1. Exfoliate & Moisturize - The first step to any great mainicure is to exfoliate the dead skin cells and then moisturize. I love the Mary Kay Satin Hands set (also comes in peach scent). It's a 3 step process that provides 1. hydration, 2. exfoliation and 3. mosturization. It only takes a few minutes, and does a great job removing dead cuticles.
2. Clip & Shape - I love to keep my nails somewhat short. My nails are very dry and brittle, and I find that if I keep them short they tend to break less. Shorter nails also look cleaner, especially with dark polish. One tip when shaping them is to start with the coarser side of your emory board and then finish off with the finer side. Also, how about this cute manicure set? I have something similar that I have been using for years, but love the outer cover of this one (click the link to see). A good manicure set is necessary for at home manicures.
3. Get Buffing - Before I begin polishing, it's nice to go over your nails with a buffer block. This will help to even out your nail bed and your polish will go on much smoother. It will also help to remove hang nails and the rest of those dead cuticles. Make sure to then throughly wash your hands with soap to remove any loose skin cells.
Now that your hands and nails are in good shape, it's time to get polishing...
4. Apply a Base Coat - A base coat is really important to finish smoothing out your nail bed and to ensure your polish will stay on your nails. So far I've had pretty good success with the Sally Hansen Double Duty Base and Top Coat. It can also be used as both a base and a top coat, but I have another favorite top coat that I like to use.
5. Polish it Pretty - I love Julep polishes and they have some great colors. They are really thick and high quality and you can sometimes get away with only 1 coat of polish, 2 max.
6. Top it Off with a Top Coat - Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat is so far my favorite top coat. It drys super fast and super hard so I don't end up with cracks in my polish. Typically I can go 5 days with pretty perfect polish before I get a chip or two. I'm kinda excited because I have the Oxygen Performance Top Coat coming in my next Juelp box to try and I have heard good things about that top coat too. More to come on my thoughts on this product.
7. More Moisture - After your nails are polished, continue to apply hand cream throughout the day to keep your hands and nails protected from the harsh elements and to keep them pretty. You can even apply some coconut oil at night to your hands and cuticles for a natural way to moisturize. Put on a pair of light cotton gloves if you want to keep your bedding/hair/face from getting greasy.
As far as polish goes, I love wearing darker colors for Winter and save the brighter colors for Spring and Summer. Right now I'm totally loving all of the berry and purple colors. The Sandi color was in my January Juelp Box and is a really pretty dark eggplant color. And the Winter and Misti colors remind me of fresh winter snow. The Evelyn hands down is my favorite color right now. It's dark, but would add some nice color to my Winter wardrobe. I might need to add this color to my wish list.
Do you have any great nail tips for Winter? What is your favorite winter nail color?