As promised I do not just have my favorite nail polishes of 2015, but also my most used nail care products. Usually I like to switch up products and constantly try new items. These products however have become staples in my nail care routine, I reach for them almost daily and keep repurchasing them over and over again. If you have a look at my 2014 nail care favorites you will see that not a lot has changed.
Let's start this manicure from start to finish.
Cult Nails Crystal Nail File
To shorten and shape my nails I prefer using a glass or crystal nail file. They have a very fine grit and are very gentle on the nails. My very first one was from OPI which ended up shattered on the living room floor. The next one was the red Cult Nails file pictured above. This one has been a favorite ever since I got it three or four years ago. Glass files last you a long time (if you avoid dropping them on tile floor like I have done) and all they need is a little scrub with a nail brush and rinse with tap water to remove build up. Sadly, Cult Nails closed down this past year :( Great glass files are also available from the Czech brand Mont Bleu, which I carry in my purse and travel bag. I reviewed their nail files here if you want to know more.
To seal the edges of the nail plate I use a very fine buffer. These usually are intended to remove ridges and smooth the surface of the nail, but I never use it for that, because buffing actually weakens your nails by removing the top layers. Instead I swipe it along my nails in a 90° angle to seal the edges. I have pictured my filing routine here, you can see the buffer in action in the last step. I like to get the simple ones from the drugstore, nothing fancy here. The one shown above is from the German drugstore brand Ebelin, available at DM for less then 2€.
Despite its name I do not use this tool to cut my cuticles. Please don't ever do that! Cutting your cuticles is only a temporary fix. They can grow back even thicker and it's very easy to cut live skin, resulting in inflammation. I use the cuticle nipper to remove the occasional hang nail. This is my favorite because the blade is very thin and sharp. For $25 it is on the more expensive side, but it is great quality and will last you a long time.
Once a month I use a cuticle remover to... well, remove cuticles. This one is very effective, widely available and affordable.
This cuticle balm still is my favorite. The consistency is great, the scents are yummy and it works wonders on dry skin. If you like fruity scents I highly recommend Ruby Red Grapefruit. I am currently on a tub of Aloe & Green Tea, which is very lovely, too.
To keep my nails healthy, strong and flexible I apply a drop of this Simply Pure nail oil several times a day. I have been using this oil for a while now and it effectively hydrates my nails and cuticles. If you have dry, brittle nails and get breaks easily I recommend trying a nail oil instead of a hardener (which only dries out the nails even more and thus makes them more prone to breaks). Ana, the brain behind the brand Bliss Kiss, has lots of useful posts about nail care that is worth reading. For a thorough review of the Bliss Kiss Pure Hydrating Oil see this post here.
& Other Stories Hand Lotion
To moisturize my hands during the day I love to use this lotion by & Other Stories. I came across this brand during my vacation in London this past summer and fell in love with the Botanic Whisper scent. The lotion is light and perfect for use throughout the day, because it sinks in fast and does not leave a greasy residue.
Lush Helping Hands
For night time I like to use a richer hand cream and this year the Lush Helping Hands cream has replaced my Burt's Bees Almond cream. This does leave an oily residue, hence I apply it only before bedtime.
Those were my favorite nail care items of 2015. Maybe we share some faves?