Nail Care

Nail Care 101

Nail CareThis is a long overdue post! Nail care is by far the most requested post topic that I get. The reason I never did a post on my nail care routine is that I didn’t think I really did much. But then I started thinking about it and as a nail polish blogger I by habit pay more attention to my nails than the average person.

Granted, I am blessed with good nail genes. I don’t have particularly troublesome nails. My main  nail concerns are dry cuticles (I have very dry skin…thanks mom!) and my nails have peeled for as long as I can remember. Currently both of these nail issues are under control due to a combination of factors.

Below the jump I go into detail about my nail care routine including my favorite products!

Before I get started I do want to say this is what works for ME! I can make no guarantees anything I do will work for you. Just wanted to cover all my bases.

I’d love to know what your nail care routine is so please leave it in a comment 🙂


I do my nails almost everyday which I realize is nowhere near normal! So I figured I’d start there.

Nail Polish Removal 7The way I remove my nail polish has significantly helped both my cuticles and nails. I did an entire post on my nail polish removal method so I’m not going to go into it again here. The reason it helps so much is the time my cuticles are exposed to nail polish remover is minimized as is the amount of rubbing with a cotton ball I do to remove the polish. Nail polish remover (acetone or not…) is drying. And rubbing the cotton ball continuously over my nail contributed to my peeling problem. Also, when I remove my polish, I move the cotton ball up the nail which prevents any minor problems become major because I’m not rubbing the cotton ball down the nail.

Once I remove my current polish I immediately put on hand cream. I never (and I mean never) do my nails without putting on hand cream after removing polish. Avon’s Skin So Soft wintersoft hand cream has been my favorite hand cream for years now, though when that hand cream isn’t available I use the Avon Moisture Therapy hand cream. They’re both super moisturizing.

What that does mean is I have to wait awhile to let it soak in before I can do my nails. Generally, I try to wait at least 15 minutes (but the longer the better!). If I really don’t have time, I’ll put on hand cream, focusing on my nails and cuticles  rub it in as much as I can then wash my hands. But that is not ideal!

Beyond what I do during a manicure I moisturize my cuticles (almost) every night with Smith’s Rosebud Salve. Technically  your nails are dead. So it’s important to keep your cuticles moisturized so new nail growth will be healthy.

There are a list of things I don’t do which contribute to keeping my nails healthy. I have never cut my cuticles. I don’t push them back, either. I never use a nail clipper to cut my nails, I always use a nail file. I quit using 100% acetone nail polish remover ages ago and that helped significantly with my dry cuticle problem.

I have no idea if any of this will be helpful to anyone, but this is truthfully what I do to maintain my nail health. If you have any tips you ‘d like to share please leave a comment!

10 thoughts on “Nail Care 101

  1. Amy December 17, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Sorry if I’m missing something obvious, but what DO you do with your cuticles? I’m a bit of a nail polish n00b, but I thought that if you didn’t do anything to them, they were pretty visible.

    • Alli December 17, 2012 at 11:34 am

      All I do is keep them moisturized and the way they look in my swatches are how they just naturally are!

  2. craftynail December 17, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Thanks! I love hearing nail care tips!

    • Alli December 17, 2012 at 11:34 am

      You are welcome 🙂

  3. Emma December 17, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    does the hand cream not cause the nail polish to just lift off your nail? if I have any oil near my nails before painting my nail polish (usually done early evening) is lifting and peeling off by 10am! I too suffer peely nails and very dry skin. I sit and apply oil every hour or so when I’m at work. When I’m off work I am not so good with routine!!

    • Alli December 17, 2012 at 1:17 pm

      As long as I let the hand cream completely soak in I don’t generally have that problem. I can tell pretty quickly if I didn’t wait long enough because the polish will bubble. If that happens I just wash my hands to get the excess oil off.

  4. Nat December 17, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    Balanced diet and lots of water (I know, boring). I found my nails split and broke every fall…then I started taking vitamin D. Huge improvement, no exaggerating. If you aren’t good to your body, it’ll catch up to you; take it from us old ladies!

  5. Kathy December 18, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Nat, you are so right. I take Vitamin D and Biotin, as well as drinking water and oil my nails at least twice a day. If I miss a day, I will have a peel or crack in a day or two

  6. Imagique Hair Salon April 23, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    Just like what Nat said. Diet can affect nail health.

What do you think?