Wednesday, June 13, 2012

My Nail Routine

Inspired by Dain of Ars Aromatica's meticulous explanation of her manicure, and the fact that this is way overdue anyway, here's a post detailing my nail care routine. Most of what I learned was from Rescue Your Nails by Ji Baek of Rescue Beauty Lounge and observations from my few visits to nail salons.

The Routine

L-R: Zoya Remove+, cotton, cuticle stick, Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Remover, Buffing Block, Rescue Beauty Lounge Nail File

I file my nails using the Rescue Beauty Lounge Nail File ($65), my preferred shape being the squared oval (squoval?). I try to stay away from nail clippers since it usually chips my nails. 

Pardon the yellowness – as you might expect, I paint my nails too often and leave the polish on for too long at a time. Occupational hazards, I say.

Then, I buff my nails to ensure a smooth surface for the polish. Any buffing tool will do. I currently use the (discontinued) 4-Step Buffer from Sephora. 

I realized cuticle work is the second most important aspect of the manicure after polish application, and arguably the hardest to master. First, I apply a drop of Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Remover on each cuticle, then I use a disposable cuticle stick wrapped with loose cotton (with a smidgen of polish remover to help adherence) to push the cuticles in. 

I use the leftover bit of cotton with Zoya Remove+ to wipe off the excess product on the nail.

The Base

I use the Rescue Beauty Lounge Treatment System (Base Coat Prep, Base Coat, Top Coat) with all my nail polishes. The Base Coat Prep ensures the nail is completely dry (no oil residue) before I begin painting my nails. This makes the polish last longer. The Base and Top Coat are pretty self-explanatory.  So far, I've gone through two Base Coats and three Top Coats, and I foresee many more in the future.

The Result

Rescue Beauty Lounge Grunge

An example from yore. I'm still very proud of this manicure

Rescue Beauty Lounge Grunge

The Removal

I remove my nail polish with Zoya Remove+. Teen Vogue Beauty Director Eva Chen (whom I adore) suggested in a recent tumblr post to fold a piece of square cotton into quarters and only wipe on the nail during removal to avoid drying out cuticles, which I will begin to practice from now on.


  1. Whenever I push back my cuticles and paint my nails, it looks nice at first but my cuticles slowly creep back up. Do you have to keep pushing them back each day?

  2. Oh the blue polish is really beautiful!

  3. Your nails are the perfect shape. Also, grunge... I need it in my life.

  4. There is such a thing as "base coat prep?" o_O

  5. Your nails are so PERFECT, just like your CHEEKZ.

  6. Same as Arianne. O_O

    You're so meticulous with the cuticles! When I did this post it was always "WHEN I BOTHER WITH THIS STEP..."

    *learned new things*

  7. Aina- Thank you!

    Mary- I know what you mean. My cuticles start appearing around three days in.. and I'm not really sure what people do when that happens. I personally change my nail polish 2-3 times a week, so I never have to worry about it.

    Naomi- It really is!

    dani- You dooooo

    Arianne- Hehe. Well, apparently before you apply base coat your nails are supposed to be completely dry/oil-free so that the polish will last longer, and the base coat prep just does that. That said, I don't really know what's the difference between that and using zoya remove? Though, I had that bottle since day one and barely gone through a quarter of it, so...

    Tracy- thank you, trakee! The nails take a lot more work though :P

    Liz- It's a product of nail blog ogling >< I realized the nicest ones have PERFECT cuticles. But urgh cuticle work is so tedious

  8. you have a naturally beautiful nails :) how does this compared to Deborah Lippmann's base coat?

  9. You have super perfect cuticles/nails. I'm so jealous! lol my cuticles are ATROCIOUS--always have been. Maybe I'm not drinking enough water or something? Anyway, they're getting a bit better since I've been regularly using CND SolarOil every night before bed--but if I skip a few days, they go back to being super ugly!

  10. Out of curiosity, is there an advantage to the RBL file rather than an OPI or other file I can pick up for about $2? It doesn't matter so much to me personally - I have gel enhancements and get my nails done every two weeks - but I'm curious why not use a disposable file. It seems more hygenic and less expensive.

    (Mind, I do carry a nail file with me for chips or rough edges, but I just made sure I got one at Ulta that was coarse enough for the gel.)

  11. Memoiselle- thanks :) I've never tried DL's base coat so I can't compare :x

    Becca- aw well, if i don't spend 1-2 hours on them they look like crap >< I understand though, I know when I use lotion before I sleep they'll look extra great, but I keep forgetting...

    rebecca- I guess there isn't, though in the long run getting the RBL (which if you take care of, will last forever?) would be less expensive than plunking down for nail files you keep having to throw away? I use other ones too, but I find that the RBL is kinder to my fragile/peely nails.


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