Nails / The Look Book

My Hand & Nail Care Staples

Have been almost 2 years since I last updated on the nail care products I like. Awhile ago, I replenished a few of my nail care staples and I thought it would be perfect to take some pictures while they are still looking new.

From my last post, items seem to have multiplied but these are great products which I would love to share.

To begin, let’s take a look at my bare nails and a little nail story.

I like to keep long nails occasionally, mostly square but some times round. My nails can get a little yellow after having a dark nail colour on and no amount of buffing can help even out my nail surface it seems.

My nail care starts off by getting my nails done at the salon monthly. I guess it has become part of my routine and a hard to kick-off habit now, like having my monthly facial. The therapist will help me tidy my cuticles (most essential step), shape my nails and paint a fresh layer of nail colour.

For rest of the month, I change my nail colour every 2-3 days myself. Is it just me or it’s hard to sit still when waiting for nails to dry at home?

As I always have nail polish on, I try to take a nail break (usually 2 days) every now and then to let my nails breath, have some fresh air and free from all the chemicals. During this nail break, I will do a nail mask.

I apply a thin layer of ECRINAL Fortifying Cream and massage it into the nails and around the cuticles before applying a generous amount of ECRINAL Nourishing Beauty Mask on top. The cream nourishes and stimulates growth whereby the mask improves nail strength and resistance. Together, they are a fabulous couple.

Applying cream prior to masking also helps in the removal of the mask – the mask will dry off in approximately 10-15 minutes (I try to leave it on slightly longer – say 25 minutes), like a peel off mask for nails if you ask me. It’s rubbery. Without prepping my nails with the cream prior to applying the mask makes the mask adheres to the nail directly which can be quite difficult to remove.

This power couple is perfect for brittle, cracked, soft, dry and damaged nails. Smells really good too.

But the sad thing is, a friend told me ECRINAL will be discontinuing the mask. I am not sure if they are still producing it or if any local salons still have them. Both products are about S$50-S$60 depending on where you get them from. Some online retailers sell them cheaper.

Moving onto the base and top coat, I am sure you are not stranger to them.

Nail Tek Foundation II Ridge-Filling Base Coat is my favourite base coat ever. It helps to smooth out the surface of my nails, making nail polish application a breeze and that my nail colours look amazing. Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat is one of the best top coats I have tried so far. It has the perfect amount of shine and glossiness, making the nail colours look almost jelly-like and believe it or not, this top coat hides flaws.

Deborah Lippmann’s Addicted To Speed Ultra Quick-Dry Top Coat and her Hard Rock Hydrating Nail Hardener Top and Base Coat arrived not to long ago. I will be testing them in the next couple of weeks. Let me know if you wish to have an update on them.

I am currently giving Rescue Beauty Lounge Base Coat and Ettusais Gel Top Coat a try. Liking the base coat and loving the top coat. Have you tried them before?

I also apply a layer of ECRINAL Vitamin Nail Strengthener prior to applying my base coat. It evaporates quickly, simply apply like how you would apply a nail colour. This product can also be applied every now and then with nail polish on, simply brush over the cuticles and back of the nails.

Rescue Beauty Lounge Base Coat Prep is very similar to the ECRINAL Vitamin Nail Strengthener – both can be used before applying base coat.

Moving onto cuticle care which I am extremely lazy to maintain and often forgets. I use Nail Tek Renew Cuticle Oil with Tea Tree after painting a fresh coat of nail colour. It comes with a dropper and deposits a small amount each time. It is not too oily and absorbs quite quickly. It will take forever to finish this bottle.

I keep a tube of OPI Avoplex Cuticle Oil To Go in my bedroom and in my bag, I apply it as and when I remember, feel like it or when my cuticles are really dry. Love the smell.

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream is also good for dry cuticles but I only use it at night, before I go to bed because I find it a little too greasy – plus I have sweaty palms.

Jo Malone Vitamin E Nourishing Hand Treatment is one of the newest member. It’s rich and creamy but doesn’t leave a film on my hands. The product penetrates my dry hands and arms fairly quickly, leaving them soft and supple. I keep one by my night table.

Rest of the time when I am out and about, I carry a sample sized hand cream from brands like L’Occitane or Clarins.

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My nail bed is quite long so my nails look longer then they are a lot of the time. Whether having long or short nails, taking care of them and protecting them are key. Think of applying base coat as a primer, top coat as a setting powder and all the vitamin and cuticle oil as skincare for the nails.

Avoid acrylic or gel extensions if you can or any procedure that requires extensive filing and soaking off. I have tried and felt that they absolutely killed my nails. It’s absolutely fine to do it once in a while but not all the time.

At one point, I love getting gel extensions because it looks so pretty and shiny even after a few weeks but after removal, my nails were thin, brittle and dry. I wasn’t able to keep my nails long at all, they were too soft. Thankfully, my friend recommended me some of the above items and my nails are healthy again.

Nasty habits like biting your nails or piling off nail polishes don’t help either.

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Would love to know what are your hand & nail care staples and do you like having long, short, round or square nails?

Thank you for reading.

24 thoughts on “My Hand & Nail Care Staples

  1. I agree about finding it almost impossible to sit still and wait for the nail polish to dry. After seeing your routine I feel really guilty about mine since I don’t use a base and neglect my cuticles half the time, oops! The Nail Tek base sounds cool since I do suffer from an uneven nail surface too, no matter how much I buff, shall give it a look!

  2. Hi Joey, I have the Ettusais Gel Top Coat.. and love the effect on my nails. I feel that it dries “thicker” than Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat… and looks more like gellish nail polish.. However, removing is quite a pain as it seems to take longer to remove! I just got the mini bottle of Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat and thinks that it helps my nail polish dries so much more quickly… so totally in love with it :)

    • Hi Dean,
      Oh my, I totally forgot about nail polish remover!!
      Thank you for reminding..
      Hmm, I don’t have any particular preference but I love the smell of Chanel’s and that it doesn’t leave my nails and cuticles dry..
      I am currently using OPI’s nail polish remover – I have both their original and expert touch..
      I use the original one for all nail polishes and expert touch for glittery ones, so far so good =)

      • Hi Joey,

        Thank you for the recommendations! I think I would like to get a bottle of the Chanel nail polish remover to try! :)

        I bought the OPI expert touch at a flea and have yet to use it – thanks for the tip on using it for glittery nail polish!!
        Glitter nail polish always look so nice, but are a pain to remove… so I normally paint my glitters when I have booked my appointment with my manicurist. HAHA!~!~!~! (so that I can leave the job to the professionals! hehehe…)

  3. I’m afraid that I’ve been a life-long biter. I can quit for as long as 9 months then some stressful event will happen and I start nibbling again. Right now I’ve grown them out for about 2 months so they are looking pretty decent, not long but I wouldn’t grow them long anymore as I’m middle aged and don’t think it’s a good look for me. I would probably grow them for another 3-4 weeks then need to start keeping them at that length. I am so pleased to read about your products. I don’t do anything for my nails and am enthusiastic about trying some of what you’ve recommended here. I do want to know what you use to file your nails as that always ruins mine but must be done now and then for snags. Filing usually starts the process of more snags developing and then the whole thing is ruined as I have to file more and more. Do you know of a tool I could use on my thin, soft and flexible nails that would smooth out the snags without making the nail edges fray?

    • Hi Mimi,
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts!!
      Do you bite your nails even with nail polish on?
      My friend applies nail polish all the time to kick off that habit..
      Those conventional nail files might be too harsh for your nails, may I suggest crystal nail files?
      Many brands make them now, I am using the one from OPI..
      I think they are pretty good and gentle on the nails as well as the edges =)

  4. Hi Joey,
    I am currently using ecrinal nail mask but I am very sad that I heard it has been discontinued.
    I have not used any Jo Malone’s cream before but would like to try it soon :)
    thank you for a great post :)

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