welcome to February! I cannot believe how quickly January passed by (which is good, because it probably is my least favorite month of the year). So now we're slowly but steadily getting into Spring and I cannot wait to see everything come to life again - including me, because I tend to get a little moody during these short and gloomy days.
Since I am still growing out a break from last week, I decided to finally share with you my manicure essentials. Going from bottom to top, first up are my favorite base coats. I hope you enjoy these!
When I first got into nail polish, Orly Bonder was all the rage. This is a base coat that dries to a rubber-like finish that is supposed to "improve lacquer adhesion and wearability". It does what it says, so I have no complaints. The texture of this base coat is thin and watery, but it dries really fast and the huge bottle lasts forever! However, it does not prevent from stainings. Whenever I use this under a darker green or blue polish, this leaves me with smurf fingers after removal. 18ml retail for about $10.
CND Ridge Out is a ridge-filling base coat with a rubberized finish, similar to Orly Bonder. This does a good job at hiding my nails' unevenness and lengthening the life of my manicure. The texture of this is slightly thicker than Orly Bonder, but still quite thin. Also, it is important to let this dry completely before painting on the color or this will drag and give you bold spots. 9.8ml retail for around $6.
The base coat I love to use for holographic polishes is NfuOh Aqua Base. When I purchased my first linear holographic nail polishes, I was really disappointed with them. Application was tricky, as the polish didn't want to stay in place and I ended up with bold patches. Also, they all chipped within 24 hours, so I was about to abandon my holos from my nails. Then, thanks to the awesome nail polish community, I heard of the Aqua Base by NfuOh. This base coat is supposed to prolong the life of holo polishes on your nails and to enhance the holographic effect. So I bit the bullet and ordered this 17ml bottle for 9€ from the only German NfuOh retailer I know of and gave my beloved holos another try. What can I say, this really helps with the application of holographic polishes and also extended their wear time for a couple of days! The only downside is that the Aqua Base takes longer to dry compared to regular base coats.
When my nails need a bit of extra help, I like to use a treatment underneath my nail polish. I find that Essie's Help Me Grow works like a charm. This base coat is enriched with argan oil and algae extract to prevent damage and breakage. I haven't noticed my nails growing faster, but it definitely makes them stronger and less prone to peeling.
Essie Nourish Me is a hydrating base coat that I especially like to use during Winter, when my nails are a bit drier and brittle. When used regularly, this base coat makes my nails a bit more flexible, so they don't break as easily when I accidentally hit something - and I am clumsy, so that is likely to happen, lol. This also has a slight blue tinge, so it makes my nails look a wee bit whiter.
Last but not least I have to mention Nail Magic. I had not heard of this nail hardener until I did a swap with my Instagram friend kellytattoo. She seriously loves that stuff and was so kind to send me a bottle. In the US this is available at Sally's Beauty Supply where it retails for $7. Usually I am a bit sceptical about nail hardeners as most of them contain formaldehyde, which is a no no in any personal care products for me. I work with that stuff in the lab under a fume hood wearing gloves and a coat to prevent this from getting into my lungs and onto my skin, so why should I put this on my body at home?! Good thing is, this product does not contain any formaldehyde, so I gave it a try - and man, I am glad I did! This nail hardener works really well for me. The active ingredients tend to settle at the bottom, so be sure to shake the bottle vigorously before you apply it! I apply one thin coat as my base coat and let that dry completely before painting my nails. The manufacturer suggests to apply this as a top coat as well, but I never tried that. I guess the milky color of the treatment will affect the actual color of your nail polish. When I wear this on its own, I apply two coats of Nail Magic and it gives the effect of a french manicure, which I like. The packaging is a bit cheap-looking, but don't be fooled by this, it is worth the money!
These are my five favorite products I like to use as a base coat. As a little disclaimer I have to mention that everyone's body chemistry is different, so what works great for me might not work for you and the other way around. So it can be a little trial and error to find the perfect product for ones needs. I hope this was helpful and I'd like to hear what are your favorite base coats or nail treatments!
Have a great Sunday,