Cuticle Care

e.l.f. Essentials Nourishing Cuticle PenParents always bestow valuable advice more often than not on deaf ears. My mother told me time and time again that the neck and hands age the fastest and the signs are hardest to reverse. It took a quarter of a century of hearing the advice for me to start listening. Take a quick look at a passerby older than you. You can definitely tell a woman in her fifties from a woman in her twenties by looking at their hands, despite how good the face or figure.

Taking care of the neck is still much of a secret to me (where is that magical pillow that will prevent creases on my neck and face when I sleep?), but taking care of the hands has been proven to be an easier task. Lotion often, keep the digits warm, and take good care of your cuticles.MyOwnJudgeA recent run to the dollar store in Manhattan (Jack’s 99 cent store) brought me face to face with a plethora of e.l.f. jewels (and yes they were all a dollar). I had tried a lot of the products before, so I took a gander at the nail category. Say hello to the e.l.f. Essentials Nourishing Cuticle Pen!MyOwnJudgeI’m used to cuticle pens coming with a brush applicator where you click the product out, like a lip gloss. Once the brush is full, you can apply it to several nails at a time before it runs out (your cuticle area isn’t that big surface area wise). The more rigid pen applicator on this one allows for it to be a cuticle pusher as well. This is a cool trick to get the oils to all parts of the cuticle as well – when you push, it will seep in a bit under the nail.
I have found that moisturizing the cuticles is the most optimal way to keep your nails looking great, prolonging your manicure, and keeping hangnails at bay. Cuticle care also prevents the hidden sting of wiping antibacterial lotion or alcohol on your hands (or nail polish remover when a manicure change is necessary).

On a side note: Remember that keeping hands at one warm temperature is best because of many reasons. First, it keeps the skin soft and supple. The varying temperatures may cause skin to crack, or worse, the blood vessels underneath to overreact (think about when your hands are freezing and turn splotchy when washing with warm water when inside). Also, when dry (can be from no moisturizing, but also very probable with cold) skin can crack and cause bleeding (then you have start the bacteria and germ worries). Preventing the skin from going back and forth between different stages is what also prevents wrinkles and aging – and you want to keep ’em guessing, don’t ya?

Back to the cuticle pen. There are no vices to think of.
It costs a dollar.
-It’s great for travel and doesn’t take up much space otherwise (stick it in your pen cup so that you can soften up after writing!).
-It has four natural oils to keep the cuticles soft.
-The pen doubles as a cuticle pusher.
-The applicator pen versus brush allows for less mess opportunity.

The only question now is how long it lasts, and if the applicator dries up after a time.

When moisturizing cuticles, my favorite times to do so are before going to sleep – wash your face, remove makeup (and contact lenses if you’re a wearer like me!), apply lotions and creams, then right before you hit the pillow, brush on some cuticle magic. By the time you start thrashing around, it’ll seep in. Another good time? Before you start a self manicure (when you go to a salon, they should apply it all the time). Brush it on and give it five minutes or so to completely dry. If not dry, the oils may keep the polish from adhering all the way at the area by the cuticle.

Check out this video from e.l.f. about the pen:
What do you use for your cuticles?

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Nail Biting Taxes

Nail BitingI was checking my e-mail inbox and found a pretty interesting one. The nail biting habit seems to be on the rise in conjunction with the wonderful deadline ahead. Taxes!

Image Credit: Deviant Art User StealthScope

April 15 is biting at our heels. I usually leave my taxes undone until the beginning of April starts the clock in my head. It’s almost like an action film where I have to hurry and detonate the bomb before it hits zero.

I got mine done. Remember if you still need to do your taxes, if an extension is needed, you’d be better off with an extension rather than a penalty! That’s a lot of lipglosses and shoes you wouldn’t be able to buy.

The question is though, do deadlines make your teeth chatter? Do you bite your nails in accordance with countdowns and D-Days? Fess up!

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Nail Polish is Once Removed

My Own JudgeI have had this product in my possession for a while now and am finally putting it to good use. Being a nail polish fan, sometimes I carry up to five bottles of color on me and when the mood strikes I expect to be able to do a mani on the fly, or remove it just as fast.

Whenever I wanted to do that, the method was simply running to a dollar store or drugstore for the cheapest nail polish remover. This of course had to end because I was amassing more bottles than a whole salon may need, and also because of the bulkiness. Can’t be cute with a large size remover bottle in the purse!

I visited my Rite Aid and purchased Once Removed Nail Polish Remover. This little jewel was interesting because it looks a bit bigger than a normal polish bottle, and the remover applicator is a polish brush as well. It cost me $4.39, but check out the rest of what I think about that after the jump.

Please read the important notice at the end of this post if planning to purchase this product.

I used a strong red color to test out the effectiveness of the product. Put out into main distribution in 2000, Once Removed is described as “the only brush-on, wipe-off polish remover on the market.”

The product is applied with a brush. After a 15-second wait, nails can be wiped clean with a cotton pad and are ready for repainting. Once Removed has appeal because users will not need to touch the solution, says SMS LABS Inc (the manufacturer). It’s neater and provides an easier way to correct the smudges and smears of home manicures.

My first attempt with a cotton pad left my nails a mess. The cotton pulled away into little pieces and left my nail looking a clumpy mess. I found that this product works best with a tissue.

With your nail polish ready for removal, use the brush to apply the product on each nail. It applies a bit like water and I like to make it a medium thick layer on the nail (thin layers don’t pull enough polish off). I like to apply it to all the fingers first and by the time I reach my pinky, the 15 seconds you have to wait has passed. Use a tissue to wipe off the polish from your nails. I have found that if you have multiple coats of polish on, you may need to repeat the removal process. For example, my mani was done with three coats:

My Own Judge

You don’t need more than one tissue, and when removing, don’t use excessive force. This is what your nails look like once you apply the product. I used the tissue to clean up the brush so that the remover in the bottle doesn’t start to get murky from polish leftovers.

My Own Judge

Three coats and one swipe is what brings you this photo. As you can probably imagine, I was wiping the polish off the nail in one long stroke and so the main part of the nail cleaned was the center.

My Own Judge
It takes a couple of attempts for me because I want every single ounce of polish gone when I am using remover. This is a great product for on the go removal for me though.

Pros: Portable, and compact, this is the only product of it’s kind that I know of. It is also affordable and doesn’t require touching the remover. I like to do my own nails so sometimes I am peeved to fix a nail only to find that the cotton pad with remover ruined my other hand, or if I have to specifically do my pedi first so that I don’t ruin my mani when removing polish. Another big plus for me? It doesn’t have that acetone stink to it.

Cons: Now this is a big one. If you are interested in purchasing this product, READ THIS first!! While researching this product, to place a link for purchase, I have found out that this product contains GBL, a “precursor” to the drug GHB, which apart from being highly addictive and illegal for consumption, has often been used in the date rape drug. There are even instances of people drinking this product to get their fix of the drug. You can read about this here and check out the non-profit Project GHB for more info.

Honestly, this by itself would make me not want to purchase any more. It’s still a bit crazy to me because I had no idea about any of this until I typed the name of the polish remover into Google. Organizations and companies are urged to voluntarily remove this from their shelves and I am not sure if my Rite Aid had this as leftovers or is still stocking their shelves with Once Removed, but like I said, I don’t think I will be a repeating customer.

What do you think?

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Talk It Out Tuesday! Choice of Nails

Happy Tuesday! Happy December as well!

How are your nails doing? The reason I ask is because I tend to use my nails as tools and more often than not, abuse them. I use them to open boxes, cans, plastic packaging, scrub away tough spots, etc. No surprise then that they often break.

I also have to admit that I have been slacking on the vitamin intake and those darn white spots have popped up on my nails. Call it silly, but the reason I hate seeing them is because they show other people my business. Snitches!

But it’s not just me. When I used to work in retail, that whole year of handling clothing, hangers, and tags on a daily basis caused unimaginable havoc on my nails and cuticles. And when I went nutso shopping this past weekend? All the hangers and clothing molestation (you know when you walk through the store just running your hand over all the fabric… lol) had me in the car on the way back filing my nails and muttering to myself like a madwoman.

You know what I hate most about them breaking?

  1. It breaks up the flow. One nail always ruins it for the hand and then I compulsively adjust the length on all the nails.
  2. Sometimes the nail breaks in a different shape and I have to decide between changing the shape or having a tiny nail (because I’d have to file it down to the wanted shape).

Clearly this is a dilemma to rip your hair out and not sleep for days (… not really). But nails are so changeable and so noticeable to me, that I have to find out from you:

What is your nail shape?

Here are some celebrity images I put together of different mani styles, from fake to real, bitten to long, squares to talon-like shapes.

I also found some good tips for y’all to transition into new shapes, or just get the shape that you want (sometimes I get the perfect shape on everything but one nail – drives me crazy!!). I am a rounded square myself, but I would love to try out the style Dita von Teese is sporting (top left corner).

Here are the various shapes of nails:

Talk it out!

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Nails – Take Care TC Me!

I’ve promised to give ya the scoop on taking care of your nails, or rather, prolonging your mani, so here it is!

Remember, that it is not just an outside open and shut case. Your nails require attention on the inside, working along with the rest of your body. That, along with the products you use, and the polishes you use when manicuring are the perfect equation for well cared nails, and a pretty bang up bill of health as well.

Then again, life isn’t so easy is it? We often forget to take our medication, dabble in some not so 3-free polishes, and then chaos ensues!

Here are some tips (in no particular order):

Take Your Vitamins
Have you ever gotten white marks on your nails? Low calcium. Thin, brittle nails prone to breakage? Very often a sign of not getting enough of your vitamins.

You might wonder why it’s something simple as nails that start to show signs, but a lot can be happening inside you as well. Nails, like hair, teeth, etc., are just outer parts that people can notice quicker than say, vitamin deficiency in your guts. (excuse my ladylike dialogue) 🙂

Remember that in my completely nonmedical opinion, negative signs in nails don’t always have a perfect remedy by taking one vitamin or another. Look closely to your diet and habits and catch up anywhere you might have slipped.

Don’t Put Your Money Nails Where Your Mouth Is!
No matter how hard, or how much willpower you need to muster up, remember that your nails aren’t on the menu. Biting your nails repeatedly is damaging to more than just the aesthetics.

Take it from a partially recovered nail biter:

  • >Having polish on nails makes it less important/tempting to bite.
  • If your biting stems from a nervous/boredom habit, carry items that may keep you away (i.e. SuDoku book, sketchpad, gaming devices, Mp3 players, etc.).
  • If you willpower wanes, take to polishes that have scents or tastes in them that discourage biting, or at least insure a negative memory of such.
Take Care of the Surroundings.
Use plenty lotion for your hands, and thus, your cuticles. This is most important in colder seasons, when the skin surrounding your fingernails gets all excited to crack up and such (lol get it?!).

If you get too snappy with your cuticle remover, remember that less is not more in this situation. All you need to do is keep them moist and pushed back. Not always necessary to cut them away every other day. They are there for a reason! Add a Coat.
Whenever you venture out into the outside world, you wear a layer of clothing or two, right? Don’t forget that your nails need the same care.

Though it might be too much to ask for some to always have some kind of polish on your nails, but it is most beneficial to you and yours (your nails I mean) to have a top coat of some kind. The ones I found most helpful so far in my search are Duri‘s Rejuvacote and Nailene‘s Acrylic Strong Nail Topcoat. Remember that base coats work well to prevent nail yellowing with polishes that are dark in color, or stain.

Don’t Peel Out!
As tempting as it is, and as often as I tend to do it myself, don’t peel your nail polish when it starts to chip or bubble. Leave it as is, or carry one time nail polish remover wipes with you (E.L.F. has a pack of 18 remover pads for $1.00. That’s less than 6cents for each!). When you peel nail polish off of your nails, no matter what the druglike pleasure you feel at the moment, you are in that moment scraping nutrients and outer layers off of your nails. Thus, making your nail weaker, and more prone to breakage, etc.

I’ll post more tips soon! What do you do to take care of your nails?

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