I have been wanting to write up a post ALL about my nail care routine for such a long time now. I get asked so many questions about my nail care and I wanted to cover them all in one post. This post will cover topics from the base and top coats I use to the types of tools I use as well as various other things. Mind you this is all MY own routine that I have assembled from various outlets such as other girls on Instagram, searching on the internet and my own experiences.

Lets start out with a little collage of my nails over the past 4 months. The first photo is 19 weeks ago and the bottom right one are my current nails (June 10th 2013). As you can see I have come a long way. My nails have never been so long and strong before. They are perfect for water marbling now since I can fit so much of the design on them. Yes they have become a little stained and to help prevent them from really staining I soak them in half hydrogen peroxide half water for 3-4 minutes once or twice a week. I then use a toothbrush soaked in the mixture and brush my nails with it to really get the stains off. If a stain is really bad then I mix together baking soda and peroxide and brush that onto my nails.

Also in the second photo I am holding juleps oxygen treatment which I DID NOT use multiple times, this photo was the best I had from back then.

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Alright lets jump into the products that I have found work the best. So many different products to try out, which are the best?! Do you see anything you already use in this picture?

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BASE COATS- When I started out 19 weeks ago I used Essie’s Grow Stronger overtop of Opi’s Nail Envy as my base coat for all my manicures. After using about half of my essie bottle it kind of become gloopy and hard to apply. So I swichted to using Duri Rejuvacote overtop of Nail Envy. This combo not only took away the brittleness and peeling that my nails were going through but also helped them grow to where they are now. If you are looking for a base coat that doesn’t grow your nails out I recommend Zoya’s anchor basecoat. It applies well and the wear time is good plus it is 3 free. I recently stumbled upon Nail Pattern Boldness’s Glitter A-Peel which when applied as a base coat can be later removed with an orange stick decreasing the time it takes to take off your glitter polish. I did a full review on this product HERE.

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White Coats- I get asked a lot about what white coat I use under my water marbles. Here are my top three. Cult Nails Tempest applies like a dream. After using about half the bottle or so I used some revival drops to help it get a little smoother and I was good to go. Zoya’s Purity is a true god send! It applies perfect with one coat and is usually really smooth, something needed to prevent bubbles when marbling. If you can’t get your hands on either one of these then I would just go with Wet N’ Wilds wild shine white. It’s a little streaker then the other two but always gives me a nice surface to work with.

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Top Coats-  The oh so important top coat! Okay so all four of these serve their different purposes. I equally love them all. First is the Seche Vite top coat, something I saw a lot of girls using when I started out. This is my go to glitter top coat, my top coat for long lasting manicures and my never smear your art top coat. It does contain all those nasty chemicals but really is a great top coat. Cult Nails Wicked Fast top coat really is one fast mamajama. It has a similar thickness to Seche but doesn’t get gloopy when you get close to half done with the bottle. The brush really makes it for me and I never find any little bubbles when I apply it. Zoya’s Armor Top Coat I mainly use when applying one type of polish. It doesn’t smear my art but I find the smoothness that it gives as well as how thin it applies make it perfect for one polish. A few weeks ago my friend Kianna (@kpandaanails) gave me my first Face Shop polishes and she included their top coat telling me it was her favorite. She said it didn’t shrink, smear ya know all that good stuff. I did say that I loved all these equally but since I’ve been using my Face Shop Top Coat I have really fell in love. It works for everything and it isn’t thick, it’s just great! Sadly I spilled it since I left it open one night *sad face*. Thankfully I have great friends!

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Special Top Coats- Cult Nails recently released a Wax That top coat. This top coat really gives a wax look on your nails. Unlike a matte coat, which gives a dry effect, this wax coat leaves a little shine on your nails. HERE is a swatch I did using the Wax That top coat. Mind you this top coat does take a little longer to dry and doesn’t protect your manicure as well as the regular glossy top coat.  The one matte top coat that I have been using lately is Juleps. It dries fast and applies well. The matte effect can really make some manicures shine. Especially those really fine detailed ones.

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Dry Drops- I also wanted to add in a quick remark on some quick dry drops I use which help dry your manicure. After applying top coat and letting that dry for around 5 minutes I apply either Juleps Quick Dry Drops or Zoya’s Speed Dry Drops. Some top coats don’t like these products and will shrink if you apply them too early. I really love these since I don’t have a home UV lamp to help dry and cure my manicures.

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Cuticle Care- I use three products to hydrate my cuticles, something I think is very important for nice nails. My number one oil I use often is Juleps Essential Cuticle Oil. It smells so great and I love the roll on applicator, it makes for a really easy application after doing my manicures. I also sometimes apply Island’s Girl Cuticle oil which has a bunch of these cute little dried flowers in it. This also has a nice smell, a little more fake then the Julep one but it hydrates well and I like the brush applicator. Now when I don’t want to apply a bunch of oil to my nails, maybe because I’m out and about or maybe just because I don’t want oily nails I use Rainbow Honey’s Cuticle Stick. This smells soooooo good! I have the sakura matsuri one. I love the smoothness of my fingers after using it.

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Nail Tools – These tools pictured below are some essential ones for the average nail artist. First off the glass file. I fortunately already had a glass file when I started out my nail art endeavors and later learned that this was the way to go. It is a lot more smooth then a regular file. You also want to make sure you are filing your nails in one motion not back and forth. Also I learned that cutting your nails is big no no. Filing your babies is the way to go. Cutting them can create small peels and sometimes spilt them. I’m not expert but this is what I do and feel. A clean up brush is also a must need in order to achieve that nice clean look around your cuticles. I found the one below at walgreen’s but am still trying to find the perfect one. Next is the cuticle pusher. I don’t use this as often as my orange sticks but it definitely comes in handy for removing glitter or other pesky problems. You also want to have some tweezers on hand. I tend to find little hairs on or around my finger nails and the tweezers help to remove those. A little dish to hold your nail polish remover is also a good thing to have on hand. This way you don’t have to keep dipping your q-tips or brush into the container. Orange sticks are great for removing the polish that sometime floods your cutilces. When water marbling I have three different orange sticks on hand. One for making the design, one for picking up the excess polish and one to help clean up around my cuticles. A tool a don’t use too often but an essential one, are cuticle nippers. Now a days my cuticles are in quite good condition but I do occasionally find a little bugger or two that needs to be removed with the nippers.

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Liquids & Lotions- Once a week when prepping my nails I soak them in some Blue Cross Cuticle remover. This helps keep my cuticles looking very nice and clean and also helps get any polish off that I missed with my polish remover. As for polish remover I have been using Zoya’s Remover plus. This remover is AMAZING for how often I change my nails I never find that they are dried out. I also have to clean my cuticles a lot since I am always water marbling and this remover is just wonderful. Plus it smells great. It is kind of pricy which is why I need to get to the store and buy myself some pure acetone and gylcerin which I hear is very similar to Zoya’s Remover plus when mixed together. After I have soaked my nails in cuticle oil for a minute or so I use my Juleps Rock Star Hand cream. I sometime use this other hand creme that my mom brought me back from Hawaii but this Julep one is my main man. It’s a lotion that soaks in so well and doesn’t leave that nasty lotiony feel. Smells great, works great. After applying some lotion and giving myself a nice hand massage I then wash my hands using Julep’s Glycolic Hand Scrub. A mix of apricot seeds and floral scents that removes all the oils on my nails and makes them feel super smooth. Before applying my base coat I brush a little bit of remover on my nails just to make sure all those oils are gone.

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Tape & Cups- And lastly I wanted to share a quick blurb on the tape and cups I use for water marbling. The masking tape I use can be found at wal-marts and hopefully the one at yours is as sticky as the one I use. I bought a different type one time and it just wouldn’t stick onto my nails that well. The cups I use are these small plastic 3 oz solo cups. Using the paper ones I found that they get too soaked with water. The surface area of these cups are perfect for marbling. You want to anchor your most outer rim of polish to the side of the cup you are using and with these if you create a big enough design you could dip three nails in. They can also be found at any wal-mart.

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Here is another photo of my bare nails. I have been thinking about filing them down since my pointer finger has been giving me troubles. As you can probably see in this photo my pointer finger is short of curving in and not growing out straight like the others. Filing it smooth every now and then I find my self frowning upon it! I have heard of this happening to others before but do not know how to fix it. Do you guys know of any remedy to fix this besides filing them down? I want to keep my large surface for the marbling I do, not to say that shorter nails aren’t great for it too but I really have been loving on my talons! That curve is the only thing wrong with my nails!

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Well there ya go my nail care in a nut shell. I’m sure I didn’t cover everything I could so please ask if you have any questions.

Below you can find links to most of the products I mentioned in this post.

Base Coats: Essie’s Grow Stronger, Opi Nail Envy, Duri Rejuvacote, Zoya Anchor BaseNail Pattern Boldness Glitter A-Peel

White Coats: Cult Nails Tempest, Zoya Purity, Wet N’ Wild White

Top Coats: Seche Vite, Cult Nails Wicked Fast Top Coat, Zoya Amore Top Coat, Face Shop Top Coat

Special Top Coats: Cult Nails Wax That Top Coat, Julep Matte Top Coat

Dry Drops: Julep Quick Dry Drops, Zoya Speed Dry Drops

Cuticle Care: Julep’s Essential Cuticle Oil, Island Girl Cuticle Oil, Rainbow Honey Cuticle Stick

Nail Tools: Glass File, Clean Up Brush, Cuticle Pusher, Tweezers, Glass Dish, Orange Sticks, Cuticle Nippers

Liquids & Lotions: Blue Cross Cuticle Remover, Zoya Remover Plus, Juleps Rock Star Hand Cream, Julep’s Glycolic Hand Scrub

Tape & Cups: These can be found at your local wal-mart. Don’t have a wal-mart then you can follow these links. Masking Tape, Plastic Cups

Some of these products can be found in other places then the links above. Some can be found in your local drug or beauty store or from other various places online.

I hope this has helped any and everyone. As I said before if you have a questions or concerns on this post please bring them to my attention by commenting here, or on my facebook/instagram pages.

Thanks everyone!