It’s Not Exactly Polish, But You Might Need It Anyway

My usually part-time job is going to be closer to full-time this week, but I still plan to post things on my promised Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule.  I apologize in advance if my posts end up being a little skimpy, though. 

Today I thought I’d highlight a few of my favorite nail products that are not nail polish.  Let’s start with these little guys:

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These are nail wheels that I got at Sally Beauty Supply.  I think they were around $7 for a pack of 10 wheels.   These are great for several things.

I love to use these to practice nail art.  They are a great way to organize your nail art ideas or recreations.  I find that when I do other people’s nails, they come in really handy in helping people determine what they actually want done on their nails. 

These wheels are also a great place to just simply try out your new polishes.  Often when I get a new polish, I will wonder how it will look with a specific topper (glitter, iridescent top coat,…) over it, and this is a great way to test it out.  

I also like this stuff:

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This is a really nice cuticle oil that will last me a really long time and it was under $3 (I think).  I like to use this after doing my nails, when the polish is dry or on days between polish jobs.  It will really keep your cuticles from looking ragged and crusty.    Truth be told, though, almost any oil that you have around the house will work just as well – olive, vegetable, …  Lately, I’ve been using coconut oil on my hands and cuticles right before bed, so I haven’t been using my actual cuticle oil as much.

I use these little guys ALL the time:

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The thing on the left is a cuticle pusher that I got at Sally Beauty Supply for like, $.69 or something really cheap.  The red end is a softer plastic that is great for gently pushing back your cuticles.  The other end is a tapered harder plastic which I end up using for all sorts of stuff, like scraping stubborn glitter off my nails during the polish removal process. 

The little brush on the right is a $1 concealer brush from e.l.f. cosmetics.  I dip it in acetone and use this to clean up any polish that accidentally gets on my skin after I do my nails.  It works like a charm!  Any brush with really stiff short bristles should work well as a clean-up brush.  I know a lot of people use a Q-tip dipped in acetone to do their clean-up, but a little brush allows you to be so much more precise.

Make-up sponges!

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I guess they are technically called “cosmetic wedges”, but there’s really make-up sponges.  These are great for certain glitter application techniques (like the gold glitter here) as well as gradient or “ombre” looks (like I did on the blue fingers here).  And they’re cheap.  This bag of 32 sponges was under $3.

OK, I confess that I’m mostly including this last item because I just got it and I think it’s super cute:

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It’s the Revlon Crazy Shine Nail Buffer!  Isn’t that the cutest buffer you ever saw?  And PA folks, it’s on sale at Giant this week for $1.09, regularly $3.09!  Buffers are great for shining up your polish if it starts to dull after a few days.  (Truthfully, I just usually slap on another layer of top coat, but if you don’t want to mess with that, a buffer is a great option.)  Buffers are also a great way to shine up natural nails without any polish or chemicals, perfect for people in the medical field or any other job in which you can’t wear polish. 

By husband (begrudgingly) let me buff his thumbnail:

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It’s so shiny that it looks like it’s got a coat of clear polish on it! 

OK, that’s it for today.  As always, I love hearing your comments and ideas!  Thanks for reading!

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Tools of the Trade

I’m about to reveal something that may blow your mind…  Here it is: Nail art is not really that hard.  Anyone can make their own nails look really awesome if they know a few tricks, and have the right tools.  Now, before I go any further, there are people out there doing nail art that actually have real artistic ability (do a search for Robin Moses Nail Art some time), and those people are in an awesome class of their own, but I’m not talking about those people right now.   I’m talking about regular people with very average drawing and painting skills.  I’m one of those regular people.

You will have a whole new, wonderful world of nail art open up in front of you if you can acquire just a few inexpensive tools.  Here’s my collection of tools:

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On the left are my dotting tools.  “What the heck is a dotting tool” you ask?  It’s pretty much a handle with a little round metal nub at the end that you can dip into polish or paint and then make perfectly round dots on your nails.  And don’t underestimate the versatility of dots.  You can do a ton of designs with just dots.  Five dots arranged in a circle with a different colored dot in the center is a flower.  Seriously Dots are great.

The first dotting tools I ever got were the three in the middle with the wooden handles.  I got them at Michael’s.  I’m pretty sure you could find something similar at just about any craft store.  After that I got the 5 pretty dotting tools with the plastic colored handles.  I’ve seen that set in beauty stores for over $10, but you can get them on Amazon for under $3.  That’s right, the whole set of 5 tools for under $3.  Just go to Amazon and search for “nail art dotting tools” and you’ll find a bunch of them listed.

Just to the right of my dotting tools is a little multi-functional little guy.  It’s got a dotting tool on one end, and an angled handle with a little brush on the other end.  I got that at Sally Beauty Supply for around $4.  I really like it and used it a lot when I first got it.  Ultimately, I wanted a brush that was just a little smaller so that I could be a little more detailed in my designs.  That first led me to the purple handled brush on the far right