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Call me Chelle. I am a married mom of two grown sons who works full time with crazy hours. I love scouring Pinterest, You Tube and blogs for nail and beauty tutorials, contests and swatches.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

My 10 Nail Essentials(L'Occitane Hand Cream Rant)

Wow I can't believe it's been a week since I last posted. It has been a busy seven days. My son was home from college for spring break. We spent a whole day doing his hair. He is starting dreadlocks and I had to wash and retwist his hair. That was exhausting.  I was so happy to spend the week with him. He brought one of his roommates home with him too. I cooked several large dinners, we played video games and talked sports. Although I am so proud of my son it still makes me cry every time he goes back to college. I have mastered holding it in till after he is gone :). I am still working on shopping for my giveaway goodies. I have a few things but I want this first giveaway to be a good one so I'm going to try to gather up some fabulous hard to find prizes.

Anyway today's post is a summary of the ten things I can't live without when it comes to my fingernails. I have posted pics of the specific items I use. So let's get into it. Here is a group shot of my little nail buddies.

I'll start from the beginning and list the everything in the order I use them. Now don't get it twisted I don't use all this stuff every time I do my nails but I do use them at least once a week.

1. Sugar Scrub- I got mine from a friend for Christmas. It is made by a local spa and the scent is heavenly. Its great for exfoliating and softening up my hands. There is another I want to try that I will mention later.

2. Cuticle remover- this one is from Avon. Nail Experts Instant Gel Cuticle Remover. Its the only one I have tried so I don't know if there are others out there that work better but I am happy with this one. I love that the lid is a cuticle pusher. I just follow the directions on the tube and it works wonders. My husband loves pedicures and this product breaks down his thick overgrown man toe cuticles in no time flat.

3. Wooden Cuticle Pusher- I buy orange sticks in multipacks at Sally's or Target. They are great for other things besides pushing cuticles and cleaning under nails. I own a "dotting tool" but I find that nothing gives me symmetrical, identical little dots like the pointy end of my orange stick. They are also great for cleaning up stray polish that is still wet.

4. Nail File- I don't use nail clippers unless I have a broken or snagged nail to trim. I shorten and shape my nails with a nail file. I prefer the medium/fine grit. The course ones seem to make my nails split. I save these for my toes since toenails by nature are thicker than finger nails. Remember to always file your nails in one direction. Now sawing back and forth that causes your nails to split.

5. Four Way Buffer Block- nothing fancy really. Just a four sided nail buffer to remove ridges from the surface of my nails and create a smooth nail. Using this helps keep my nails from yellowing and it seems to make my manicures last longer.

 6. L'Occitane Dry Skin Hand Cream- this is my holy grail hand cream!!! I ran out and decided that I was going to try some others because this one in the full size tube is $28. I tried Eucerin, Nivea, Bath and Body Works(shea cashmere & silk) and Ahava hand creams. None of these were terrible but I couldn't get the same results my L'Occitane gave me. It makes my hands super soft, its not sticky or greasy, it has a nice soft scent, absorbs quickly, lasts through two to three hand washings, and it kept my skin around my nails in the best shape it has ever been in. I realize it is expensive for the full size tube 150ml/5.2 oz but it only takes a pea size amount to moisturize my hands and I've got some pretty meaty hands. My first tube lasted me 6 months and 3 of those were winter months. The way I figure that breaks down to $4.66 a month which is cheaper than every one of those other hand creams I tried. It contains 20% Shea Butter and in my opinion its the best thing on the market for your hands. L'Occitane makes a shea butter body scrub I'm going to try when I run out of my sugar scrub. Wow I guess that turned into a rant didn't it? Ha!

This is the 1 oz mini tube sells for $10. Yes its cheaper but five times the product for  only $28 seems like a much better deal to me. I would suggest the mini though if you just want to try it out without the investment.

7. 100% Acetone nail polish remover- besides the obvious use for removing even the most stubborn glitter nail polish I use a little on a cotton swab to remove any moisturizer from my nails before I polish them. My sister who is a nail tech tells me that this makes your polish adhere to the nail better like a prime.

8. Base Coat- now this may be where I lose some of you because for a lot of you OPI Nail Envy is your "be all end all" base coat. I own some but I only use it when I'm not going to apply polish on top of it. It seems to make my nail polish peel off very quickly and I don't like that at all! Instead I use OPI Natural Nail Base Coat. It provides a smooth even canvas for my little works of nail art and it dries quickly. Something in the formula helps prevents polish from chipping and peeling.

9. topcoat- Seche Vite. Yes I know it can get thick after awhile(making sure you keep it tightly closed helps with this). Yes I know some complain that it has an extremely strong smell. Yes it costs up to $10 depending on where you buy it. I know all these things but I have tried lots of quick drying top coats and I only like two. This and Out The Door. They both give you a quick drying shiny manicure. OTD has version called northern lights that has subtle silver holographic glitter in it that makes your cream and jelly laquers really pop. I am currently out of OTD which is why its not pictured here. OTD does not smell as strong or thicken up like SV but its not as readily available as SV. I have only found OTD at Sally's.

10. One inch flat artist's brush- I bought mine at Michael's in an eight piece set for around $5. I use this with my polish remover to clean up wayward polish around my nails. Its also great for getting those color runs out from under your nails when you remove a highly pigmented nail polish. Make sure the brush is stiff enough to do the job. If its too soft it won't "scour" well enough to remove polish and it will fold over and ruin your fresh mani as you run it around your cuticle.

I hope this helps some of you out there reading this. If you have suggestions or holy grail nail products that differ from mine let me know. I'm always looking to try new things and learn new tricks. Please take the time to follow my blog. If you choose not to that's okay too but I would love a comment from you telling me why so that I can improve this little blog. I do this because I want to help ladies feel better about themselves. I wish I help everyone Love Themselves!

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