A couple of months ago, I mentioned in my Instagram stories that I was going to begin answering some beauty-related FAQ’s! I thought it’d be a good idea to tackle these Q’s by category and since nails, nail care, nail polish, and nail growth are my favorite subjects to speak on, I figured I’d begin there! 🙂

These questions have been left in comments, sent via DM, or asked in person multiple times over the years! If you’re a bit manicure-obsessed (like me), be sure to read until the end, I just launched something fun for the #ManiFam!! Alright, let’s just jump right in…

What is your favorite topcoat? 
I think the best topcoat on the market is the Essie Gel Setter. It dries fast, wears long, and applies thick and glossy like a gel. Regular manicures using this topcoat often outlive my actual gel ones. I like to save this polish for my “nice” manicures…the ones I put a little extra time into. For quicker manicures, I like the ONM Out The Door topcoat. It’s a bit more affordable, dries instantly, has a decent shine and lifespan, and the bottles seem to last the longest! 

What is your favorite nail polish?
I love the Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure polishes; both the regular and “no-UV” gel versions. I love the wide brush, the formula, and the wear time! For gel manicures, I use all Gelish products and polishes.

How do you do your own nails?
Giving yourself a salon-quality manicure is totally doable, it just takes a little bit of practice and a lot of patience. I filmed a YouTube video last Summer sharing the entire process start to finish. Watch here:

How do you do your own gel manicures?
I’m planning to film a video tutorial soon (I’ll share it on my YouTube channel), but in the meantime, I shared the gel products, UV lamp, and other tools that I use in this post! 

How do you keep your nails from chipping?
Good products help! I always cap the edge when painting my nails, and constantly use cuticle oils and hand lotions – keeping everything hydrated makes all the difference. But most importantly, be careful with the way that you use your hands. Remember, nails are jewels, not tools! 

How do you grow your nails?
I’ve come to learn that no supplement, polish, or treatment is going to make my nails grow faster, but I do know a few things:

  • Wearing a gel manicure for 1-2 weeks will help kickstart the growth by preventing any breakage.
  • My nails grow significantly faster in the Summer
  • Wearing gloves when washing dishes and not using my nails to pick, scratch, or open things is so important! Again, NAILS ARE JEWELS NOT TOOLS 😉

Tips for making your nails stronger?
Gel manicures or a thin layer of acrygel is the easiest way to add instant strength to weak nails. (Acrygel is a coat of gel base polish dipped into acrylic powder and cured under a UV lamp). When doing my nails with regular polish, I’ll paint a layer of clear base coat underneath the nail to help thicken it up! I also take the Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides powder (on and off) and Nature’s Bounty Hair, Skin, and Nail gummies daily. I’m not sure that they really do much, but they are SO delicious! If you have any nail strengthening supplements that have worked wonders, let me know.

How do you remove your gel polish?
I start by removing most of the polish with a buffing cube. From there, I’ll pour a bit of acetone into a small dish and soak my nails for 5-10 minutes. This softens the remaining polish, allowing you to push it right off with an orange stick leaving ZERO damage to the nail itself. Just be sure to thoroughly wash and rehydrate your nails when you’re done.

What’s your favorite cuticle oil? 
I’ve been loving the Essie Apricot Cuticle Oil lately! I included it in my 2017 Beauty Favorites, but I also really like:

How do you take an Insta-worthy picture of your manicure? 
Natural light if you can! 99% of my manicure pictures are snapped outside or in front of a window using my iPhone! In the Winter, I like to wrap my fingers around a cozy sweater sleeve, scarf, or fuzzy blanket for a cute shot. Make sure you use a touch of cuticle oil and moisturize your hands prior to snapping so they don’t look too dry. 🙂

I hope my fellow mani lovers found this post interesting and helpful! I could chat about nails for days, which brings me to an exciting announcement…

Someone recently heard me mention my “Mani Fam” in a YouTube video and asked if they could join. I had to clarify that it wasn’t an official group, it’s just how I refer to the people I talk all things nails with on Instagram. The inquiry inspired me though! I loved the idea of having a place for mani-lovers to convene. Upon further investigation, I realized that an IG hashtag I often use, #ManiFam, was pretty dead. So I decided to claim it. While at it, I created an Instagram account as well: @TheManiFam!

Now I’m slightly hesitant to take on another account, but I want this page to be a fun, low-stress, interactive place for fellow nail polish enthusiasts to gather, explore, and share their favorite manicure-related things! I plan to repost photos and videos that catch my eye, run some mani-related giveaways, and build a fun and intimate community of ladies + gents who share in the interest. If you or someone you know loves polish, please send ’em over!

Welcome to the mani fam! 🙂


6 comments on “Nail Care FAQ + Join @TheManiFam!”

  1. This is SO timely, because I just posted my first mani pic in FOREVER yesterday!!! (I’m going back to add the hashtag… Ha, ha). Taking care of my nails and keeping them pretty is one way that I’m going to invest into my life this year, despite the busyness of being a mom. (I probably won’t have my nails done all the time, but I’m excited to do them more often this year. I hadn’t painted my nails in well over a year, and I missed it SO much). And I’m so glad that you reposted your mani video, because I was just thinking about how I needed to watch it yesterday. 🙂
    I definitely plan to invest in gloves for doing dishes and cuticle oil.
    Excited about your new instagram page! 🙂

    • YAY for a fresh mani!! It’s one of life’s simple pleasures and definitely a way to take care of and treat yourself. I have to go check out your picture, I must have missed it. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and are excited about the new page, I don’t want to stress myself out about it, I just want it to be a fun place to share all kinds of mani tips + inspo! Thanks so much for checking it out!! 🙂 Happy Monday XOXO

  2. Yes! I am eagerly awaiting your gel tutorial! I dug out my UV lamp and have been doing my gel manis (with Gelish products) for almost 2 months now, and each one gets a little bit better than the last! Honestly I have trouble getting them to last more than a week and a half (I think I need to work on thinner coats) but I do love that I’m not spending money at the nail salon and that I don’t have to worry about smudging! This was really helpful!

    • That’s awesome that you ended up pulling it back out again!! It really just does take a bit of practice. I’m lucky if I get two weeks of gel without any lifting at all…but that was the case when I got them done at a salon too! I usually file/glue any lifters which prolongs the life significantly, but I think it has a lot to do with how old the bulbs and polishes are. Whenever it’s time for me to replace either, my manicure always lasts at least twice as long. Hopefully I can film the tutorial next time I sit down for a mani!! 🙂

  3. Amanda, I’m so excited about this! Thank you to whoever asked to join the Mani Fam and inspired you to make it official! My husband will also be thrilled, because he doesn’t even pretend to fake interest whenever I show him my fresh manis and pedis. Okay, he’s a guy, so my over-the-top obsession is completely lost on him. I can’t wait to follow along! I agree about Sally Hansen; that specific line is my fave also. I really love the brush.

    • I got a FB message and I was like…that’s actually a really good idea!! I’m so glad you (and your husband) are excited LOL!! The men don’t understand how real the mani-love is. 🙂 I’m still trying to figure out the best way to approach the account, I just want it to be a fun + helpful page – send me any ideas if you have them!! XOXO

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