Between work, grad school, and the terrible cold I’ve had the last few weeks, my nails have been in pretty bad condition. I haven’t done any nail art in a while, but I thought I’d share some of the staples I’ve been obsessed with lately. Most of them are products I’ve been using for years, but I’ve made a few new discoveries in the last month that have completely changed my nail game.
1. Revlon Box o’Files. This thing is a life saver. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve broken nails outside of my house and turned to this. It’s basically a matchbook of nail files. Each one lasts a very long time. I think I’ve had mine for about to years and have only used one file to the point I had to throw it away. The files are pretty standard nail files, but I love the portability and the fact that they stay in the box, so they won’t scratch up everything in your purse. Plus, they come in a ton of cute (and seasonal) patterns).
2. Smith’s Rosebud Salve. A true multi-tasker. I have gone through approximately a hundred of these since high school, and I don’t see myself ever not using it. It’s a bit greasy, and I use it mostly for my lips, but there is nothing better for dry or cracked cuticles (except maybe the last product on this list). It even softens hangnails.
3. California Mango Cuticle Remover. This is the only cuticle remover I’ve tried, and it’s not a product I use often, but once in a while it’s definitely necessary. I have pretty short nail beds, and my cuticles can get kind of unruly, making them even shorter. This stuff is actually pretty gentle on my hands, removing only what actually needs to be removed, and leaving the rest nice and soft.
4. Seche Vite. I have tried a lot of topcoats. I’m not going to say this one is my absolute favorite, because it has its flaws (ahem, shrinkage), but it unfailingly dries whatever polish you put it on top of in about five minutes. A must have for a tired grad student who does her nails before bed and has to wake up early for work. My coworker thought I was insane for changing my polish every day or two until I bought her a bottle.
5. Orly Bonder. This is a new favorite for me. I’ve heard great things about this for years, but I’ve always been a use-whatever-basecoat-is-there type of person. I stocked up on a ton of free OPI basecoat a few years ago, and am still going through it. And while that is good, this stuff is amazing. It actually prevents the dreaded Seche Vite shrinkage (!) and makes my polish last about twice as long as it usually does.
6. Nail Buffer. I’m partial to the Tropical Shine one from Sally’s, because it lasts a bit longer, but I’m not picky when it comes to buffers. I have pretty bad nail ridges, and I think nail polish looks so much better on smooth nails, so this is definitely an essential for me. Plus, if you’re going to bare nail route, this will make your nails look super shiny and amazing.
7. Coconut Oil. Another new discovery. This one was accidental. I tried a coconut oil mask on my hair a few weeks ago, and noticed it was completely amazing for my bare nails. I could literally feel a difference in a matter of minutes. My nails were shiny and healthy looking and I swear they feel stronger. I’m not entirely sure this made a huge difference on my hair, but this was the best thing I’ve ever put on my nails. So go pick up some coconut oil and make yourself a “nail mask”. I promise, your nails will thank you.
What are your “nail essentials”? Let me know in the comments below!