26 June, 2012

My hand & nail care routine...

I should have done this post a long time ago.  I've been asked a few times to share my hand and nail care routine so here it finally is!  One important disclaimer:  I just need to remind you I'm not a beauty professional or manicurist, I'm just a beauty fanatic and these are the hand products I currently have on rotation. (I am known to change my products on a whim, particularly when it comes to hand cream because I'm a total product whore!)  Anyway, here we go...

Hand & cuticle moisturisers
I've always got at least a few hand creams on rotation, and my highly original mantra is "moisturise, moisturise, moisturise!" because my skin on my hands is really dry, sensitive and prone to cracking if I neglect it. I always try to apply after I wash my hands (which is frequently), and last thing before I go to bed. At the moment I have two tubes on my bedside table and one in my handbag/purse:

Aveeno Intense Relief hand cream - The first of the bedside table brigade this hand cream is the sensible "cotton underwear" option in moisturisers, and a soothing, reliable option I turn to when my skin's particularly dry or I have an eczema flare up. I've been wearing this one a LOT lately because the wickedly cold weather and the drying effect of indoor heating have been playing havoc with my skin

MOR Orange Blossom hand cream - I bought this earlier this year for the unusual orange blossom scent and the very pretty tube. Luxe packaging is suitable for the boudoir so that's why it's the second hand cream taking up residence on my bedside table. It is rich and lovely and as long as my hands aren't cracked I'll slather it on just to smell the scent!

SHE Sheer Brightness hand cream - To be honest this tube's my current handbag staple just because it was at the top of the hand cream stash! I bought it for the youth preserving properties and the list of magic ingredients include Vitamin C, Antioxidants, Pomegranate and Vitamin F. It absorbs quite well and leaves my skin soft, but the essential oil scent is a little heavy for my personal taste.

OK, when it comes to my cuticles I'm not as vigilant about specifically moisturising them as I should be and I'm also guilty of not using a cuticle remover. I'll use cuticle treatments when I remember and when I apply the treatment and the cuticle has softened I'll very gently push them back. My favourite cuticle moisturiser is Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream but currently I'm using:

Sally Hansen Quick Care Massaging Cuticle Care Treatment - This is quite a nifty little product but it gets buried in my makeup purse and I forget about it! The sweet almond oil and mango seed butter are housed in a pen applicator. One twist and it oozes through the rubber bristle tip to quickly massage into the cuticles and there is a curved edge on one side of the tip perfect for easing the cuticles back

Lucas' Papaw Ointment - This soothing all-rounder sits on my bedside table and I'll use it as an overnight treatment for dry, ragged cuticles and anything else that's dry and ragged! Click here for a full review.

Shaping tools
I very rarely use nail clippers to shape my nails and it's only when I want to drastically shorten them, so instead I use my nail file at least weekly to keep them even and under control.

Glass nail file -   I use a glass file to shape my nails rather than an emery board as it doesn't wear down and need to be replaced and it is gentle on my nails.  I have noticed my nails split and chip much less than they used to since I switched from emery to glass so now I have one of these at home and and a pretty crystal bejewelled version in my makeup purse.

Buffer - I'll use a buffer once a month to smooth out any ridges on my nails.  I'm careful not to overdo it and never buff more frequently than monthly as the buffing thins and weakens the nails if done too enthusiastically.

Remover, base & top coats
Because I do my nails quite frequently (i.e. more than once a week) I stick to moisturising polish removers and nourishing, strengthening base coats to minimise the chemical damage.  And because I'm always in a hurry I use quick drying, long lasting top coats! Currently these are:

OPI original polish remover - Recently repackaged in a sleeker, slightly larger bottle for the same price (Yay!) this remover does a decent job of removing my polish and moisturises my nails with aloe vera.  From time to time I do try other products but keep coming back to this and I really don't want to think about how many litres I've gone through...

OPI Nail Envy nail strengthener -  I have used this treatment for years and it seems to have saved me from the damage caused by years of nail biting.  I'll wear two coats over naked nails as a strengthening treatment, although I haven't had naked nails since I started blogging!  Mostly I'll wear a single coat of Nail Envy as my base coat and it works really well as a smooth, protective base for coloured polish. 

China Glaze Fast Forward Top Coat - Not my usual quick drying top coat of choice (Hello OPI RapiDry!) but I saw this at a beauty discounters so decided to try it.  It's a bit stinkier and smells more toxic than OPI and has a skinny brush but - bottom line - it does dry quickly and my manicure can last up to 6 days with a single application.

Sally Hansen Megashine Extended Wear Top Coat - This is my other top coat of choice and it really gives that ah-may-zing lacquered shine to any mani.  It dries almost as quickly as RapiDry so it's touch dry within a few minutes and is a really durable top coat where week long mani's are required.  I alternate happily between this and RapiDry.

Quick dry drops
A friend (and follower) introduced me to quick dry polish drops and I've been hooked ever since.  Because I need my polish to dry so quickly with all those colour changes and I want my cuticles to look you know, nice, in those unforgiving closeup pics, quick dry drops take care of both of those needs.  My manicure is good to go in minutes and my cuticles are moisturised by the oils.  Usually I'll use OPI's Drip Dry Drops but at the moment I'm trying Sally Hansen's Speed Dry Drops.  These are considerably more affordable than the OPI drops but are a little oilier so they're not my personal fave.

So - now you know it takes an army to take care of my hands!
  What are your must have hand or nail care products?

Until next time.

Vita :)


  1. I took have so many moisturisers, and I moisturise every time I wash my hands and before bed too! My hands are very, very dry as well so I have to take care of them!
    After reading this I think I'm going to convert to a glass nail file! They sound amazingly better, but I had no idea Manicare made them! So thanks for sharing your routines! I definitely got a lot of tips! :)

    1. Thanks Jasmine :) Try the glass file, you should notice a difference pretty much immediately. It's so soft and doesn't fray the nails at all!

  2. lovely :) i really need to get another manicure. Its been way too long !!

    Alexandra Marie
    Check out my blog ! :)

    1. A professional mani is such a treat! I haven't indulged in one of those in a looong time :)

  3. I totally don't take as good care of my hands as you do, I feel bad reading all of your mini reviews! Quick dry drops are next on my list I think, sounds perfect for lazy nail-smudging me!

    1. I think the fact that I used to bite my nails and I suffer from seasonal eczema kind of forced me to take good care of my hands - but then again I'm a sucker for things that smell and feel lovely on my skin so I don't think twice about applying and reapplying hand cream!

  4. Oh man, now I feel like I neglect my hands terribly! ._. I use a hand cream (Cake Beauty) and this is only a recent development, LOL. I should probably put more effort into this, especially since I'm a hobbyist rock climber and am constantly chalking up my hands. Oh well.

    1. Oh wow you must have strong hands and arms to be a rock climber - I'm in awe! Lucky girl if you don't need to work at it with your skin although Cake Beauty sounds irresistible just from the name alone. I'd be reapplying it like a fiend, hehe!

  5. I can't stand not having hand cream at the ready, no matter where I am. It's nice to get a glimpse at what you're using. :)

    I think it's time for you to get a professional size jug of that OPI remover! And yes, thanks for reminding me of how toxic those China Glaze things were. Never again for me!

    1. I remember seeing that massive bottle of OPI remover on your post. Those bottles aren't readily available in the stores down here so I need to go hunting for that one! Thanks for inspiring me to do this post BTW - I told you I'd show you my hand care stash :)

  6. Great post Vita. Being a nail polish junkie myself and constantly switching up my nail polishes, I tend to look for various products that will help out my poor dry cuticles. Definitely have added a few to my list now to check out, thanks:)

    1. I'm glad you found it useful! I put off this post for ages but it turns out it was worth sharing my experiences after all :)


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