Wednesday, June 10, 2015

What's in my travel nail care bag


best hand care products

By the time this post goes online I will be on vacation in (hopefully) sunny Barcelona, Spain. This is my first proper holiday in 9 months and I can really use some sunshine, tapas and beach feeling to recharge my batteries after the gloomy fall/winter months.
Oftentimes I neglect my nails while I am out and about, because I want to enjoy the weather and the scenery rather than painting and oiling my nails, but in fact they need even more care than when I am at home. Sunscreen, sea water and sand dry out my skin and nails quickly, resulting in dry, chapped cuticles and hangnails. To prevent that from happening I like to bring my nail care necessities with me, whether I go on a weekend trip or a longer vacation. So here is what is in my travel nail care bag along with some product recommendations for you. Enjoy!


nail-care-travel-bag-1b

1 Hand lotion with SPF

Moisturizing my hands and nails is a must for me, even when I am out all day. Everytime I wash my hands I massage some lotion into my skin afterwards. For daytime I like to use a hand cream with SPF. Our hands are exposed to UV rays all the time, just as our face. While most of us religiously protect their faces by applying SPF, we often tend to forget our hands. The skin on our hands shows signs of ageing in form of dark spots and wrinkles, and we want to delay those for as long as possible. At least in German drugstores, hand creams with SPF are hard to find and if you do, they only have an SPF of 10. I buy this Vaseline intensive care aloe hand soothe with SPF 15 from Dutch drugstores, as ours do not carry Vaseline products. If you're in the US, you have many options from drugstore (Jergens SPF 20 BB Hand Perfecting Cream with Sunscreen Broad Spectrum, 3 Fluid Ounce • $5.59 or Boots No7 Protect & Perfect Hand Cream 2.5 oz (75 ml) • $14.99) to higher end (Deborah Lippmann 'Rich Girl' Hand Cream SPF 25 • $28), from low SPF (Clinique 'Even Better' Dark Spot Correcting Hand Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 15 (1 oz.) • $13.50) to high SPF (Supergoop!® 'Forever Young' Hand Cream with Sea Buckthorn Broad Spectrum SPF 40 • $12–34). I wish we had all those options here!


2 Hand lotion without SPF

For night time I like to use a regular hand cream or lotion without SPF. I tend to pack a travel size to safe some space. This time I am bringing this OPI Avojuice with mango scent. Since the travel sizes are more expensive than the regular ones, I like to keep the empty bottles and simply refill them when I get home. OPI Avojuice Skin Quencher (Mini 6 Pack • $15), regular size Opi Avojuice Hand Lotion, 6.6 Fluid Ounce • $10.


3 Nail & cuticle oil

Regular lotion is not enough to keep my nails and cuticles healthy and moisturized. Hence, I apply a nail oil at least twice a day (once in the morning before I leave the hotel and in the night before I go to bed). I carry a pen with my beloved Bliss Kiss Oil in my purse at all times. If my nails need it, I also apply it during the day (Bliss Kiss Simply Pure Cuticle & Nail Oil Starter/Refill Kit • $19.99). Another great oil is the CND Solar Oil, which is great if you're on a budget. And it smells sooo good, yummy. The only downside to the Solar Oil is the fact that it comes in a regular polish bottle, so it is not as handy as the Bliss Kiss pen (CND Essential Solar Oil Nail and Cuticle Conditioner, 0.25 Fluid Ounce • $6.15).


4 Crystal Nail File

Another must is a nail file! You never know when you will break a nail and even if you don't, you might want to shape your nails every now and then. Crystal nail files have been my favorites for years, as they are more gentle and more durable than those emery board or metal files. The one I like best is this one from Mont Bleu, because it comes in a neat hard case. Generally I think the Czech crystal files offer the best value for money, but OPI also makes a great one (OPI Crystal Nail File • $9.45). Sadly, I broke mine by dropping it on tile floor recently. Boohoo.


5 Cuticle nippers

Sometimes the most diligent nail care regime cannot prevent a pesky hangnail from appearing. To quickly get rid of them I trim them carefully with clean cuticle nippers. In my opinion Tweezerman makes the best, because they stay sharp forever. For this holiday I am bringing the simple one you see in the photo above (Tweezerman Stainless Cuticle Nippers 1/2" Jaw • $24.99), but I recently bought those spiral ones, which I love a lot, too (Tweezerman Spiral Spring Cuticle Nipper • $25).
I know they are called cuticle nippers, but I cannot recommend cutting your actual cuticles with them. They will only grow back thicker and you might accidentally cut live skin, which can lead to infection and inflammation. 


6 Express nail polish remover

Even during vacation I like to keep my nails painted, but a regular manicure does not survive a week at the beach. I am not a huge fan of those sponge nail polish removers for regular use, because they are pretty harsh. They do come in handy for traveling, though, as they are less likely to leak and wreck other stuff in your suitcase. I packed the Essence quick & easy nail polish remover, because it is inexpensive and widely available in Europe. If you're outside Europe, you can get a similar product from the drugstore (Cutex Twist & Scrub Sponge, Regular • $3.99) or Sephora (SEPHORA COLLECTION Instant Nail Polish Remover For Glitter • $9.50).


7 Base & top coat

I never skip base or top coat for my manis and the products that have made it into my travel bag this time are the Essence The Gel base and top coat, which I have put to the test recently. I want to see if they work as well with other polishes as they did with Essence polish. I will keep you updated on that! (Essence The Gel Top Coat 8.0 ml • 2,49 €)


8 Nail polish

Whenever I travel, I bring one or two nail polishes with me. While I love my neon hues during the summer, I prefer to pack something more neutral that will go with most of the outfits I brought with me. This time I threw Nails Inc. Panton Street, a pretty peach with shimmer (Nails Inc. Nail Polish • $9.50 ), and Essie Maximillian Strasse Her (Essie Spring Collection • $8.50), a cool grey color, into the bag.


9 Cleanup brush

Last but not least, I pack my cleanup brush, which I just dip into the remover I bring. I am not a fan of those nail polish remover pens that you get from various brands. They work well for cleaning up polish from the skin, but the tip is too big to create that sharp edge along the cuticles. My favorite brush is an inexpensive eyeliner brush from Essence, which is slowly starting to fall apart. **Note to self: get a new brush for cleanup.**


All the stuff I showed you fits into the make up bag pictured above. Bringing your favorite nail care items does not take up a lot of room or weight in your luggage and your nails with thank you for keeping an eye on them, even if all you want to do is relax. At least I know my nails do.

Do you pack a travel nail care bag when you're away from home? Let me know which products are your favorites to pack!
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