#2014BloggerChallenge: All About Nails

I have accumulated a ridiculous amount of nail polishes over the past few year (and dread to think how much money it represents - it is literally an entire shoebox!). So initially I struggled with how I was going to do this 2014 Blogger Challenge post, which as you may have guessed is all about nails. A nails tag or favourites post would simply have been too difficult to choose, but a nail collection post would have felt a bit too much like bragging. So instead I thought I'd widen the brief a little and do a post on what I use to look after my nails and hands, to make sure that I've got the best canvas to show off my nail polish.

My first thing is that I'm fanatical about using hand cream  - there are pots and tubes of it in every one of my handbags and all over the flat as I like to put it on after washing my hands or if I've been outside without my gloves. I really notice the difference if I don't use it regularly, especially in the couple of recent cold snaps we've had in London. In particular I have an odd trick where I put hand cream on before I put my gloves on when I leave the house or the office. It sounds mad but it works in a similar way to wearing socks over your foot cream at night by helping to trap the heat of your hands in, so the cream sinks into the skin better.

You can see some of my current hand creams in the photo above - I'm using a lot of Burt's Bees ones at the moment as I got quite a few of their hand products in a kit N's sister bought me for my last birthday. They're a bit more expensive than what I might buy for myself but they smell absolutely beautiful, particularly the Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Cream which has a lovely marzipan-like fragrance, and do a great job at moisturising the hands without making them feel greasy. It also helps to moisturise the skin around my nails and stops me getting hangnails, which both look awful and are quite painful to deal with.

The other big aspect to looking after my nails for me is taking care of my cuticles. I use a Nails Inc cuticle oil pen every night (you can see it in the bottom of my photo) and rub that into my cuticles, which then makes them a lot easier to work with when I'm putting on nail polish. Before I do put polish on, I soak my hands in warm soapy water for a couple of minutes and then push the cuticles back with an orange stick wrapped in cotton wool. I find it makes polish stick a lot better and last much longer.

Finally, I really cannot stress enough the importance of a decent base coat and nail varnish remover for keeping your nails in good condition. I use Essie All In One base coat, which does an absolutely brilliant job at stopping staining, filling ridges and strengthening nails. It also makes a lovely clear polish for those days when your nails are knackered or you can't wear colour on your nails for whatever reason. In terms of nail polish remover, I go for Boots Conditioning Nail Polish Remover - it removes polish really easily and always feels like it's working well at treating my nails, especially when they're particularly ratty-looking. Unfortunately I don't have a photo of it at the moment as I ran out the other day, but I will be getting some more soon!

So that's my nail and hand care routine. It might seem a bit time-consuming, but I've found that it's all about building it into my routine as a course of habit and making sure I look after my hands, especially in the cold weather we've been having lately. Because after all, there's no point in spending money on pretty polish if your hands aren't looked after, right?

Do you have a favourite hand or nail care product?


  1. I never knew you could get nail oil pens! I have an OPI nail oil bottle on my bedside table, but I always forget to use it. I think a pen would be much quicker so I'd be much more likely to use it. I really do notice a difference when I do use oil. So I shall keep an eye out for this pen next time I'm in Boots!

    I'm also part of the #2014BloggerChallenge. I am rubbish at painting my own nails, so posted about the designs and nail art that I'd like to do this year.

    Victoria, x shabby-chic-home.com

    1. I got the nail pen in a Nails Inc kit my sister bought me for my birthday, but I think you can get it from the likes of Debenhams and John Lewis as well as the Nails Inc website, Lookfantastic etc. It does work brilliantly well though and is so quick to do at night before going to bed.

      Some amazing nail designs on your post by the way - I'm not so hot at nail art but some of them look fairly easy so I think I might give them a go too!

  2. Burts Bees is like my obsession all round at the moment too, and I would love to try the nail pen sounds amazing xxx


    1. Burt's Bees stuff is brilliant. I'm using their coconut foot cream at the moment as well and their lip balms are fantastic - really moisturising but not too heavy and the tinted ones offer a nice pop of colour when you don't want to wear lipstick or gloss.