Tuesday, September 16, 2014

[Nail Care] Base & Top Coats, Treatments, Oils, Removers!

Hi everyone! Now that we're getting into fall, I thought it'd be a good time to do another nail care post. It's been requested for a while now (hi, Steph!), but I honestly didn't have more to say since my nail care post from earlier this year. If anything, I use less products in the summer. ^^;; During the second half of summer, I started testing out a lot of new products, so I wanted to share my thoughts on them with you.

I'm going to warn you - this is a long and wordy post. Feel free to skip around to the parts you're most interested in. ^^


First, a new base coat! So ever since I got into nail polish, I've been using China Glaze Strong Adhesion Base Coat. It worked well enough for me, so I never ventured out. I recently stopped by a local beauty supply to get more, but it seems they weren't carrying it anymore. :( I heard a lot of great things about CND Stickey Anchoring Base Coat, so I decided to give it a try instead.

When I used to change my nail color daily, I only expected my base coat to protect my nails from staining. Now I wear a color for 3-5 days, so staying power has also become important to me. CND Stickey definitely lives up to hype for me and keeps my nails chip free throughout the week.

The only con is that it can give your nails a greenish hue if you apply too much. As long as you apply it in thin coats, it should look clear.

Overall, I still like ChG Adhesion, but for a manicure that lasts, CND Stickey is a clear winner. I purchased my 2.3 oz bottle from Amazon for $12.10 (shipping included). You can purchase this in a smaller 0.33oz size as well.


An oldie, but a goodie - my beloved Seche Vite top coat. To be fair, I haven't tried any of the other comparable fast dry top coats. I'm clearly the type that sticks to one product as long as it works. -_- I've gone through countless bottles of this, so I only buy it in bulk. I'm almost done with my 4 fl oz kit, so I recently purchased the bigger 6 oz kit. The pros of this product are obviously its quick-drying abilities and extreme glossiness. There are a few cons though.

For one, it has the tendency to shrink certain brands or finishes. If you're not familiar with this term, this is when the top coat shrinks your nail color back away from the nail tip. So even though you freshly polished your nails, it'll look like you have tip wear. Very annoying! For me, Seche Vite always shrinks my Zoya glass flecks and any thick polish. Colors that require 3-4 thick coats don't work well with Seche Vite. Other than that, it performs flawlessly over all other polishes for me.

The other con is how thick it can get. When you have about 1/3 left, the consistency will become like that of cold syrup. It won't flow onto your nails and will make a mess. When this happens, I add Beauty Secrets Nail Polish Thinner to mine and give it a good shake. I then fill it up to the top with more Seche Vite (from my kit). After another shaking session, I let it rest overnight before using it. Otherwise, there will be bubbles galore.

Seche Vite sells their own thinner called Seche Restore, but the Beauty Secrets one has always worked for me. When you first pour in the thinner, it'll just sit on top of the top coat. If you shake it too little, it's going to look watery, like it's not combining with the top coat. Give it a few shakes, and then roll it back and forth vigorously between your hands. You should see a million tiny bubbles, but no watery texture. The rolling should combine the two evenly.

I think you can purchase Seche Vite almost anywhere now. I used to get individual bottles from Sally's, but now I buy them in bulk from a local beauty supply store. You can find the kits on Amazon for a decent price as well.


I always mention Essie Millionails, because it's that awesome. I've used mine for over a year, and without fail it has always prevented peeling. If my nails break, it's because of peeling in the corners. I never knew why this happened, but I found out why this summer, when my nails were growing long without any help. I realized it was because of the humidity in the air. My nails are very curved, especially on the left hand. When they become dry, the corners curl in. This is why after a shower, your nails can look flatter. Because my nails are also hard, when it curls, the top layer breaks away and starts to peel. Millionails doesn't fix peels, but for me, it 100% prevents peels.

I do have a way for fixing peeling nails, but I do not recommend it. I do this because I know my nails can take it. If you have thin or brittle nails - do not do this. You'll end up damaging or breaking your nails. First off, I have very thick nails thanks to great nail genes. So I'm able to use the flat end of a metal cuticle pusher to gently scrape away the lifted, peeled portion. I then buff out that section until the nail is smooth and even. This makes the buffed section considerably thinner, which I why I don't recommend it. My nails are very thick and hard, so doing this doesn't make my nails weaker. However, it's still vulnerable to peeling, possibly even more now. So during this period, I always keep my nails covered in Millionails. This prevents that area from peeling again until it's long enough to file away. Again, I'm just sharing what I do and in no way am I recommending this. The scraping and buffing can be very damaging, but this helps me to grow my nails until I can file the problem area away.

In any case, now that I know dry weather exacerbates peeling, Millionails has become a part of my regular nail care routine for the colder months. That way I can avoid the whole buffing and fixing. ^^

Sorry about this crazy chunk of text! I'll keep it short for Duri Rejuvacote. It's a nail growth treatment that's supposed to help strengthen your nails. This is best for those with thin, brittle, or weak nails. If you have hard, thick nails like me, this might actually make your nails worse. I bought mine back when I thought it'd help with peeling. After using it daily, I noticed peeling on nails that never peel! T_T So now I regret buying so much of it. At one point, I thought it was working, but alas... I'll probably use it only once a week or so. I purchased mine from Amazon for $8.24.


Okay, some shameless shop promoting here. This is an all natural cuticle oil I recently added to my Pretty Jelly Etsy shop. If you read my previous nail care post, I was using Essie's Apricot Cuticle Oil. Mine actually went bad, so I had to chuck it. T_T I took it as an opportunity to mix my own cuticle oil. After researching many different types of oils and their benefits, I came up with this one for everyday use. Since I sell it, I'm not going to review it, but this is what I use now.

I will say that an all natural cuticle oil has worked better than any manufactured cuticle oil/serum/butter I've used so far. I was able to feel this when I pushed back my cuticles. After using Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover, the cuticle I push back always becomes dry and flaky. This is even after using other cuticles oils. Generally I have to wait a few days with daily moisturizing to get rid of the dryness. I pretty much accepted this as part of the cuticle shrinking procedure.

A few days ago, I pushed back my cuticles and followed up with my natural cuticle oil. After using it once, I did not see any dry skin. Since then I followed up with daily application, and my cuticles look awesome! So I highly recommend using a natural cuticle oil. You can easily find them on Etsy, or mix your own bottle. The results are infinitely better than any cuticle oil containing parabens and what-not.

The Barielle products I'm showing you from here on out were all sent to me by Barielle for review. This first one is a mandarin scented exfoliating scrub made with dead sea salt. It contains grape seed, avocado, and soy bean oil. The oil is tinted orange, so you can see it on your hands. However, it doesn't stain and washes right off. It feels nice when you're scrubbing and washing, but the oil feels a little greasy after patting my hands dry. As a result, I end up going back and washing my hands again with soap. You're probably supposed to wait for the oils to soak in, but I'm too impatient and dislike the greasy feel. But I think it'd work great on feet, especially if you have dry heels and ankles. Afterwards, you could pull some socks on and let the oils soak in. ^^

I've tried this nail strengthening cream a few times during the summer, but as my nails were already great, I couldn't tell if it was doing anything. It's supposed to deeply penetrate your nails and help damaged nails and cuticles. Since it's getting colder, I'll post an update if this keeps my nails from peeling during the next month. ^^

My winter time life saver. This rich hand cream was perfect for healing my dry, cracked hands last winter. It's best used at night before bed with the gloves. I'm very sensitive to the cold, so no matter what my hands always crack. T_T I basically wore gloves 24/7 and used this frequently to bring my hands back to life. If you're dreading the cold like me, this is good to have by your bedside.


These are acetone-free and work just as well as regular acetone remover! I didn't have high hopes for this, because acetone-free removers have always failed me. So Barielle must have added some amazing strawberry scented magic to these, because they work great. It's perfect for the purse or office in case of nail emergencies.

I used to use regular acetone polish remover from the drugstore. There wasn't a particular brand I favored. I just used whatever because I honestly didn't think much about it. All I needed was for it to remove polish. When I ran out, I decided to finally give the much raved about Zoya Remove+ a try. I was prepared to like it, so I purchased the 8oz bottle (partly for the flipper dispenser) and the 32 oz refill. I go through polish remover very, very quickly due to swatching sessions. The 2oz bottle and the Qtica Lemongrass Ginger Lotion came as samples with my order.

I've used it about 2 months now, and so far I love it. It still contains acetone, but it's a mild formula that's much less drying on my nails and cuticles. Being a 3-in-1 formula, it also conditions and preps the nail. I'm not sure if it does make your manicure last longer, since I always wash my hand after touching acetone. I have CND Stickey for that. ^^

One of the claims is that it doesn't stain nails. I can testify to that. After using this, my nails are significantly less yellow. My non-swatching nails are completely yellow-free, while my swatching-nails are a little yellow at the tips. This alone makes it worth every penny to me. One time my nails were so yellow, my old roommate asked if it was a nail color. T_T Never again!

It's not cheap though. The 8oz bottle is $9.99, while the 32oz bottle is $25. Compared to the less than $5 16oz bottle I was buying from Walmart, it's a lot pricier. But like I said, so worth it. If the price is too much, I highly recommend getting it during one of Zoya's sales at Zoya.com.


Wow, I don't think I've ever written this much in one post. I tried to be as informative as possible, so I hope you find it helpful! I can't imagine anyone reading through the entire thing, but if you did - you're my favorite reader! ;]

What are your favorite nail care products? Anything you'd like me to test? Let me know, and I'll include it in my next nail care post. ^^


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