31 May 2014

The Big Hand and Nail Care Post!

Today's post is a big different than usual - I will be going over my favorite nail and hand care products! This is a post I have been meaning to do for so long, because I enjoy sharing with you all what products I absolutely love to use! I hope you enjoy it and find the information useful. ;)

In my opinion, there are three things you need to succeed as a nail blogger: nail polish, creative ideas, and well-moisturized hands. Well, if you’re a nail polish enthusiast like me, you’ve already got nail polish and a few good ideas up your sleeve, so today, let’s focus on the hands. They are potentially the most important aspect to being a blogger – what good is a great swatch or beautiful nail art on dry, crusty fingers? Today I want to share with you my favorite products for keeping my hands (and nails!) soft, smooth, and camera ready. Please note that I purchase most (if not all) of these products and I am not sponsored by any of these brands – this is just what works for me! (And it might not work for everyone!)

Let’s start with base coat. It might not seem like an important part of hand care – nobody ever SEES your base coat, right? Well, base coat is like underwear. You can’t really go out without underwear (well, let’s not have a discussion about that, haha!) and it’s important to have good, comfortable, high quality underwear. Base coat is the same. It keeps your nails from staining, and often times, it strengthens your nails too. My favorite base coat is Duri Rejuvacote. It is known for making soft, peeling nails healthy and strong. (Please note that this product doesn’t work for everyone. I know plenty of people who have different results with different base coats; you really just have to try them all and see what works for your nails!) I use Formula 2, which is formaldehyde free. I find that this base coat keeps my nails strong and beautiful, and I rarely use any other base coat!

While we’re on the subject of painting nails, I will tell you my favorite topcoat: KBShimmer Clearly on Top Quick Dry topcoat is my go-to for a quick drying, super glossy finish. I use this topcoat for most of my swatches and nail art, and I find it gives my nails a beautiful shine. It also last long without chipping. I love it!

Alright, let’s move onto hand care. There are a lot of products I use to keep my hands camera ready:

There’s nothing more relaxing than using a sea salt hand scrub! Personally, I’ve used a lot of brands before, and I find they all work just the same: just take a small amount of scrub and massage your hands with it, then rinse off to reveal smooth and exfoliated hands. If you’re interested in a slightly less gritty formula, you should consider purchasing a sugar scrub instead. Both work just fine! I use this lavender scented sea salt scrub from my local food market about once a week on my hands, and it smells lovely. It’s also great to use on your legs in the summer!

Washing your hands can really give your skin a beating. You should always keep hand lotion in your bathroom to moisturize after you wash your hands – or, you can use a moisturizing soap like Tone Hand & Nail Soap. I decided to buy this soap to see if it really kept my skin from drying out after washing my hands. I do notice a slight difference, but the cost of hand soaps like these tend to be pricey so I don’t think it’s necessary. I only use this soap after I remove polish with acetone, which really dries out my hands.

My holy grail hand cream is LUSH Lemony Flutter – anyone who’s in the nail blogging world has no doubt heard of this magical product. It’s an incredible hand and cuticle butter that’s packed with moisture. Only a tiny amount is required to really smooth out your skin. I rub a dab of it on all my cuticles before every single swatch. One 1.5oz tub of this cream is a bit pricey - $16.50 USD at LUSH stores – but it truly lasts forever. I have been using the same tub for over a year now, and it’s still not empty (but of course I have backups!) Not to mention, it smells incredible. In the winter, I put some on my lips and elbows to keep them soft as well.

If you find that your cuticles need love all the time (trust me, they do!), you need to buy this incredible KBShimmer Cuticle Oil Pen. My favorite scent is “Pink Sugar” – it smells good enough to eat! This portable cuticle oil pen is a perfect product to keep in your purse and use on the go. I actually use this product right before I take my nail photos, because it doesn’t leave any greasy residue and my cuticles look soft and healthy after I use it. You’ll want to buy backups of this product – I remember almost crying when I ran out of my first pen! I ordered more that very same day.

So you think that’s it for cuticle care, huh? Well, you’re wrong! I like to use a more “oily” cuticle oil before going to bed, so it really soaks into my cuticles overnight. I wouldn’t recommend using cuticle oil right before swatches (except for the cuticle pens I mentioned above) because they leave your hands looking a bit too shiny, but it’s great to massage in the cuticle oil before bed and let them soak in while you sleep. I’ve been using Island Girl cuticle oils, and I love them! They have great scents that really help me fall asleep, too. But, Island Girl is pretty difficult to come by (unless you happen to live in Hawaii or Las Vegas!), so try different brands and see what works for you. My favorite kinds are the ones in regular nail polish bottles that you paint onto your cuticles and nails.

My absolute favorite lotion is OPI Avojuice. It’s so moisturizing and it leaves my skin soft and smelling great without looking too greasy (perfect for photos!). I find that it’s also a bit expensive, but I think it’s worth the price tag for beautifully moisturized skin! I only use this product on my hands, to keep from wasting any product.

I also recommend using any hand and body lotion you can get your hands on (pun intended) as much as possible! I’ll admit I always snag those little lotion bottles from hotel rooms and keep them in my purse ;) as well as a ton of other brands! I think the most important tip I can give anyone is to just moisturize all the time, no matter what brand you are using. Lotion is lotion, after all! These are just the products that I love because they work for me.

Other tips: never cut your cuticles! Always just push them back with a cuticle pusher, or use my personal favorite tool, your thumbnail, after softening them with lotion or oil. You should also try to avoid cutting your nails. I never cut my nails; I always use a file to keep my nails at a healthy length. It’s more time consuming to file, but it keeps your nails strong and less likely to break. (One of my biggest pet peeves besides dry skin on bloggers is when they have all their nails at different lengths! Avoid breakage by filing on a regular basis, and don’t be afraid to go shorter if you have a bad nail break!)

I think that’s all the information and products I use. I hope this helps you! Let me know if you try out any of the products I’ve recommended – I would love to hear about your results. And remember – always moisturize!

PS: One thing I can’t stress enough is that great skin, cuticles, and nail art (and of course, the followers that come with it!) do not come overnight. Here’s a few photos of my nails when I first started, versus how they look now:

 Look at those cuticles! Did I moisturize them with a permanent marker, or what?! (Fun fact: I used to photograph my left hand instead of my right, even though I am left-handed. For whatever reason, I thought I was required to photograph my left hand for my blog, lol. I wish I could say that’s why my “before” photos are so poor, but I was pretty bad at painting both hands! Haha!) I am not afraid to admit that I come from VERY humble beginnings! We all have to start somewhere, and I like to think I improve every day. You can read more about my blogging tips here.


  1. Great hand and nail care post! It was so nice to see what you do to keep them in good shape. Love seeing the improvement too.

  2. OMG, I literally gasped when I saw your before photos! o_O
    Thank you so much for this post and your recommendations! :)

  3. Great post ;)
    Don't use the same products but I'm specially tempted to buy the famous LUSH Lemony Flutter. :) *

  4. Fabulous post Kelli! I always love to hear what bloggers use right before their photos. And since your photos are BEYOND perfect I will definitely be picking up one of the KBShimmer cuticle pens for that last minute moisture before a photo. Nothing I hate more than taking photos and looking back to see I was a little too greasy. I also enjoyed the before and after.. Dear Lord you have improved haha!

    1. Thanks so much, Rei! I think you'd really love the KBShimmer pens, I just give them a minute or so to soak in and then I'm good to go for a picture! And yeah, oh man I'm glad I've improved, LOL!

  5. Love this! I also love the pink polish that you are wearing in the photos...could you please tell me what it's called? Thanks!! =)

    1. Oops, I forgot to mention it! It's OPI "Hotter Than You Pink" ;)

  6. Love seeing those progress pictures :). Can I ask if you've tried the original Duro formula too? And if so, why do you prefer the newer formula?

    1. Thanks, Deborah! I have actually never tried the original formula, I use Formula 2 because it is formaldehyde free ;)

  7. Magnificent goods from you, man. I've understand your stuff previous to and you're just extremely great. I really like what you've acquired here, really like what you are stating and the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still care for to keep it wise. I can not wait to read far more from you. This is really a great site.

  8. Where do you buy the rejuvacote 2? The only places I see that sell it are ebay and amazon.


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