cuticles

My Nail Care Routine

I get asked all of the time about my nail care routine. How do I grow them, shape them, keep them long, what products I use, how I do my own manicures – so many questions…which I’m always happy to answer!

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I’ve drafted this post many times, but had yet to publish it (warning: it’s very long)! After receiving nail care Q’s from my most recent #ManiMonday (well, #ManiTuesday) Instagram post, I decided it was time to finally wrap this up & get it live!

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Favorite Summer Products

Living in New England, we have the luxury of experiencing four completely different seasons. While I’m definitely not one to smile at the thought of snow, I must admit – in some weird way, I do look forward to it every year. Each season means something different to me, and last year I began a few  traditions to fully embrace each one. However, my main rule is no jumping the gun! Meaning, it may finally be September, but if I’m still wearing sundresses & sandals – it’s too early for a pumpkin spice coffee & apple picking!

With that said, it is inevitable that Summer is slowly coming to an end, and I’ve begun cleaning out my closet, bedroom, and my makeup drawers to prepare for all of the amazingness that is Fall! In doing so, I’ve come across quite a few empty products that served me so well this season, and I wanted to share! So without further ado, here are some of my…

summer faves

airbrush
Airbrush Legs Makeup. I discovered these products over a year ago & still swear by them! They can be found in any drugstore, Walmart, Target, etc. and they range in price from about $10-$15. They give the best instant tan! Just make sure that you are applying in the bathroom to avoid any messes.
arbonne
Arbonne Made in the Shade Self-Tanner. My Aunt had purchased this and wasn’t much of a fan, so she gave it to me. I totally lucked out, because not only did I find this stuff to be amazing, this bottle usually retails for about $30! It’s not instant, but I would shower & exfoliate before bed and then apply, never failing to wake up in the morning with the best sun-kissed glow! I rarely spend so much on a product, but I nearly used this entire bottle and will SURELY be purchasing another one very soon!
cc scrub
Clean & Clear Deep Clean Action Exfoliating Scrub ($5-$6 in most drugstores). I fell in love with this face wash in college & have swapped it in and out of my beauty routines throughout the year. This Summer, it was my go-to! I definitely prefer face washes with some kind of scrub or exfoliant in them, I feel like it helps to clean out my pores of all makeup residue. This wash in particular leaves your face feeling cool & totally refreshed.
coil
Sally Hansen Vitamin E Nail & Cuticle Oil (About $6 at any drugstore) By now you SHOULD know that I am a cuticle oil junkie. I stash bottles, pens, and balms at my desk, in my purse, by my bed and everywhere in-between. I love to keep this oil at work because it’s easiest applied when sitting. I’ll coat my nails every hour or so, and it helps to keep nails/cuticles super hydrated & strong. I went through 2 bottles this Summer!
jergens
Jergens Natural Glow + Firming Daily Moisturizer. (About $8-$10 at any drugstore). While I am not a huge Jergens fan, mainly because of that lingering odor, this firming lotion smells & works amazing! It has almost a birthday cake/vanilla icing scent to it. If I really wanted some deep color, I would apply it at night mixed with the Arbonne spray above.
lotion
Sally Hansen Nails & Cuticles Hand Creme ($5-$6 at any drugstore). I always have hand lotion on me – and this one is great to keep in toe. Anything that moisturizes & is beneficial for your nails is A-OK in my book.
masclotion
Maybelline Falsies Flared Volum’ Express Mascara ($6-$7 at any drugstore) AMAZING mascara! I have naturally long lashes & am usually not phased by any mascara, but this stuff is incredible! I’ve already picked up two more tubes. CVS Brand Oil-Free Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15 ($8-$9) SPF in your lotion is key for the Summer. This lotion is a dupe of a Neutrogena product & works just as well. I have combo skin, and this balances it just perfectly. I recently picked up another bottle for Fall 🙂
nyc
NYC Appleicious Glossy Lip Balm ($2-$4 at drugstore) these are my new favorite lip balms! Super moisturizing & add just enough color & shimmer. I just finished my second one. I tried the Chocolate Apple & Big Apple Red flavors.
vase
Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizer – Aloe fresh ($6-$9 at drugstore) Saved the best for last! This is a quick, convenient, continuous-spray lotion that moisturizes deeply and absorbs instantly. Leaves your skin soft & not the least bit greasy. I could not swear by this product any more – so amazing for Summer when moisturizing is at an all time high. I literally took it with me everywhere!

Phew. That seemed like quite the list, but I was really impressed with each and every one of these products!

Have you tried any of my Summer Faves? What products were you loving this year? Let me know! 🙂

How-To: At Home Gel Manicures

I am a devout gel mani enthusiast and regularly do them at home. People are always asking me where I get my nails done and are surprised to learn that I do them myself. It is SO much easier than you’d think. Those contemplating buying a kit for home, I would highly suggest it. I wanted to share just how easy it is with my step by step tutorial:

(Just a heads up- I use a combination of OPI Axxium and Gelish products. Gel manicures consist of a base coat, nail color, and top coat. Mixing products is not totally taboo)

(My friend Stephanie sent this to me! ^ I died when I saw it, I had to share :))

Okay, so here are my nails at the start. I had experimented with tips the week before so they were looking pretty rough to begin with…

1) Using a buffing cube and nail file- buff and shape your nails until they are smooth on top and have your desired shape/look.

2) There is a clear, liquid solution that is applied to your nails before you begin applying any polish- it helps dry out the nail so the gel will adhere (I apologize, I forgot to photograph it-nothing too exciting lol).

3) Base coat. This is a Gelish Mini Foundation base coat- apply a thin layer to all nails on your first hand without touching the surrounding skin or cuticles.

4) Cure nails in the UV light for about a minute.

*TIP* Don’t touch your nails with anything but the polish brushes throughout the manicure until they are completely done, beacuse they will be tacky each time they come out of the UV light.

5) Paint your first coat of color onto all five nails, again making sure to refrain from touching the edges of your nails or cuticles. I chose to use “Exhale” a Gelish Mini color.

6) Cure under UV lamp for another minute.

7) Apply second coat of color.

8) Cure under UV lamp for another minute.

9) Apply a thin layer of clear gel top coat. I use the OPI Axxium top coat.

10) Cure for 2 minutes.

11) Spray all 5 nails with the nail cleansing solution to help remove any tacky-sticky residue. I use the NAS-99 nail cleanser that comes with the OPI Axxium starter kit.

12) Rub each nail with a cotton ball to remove the solution and tackiness.

13) Repeat steps 1-12 on your second hand.

And there you have it! Your nails are 100% dry, super shiny, and should last for about 2 weeks!

If you have a steady hand and like to do your own manicures, I would highly suggest investing in your own gel manicure system, it is definitely affordable and worth every penny! 🙂

Does anyone else do their own nails at home?

**UPDATE**

I wrote this post last Friday and waited a week to share so I would have an updated picture. Here are my nails this morning… 8 days later 🙂

They are still flawless, but I’m so tempted to paint them a new color! Decisions, decisions 🙂

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