My Pampering Manicure Routine

I've come to realise that I like to 'faff' when it comes to painting my nails. It could actually be compared to the pretty iconic scene in Love Actually where the character played by Rowen Atkinson takes gift wrapping to a whole new level.

In all, I've counted 8 or 9 steps in my nail painting routine, which I like to spread over an evening and turn it into a sort of pampering. I guess because I enjoy painting my nails it's sort of self-care at the end of the day or week. It's also a good excuse to not watch TV (because I can't seem to do two things at once!) or check my phone every 5 minutes. I simply sit and enjoy the process and enjoying having perfectly painted nails at the end of it.

So I thought I'd share my self-care/pampering manicure routine as it keeps my nails in check and is quite therapeutic.

Nail Preparation

First, as I always wearing nail polish I remove my mostly likely chipped or old looking manicure with nail polish remover on a few cotton pads, ensure every last trace of colour is removed, especially on and around the cuticles. I find any nail polish remover works, cheap or expensive, but it has to be acetone-free otherwise I find it way too drying on the nails and skin.

I then buff any ridges I can see on the nail bed with a nail buffer tool, the cheap foam ones do the job, and shape my nails with a nail file... again, just a standard cardboard one as I just can't get used to using a glass nail file! I then wash my hands to remove all traces of nail polish remover, because acetone-free or not, it's still a harsh chemical on the skin and nails.

Pamper stage

I then apply a cuticle oil or balm to my cuticles, my favourites being Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream which smells amazing or any from China Glaze and then finish off with a nice hand cream. When generally using hand cream I just slap it on and rub it in within seconds, but when painting my nails I like to apply a litter bit more than I normally would and use my other hand to massage it in thoroughly. My favourites when giving myself a manicure that doesn't get thrown into a bag for quick on the go use are The Chemistry Hand Chemistry and Lush Love And Light Hand Cream; both lovely more indulgent feeling hand creams that good instant results.

Nail Painting

After quickly going over each nail bed with a small amount of nail polish remover on a cotton pad to remove excess oil I always start by applying a coat of Butter London Nail Foundation Base Coat. I've used this particular base coat for years and never skip using it as it creates a ridge-free base and ensures whichever nail polish I'm using won't stain my nails. I should also point out I've never had to re-purchase it and my bottle is still going strong - definitely worth picking up if you want to keep your nails in good condition! Once dry I then paint my nails - FINALLY! 

The colour I go for all depends on my mood or the time of year but it generally will be a nail polish from either Essie, Barry M, Models Own or Sally Hanson... all brands I highly recommend and own a lot of. Although it may look like a novelty item I like to use a nail polish holder ring which I picked up from eBay to ensure I don't spill any nail polish as I paint my nails. I also like to paint about a millimetre away from my cuticles to give a neat finish. 

To finish I always apply a top coat as I love the glossy appearance and extended wear they provide. I've tried many in the past from Seche Vite to budget options but my strong favourites have to be Ciate London Gelology Top Coat (also available in a mini size here) along with Barry M Polish Plumpy Top Coat

And there you have it; my drawn out nail painting routine! 

I'd be interested to know how my routine differs from everyone elses, especially in the products others use - let me know your manicure essentials in the comments.

Fee xo. 

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