supply stores, Clicks & Stuttafords stores and from Twincare South Africa. I personally buy my OPI polishes on eBay because they work out to about R 100,00 per bottle (including shipping) plus you have access to all the new collections too.
12. Mavala Minute Quick Finish Top Coat – super fast drying top coat, this one dries within minutes and prevents your freshly painted manicure from smudging. Retails for R 59,95 at selected Clicks & Dis-Chem stores.
13. Essie Good To Go! Top Coat – I alternate between the Mavala top coat and this one, both work equally well by drying your mani in a couple of minutes. Rather opt for quick drying top coats, ladies, because the only time we’re completely helpless is when our manis are wet. Retails from R 169,00 upwards at selected Clicks, Dis-Chem & salon supply stores OR online from Takealot & Zando. But remember, the Mavala top coat is only 5ml, this one is 15ml.
14. LUSH Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter – I’ve mentioned this cuticle butter here and here. I still use this cuticle cream very religiously as I find really does a great job of nourishing and moisturising the cuticle area. I tend to suffer from dry cuticle areas, this means even the area above the cuticle is dry and dehydrated. Rub this super rich butter all over your cuticle area, let it soak into the skin and after a couple of uses you will definitely see a difference – the result? Soft, supple & moisturised cuticles. Retails for R 105,00 from LUSH stores or the LUSH SA online store (currently out of stock online though – booo!).
15. OPI Avoplex Nail & Cuticle Replenishing Oil – another firm favourite in my manicure routine. I alternate between Lemony Flutter and this cuticle oil as I find both give me the same result – smooth, healthy cuticles. Avoplex is enriched with Vitamin E, avocado, sunflower, sesame and kukui nut oils to lock in essential moisture. Retails for over R 300,00 at selected salon supply & Stuttafords stores and from Twincare South Africa. This is one of those items you HAVE TO buy on eBay, I paid just over R 100,00 (including shipping) for my bottle.
16. Soap & Glory Hand Food Hand Cream – I apply this luxurious hand cream after every mani AND every night before I go to bed. The scent of this hand cream is truly something special – if you know what Miss Dior Cherie smells like, then you will recognise the top notes immediately. There’s a reason everyone and their auntie have raved about this hand cream – the relatively light consistency packs a punch when it comes to nourishing & moisturising the skin without leaving your hands feeling greasy / sticky. I even have a sizeable back-up stash of this too, just in case… Retails for R 169,95 from Rubybox.
Would you guys like to see a ‘Manicure Routine’ blog posts with photos? Kind of like a step-by-step tutorial? I’d be happy to try do something like that for you, so let me know in the comments section below.