Showing posts with label Dior. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dior. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

On My Radar | New in Beauty and Deals of the Week


New items on my radar in the beauty world:
  • Dior Beauty has launched some new fall products for eyes, lips and nails:
    • 5 Couleurs Eyeshadow Palette ($60) comes in five new shades in Bar 56, Carre Bleu 276, Pied De Poule 96, Trafalgar 876, Tutu 846
    • Rouge Dior Lipstick ($35) is available in five new colors with Carre D'Or 135, Bar 317, Rose Tutu 354, Rouge Massai 869 and Pied-de-Poule 977
    • Vernis Gel-Shine Nail Lacquer ($25) comes in four new cream finish shades in Pied de Poule 206, Rose Tutu 254, Bar 902 and Carre Bleu 769
  • Hourglass 1.5mm Mechanical Gel Eyeliner ($16 for single, $45 for set of 3) is the latest innovation from Hourglass with the thinnest waterproof gel liner that offers precision accuracy with a single stroke, available now at Hourglasscosmetics.com, at Sephora July 29, all other counters August 15
  • L'Occitane Frisson Verbena Collection ($12 to $55) has a range of fresh green and citrus body products perfect for summer, I'm in love with the Frisson Verbena Fresh Shower Gel and Hand Cream (thoughts on these soon)
  • Net-A-Porter Beautified Natural Nomad Pouch ($50) with Tata Harper Fortifying Body Oil and Lotion, Illia Sway Multistick, RGB Nail Polish, Remover Pad and Cuticle Oil, Rahua Volume Spray, Joya's Composition No. 1 Perfume, LAFCO Hand Lotion
  • YSL Volupté Sheer Candy ($34) has launched in four new shades in Belle Cannelle #14, Rose Candy #15, Cherise Desir #16 and Fraise Ganache #17

Some deals and codes that have come through my inbox recently:
  • Benefit Cosmetics - Free US Standard Shipping on any order with code SUNSHIP
  • Bloomingdales - bRejuvinated Beauty Event Gift with Purchase offers (over 60 offers) through July 28 or while supplies last, plus 4 free beauty samples with any online order
  • Clinique - Three free summer saver minis Moisture Surge Face Spray, 7 Day Scrub Rinse-Off, Acne Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel with any online Clinique purchase, 7/23 – 7/24 or while supplies last
  • L'Occitane - 12 Hour Beauty Break sale, you have 12 hours to shop for select products up to 50% off, online only July 23rd 10:00 AM EST to 10:00 PM EST
    • L'Occitane code offerings while supplies last:
      • Receive 3 Hand Creams + Adorable Pouch with any $25 Purchase with code SHEAHANDS, valid through 7/29
      • Free 50ml Shea Cleansing Milk with any $30 Purchase with code REFRESH, valid through 7/29
      • Free Angelica skincare duo of hydrating Toner and Cleansing gel with $45 purchase, code ANGELICA, valid through 7/29
  • Marc Jacobs Beauty - Free shipping on orders $50+, free mini Highliner in Blacquer with any $75+ order with code MINI, while supplies last
  • Macy's - Over 150 online only gift with purchase deals from Clinique, Origins, Elizabeth Arden, Laura Mercier
  • Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Gift With Purchase over 70 gifts with purchases available for the sale from Caudalie, YSL, Jo Malone, Jouer, Guerlain, Cle de Peau, Lancome, Estee Lauder, Chantecaille and more
  • Sephora - Online Limited Beauty Insider Offers with $25+ orders (one code per order) while supplies last:
    • Ole Henriksen's 3 Little Wonders 7-Day Sampler with code WONDERS
    • Choose 1 of 3 Lip Minis from Too Faced, NARS or Sephora Collection with code LIPMINI
    • Fresh Soy Conditioning Eye Makeup Remover with code FRESHSOY
    • Deluxe sample of Ole Henriksen Ultimate Lift Eye Gel with code EYELIFT
    • Benefit Cosmetics They're Real Push-Up Liner 30-day Sample with code PUSHUP
    • Choose 1 of 3 Deluxe Sized Self-Tanners from Vita Liberata, St. Tropez, bareMinerals with code BRONZED
    • Early Access sample of Josie Maran Argan Black Oil Mascara Deluxe Sample for VIBs/Rouge, use code VIBJOSIE
  • Shu Uemura USA - A Midsummer's Night Sample Set with any $50+ order, includes Tsuya Radiance Essense, Classic Cleansing Oil (20 ml), Anti-Oxi Deluxe Cleansing Oil (20 ml), Stage Performer Instant Glow (10 ml), Mini PK70C Gloss, use code UNWIND
If you have any good deals or codes, please share in the comments :)

P.S. Don't forget to enter my Fresh Sugar Tulip Giveaway! There are up to four ways to enter and the entry period is almost up. I'll be selecting the winner over the weekend and announce who won next week.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Dior Aventure #551 Vernis Gel Shine Nail Lacquer


On the nails right now: Dior Aventure #551 Gel Shine Nail Lacquer ($25 for 10 ml/0.33 fl oz). I've had this color since April and have worn it several times on tips and toes. Aventure #551 is a pretty coral. It has a slight transparent finish but gives almost near full coverage with two coats. The finish is lush and glossy with a flattering mix of pink, coral, peach making it one of my favorite summer shades for nails. I like that it's bright without being fluorescent. I've had really good experiences with the Dior Gel Shine Nail Polish formula, Aventure is no exception. All the colors I've tried wear extremely well with a wide range of top coat brands like Dior Gel Top Coat, Chanel Laque Brillance Extreme and Rescue Beauty Lounge. Lasting power is quite good with 5+ days (no tip wear). I didn't have time to re-swatch nail comparisons but you can see Aventure compared to Chanel Tutti Frutti and Mirabella.




Huge thumbs up. I swatched 16 of the new Gel Shine Nail Lacquer shades earlier this year. Detailed reviews and swatches also of Tra-La-La, Front Row, Wonderland, and Vibrato.

I purchased Aventure from Nordstrom. Also available at Sephora, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales and Saks.



Friday, July 18, 2014

In Rotation | Beauty Look Book Mascara and Lash Primer Picks


I typically limit myself to a couple of mascaras I use at any given time since I keep them for 3 months max before tossing but I've been testing new ones and I've discovered some new favorites. I have half a dozen I'm using right now and I've picked out my favorites to share.

When it comes to my lashes, I'm really picky with mascaras or lash primers. I have really straight ones that often don't hold the curl with most mascaras even with a lash curler (my essentials here). I also find a lot of black mascaras turn grayish looking after they dry on my lashes, smudge or end up feeling crunchy and flake during the day. When it comes to mascara I look for something that will last all day without clumping, flaking, smudging and something that stays a true lush black color and holds the curl.

I'm hesitant to try lash primers and lash serums because I don't like having an extra layer of product on my sensitive eyes. I'm a novice in this area so if you have any recommendations I am all ears.
The mascara and lash products I have in rotation right now:

  • Shu Uemura Lash Builder ($33) is a lash builder serum to help create a longer lusher lash look, I've been testing this for a few weeks and am still undecided on what I think but it's been in my lash rotation, it darkens and defines the lashes when you apply it but I haven't seen a visible difference after I apply colored mascara, reviews seem to indicate you will see results over time
  • Diorshow Maximizer Lash Plumping Serum ($28.50) is something I've used for several years, I don't use it everyday but it's a favorite base that helps mascara adhere better to the lashes and makes it catch the lashes resulting in a fuller look, I like that it doesn't impact the curl after using a lash curler
  • Guerlain Maxi Lash Waterproof ($30) is something I discovered thanks to RaeView, it's the first waterproof mascara I've tried that doesn't make my lashes feel crunchy, this one needs 2-3 uses to break it in, it gives lush rich black lashes, volumizes, doesn't clump/flake/smudge and defines the lashes nicely, I haven't tested it at the beach or pool but it seems to be sweat proof and lasts all day
  • Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Stretch ($32) is a staple in my beauty arsenal, I've repurchased this numerous times (probably a dozen tubes by now), it's my favorite mascara of all time because it does everything I want - lengthens, defines, thickens, darkens the color and stays put, it's easy to apply and gets the little corners easily because of the tapered brush tip, the bristles are well designed to grab on to the lashes and glides on easily
  • Chanel Le Volume de Chanel ($30) is the only Chanel mascara I like, it's a lightweight mascara that glides on easily and doesn't clump, it stays put and doesn't dry to a grayish finish like other Chanel mascaras do (at least for me), I like the Black and Bleu (navy) for fun, but mostly use the black
  • NARS Larger than Life Volumizing Mascara ($25) is another favorite that I've repurchased numerous times, it is one of my favorite volumizing mascaras that doesn't flake or smudge, this one has a big fluffy brush so it can be prone to clumping after a while due to buildup, I wipe down the brush with a small piece of paper wrapped around the tip (tissue or paper towels will get caught in the bristles, so paper actually is best to clean the brush) and then it's back to perfection
If I were pressed to pick just one mascara to live with the rest of my life, it would be the Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Stretch. If you're looking for something more wallet-friendly, a few other  less expensive favorites I've tested and purchased numerous times include Clinique High Impact Mascara ($16), Topshop 3d Curve Mascara ($20, or in this Eyeliner/Mascara Set for $24) and MAC Plushlash Mascara ($16) has been a long-time favorite. I've tried dozens of drugstore mascaras (literally) and for some reason they've all turned grayish in color on my lashes and I've never found one that holds the curl.



What are your holy grail lash primers, serums and mascaras? I've been researching lash serums and would love your thoughts on any you've tried.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Travel Makeup | Summer Edition


As requested, here are the items I brought with me on my recent trip. All the items were carried in my well-loved Bobbi Brown Train Case (from 12+ years ago and no longer available for sale, Old Hollywood Version still available). I tend to overpack for makeup so the case limits what I bring. If it can't fit, it doesn't travel with me. I've split the items into three categories: Lips, Face/Cheeks and Eyes.













To those who asked to see what I brought with me, I hope this helps! I always have a makeup overpacking problem so my fellow beauty lovers - if you have any tips I'd love to hear what you bring with you on trips/travel whether it's a weekend getaway, a week trip or extended vacation.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Color Focus | Bronze and Metallic Nail Lacquers


This time of year my favorite colors for beauty are the bronzey metallics for well, everything: lips, nails and cheeks. For nails there have been quite a few lovely releases from early spring that I wanted to highlight.

  • Dior Vibrato 618 Gel Shine Nail Lacquer ($25) is a new color that was released with the reformulation of Dior nail polishes. This one is a bit harder to find in the US. You can order it from the Dior Boutiques (I ordered mine from Las Vegas Palazzo) or online at Dior.com or Selfridges. It's a stunning metallic loaded with tons of different colors of sparkles. It has the complexity of Chanel Graphite but with a gold bronze base and with much better coverage. I found this to be a one-coat wonder but prefer two.
  • Tom Ford Incandescent ($32) was part of the Spring 2014 Collection and was highlighted back in February (here). It's miraculously still available for purchase. If you haven't looked at it yet, I highly recommend it. It's a stunning rose gold bronze nail polish.
  • Bobbi Brown Raw Sugar Nail Lacquer ($15) was released with the Raw Sugar Collection (Shimmer Brick Eye Palette featured here), it's a beautiful cool bronze metallic. I had to go to several counters before I found one that still had this in stock but it's definitely still out there for purchase. You can still find it at Bloomingdales, Barneys and Bobbi Brown.
  • Bobbi Brown Bronze Nail Lacquer ($15) was released earlier this spring (swatches here). It's still available for purchase at Saks and Bobbi Brown. I like that this is a good shimmer that doesn't show brush strokes.
  • Burberry Metallic Khaki #202 ($21) is a dark bronze khaki gold shimmer. I like this one because it's dark but not so dark that the shimmer doesn't show through. In sunlight it's really pretty. The texture is really smooth with the first coat being slightly transparent/jelly like. The second coat is what makes this one perfect.
  • YSL Bronze Aztec #28 ($25) is a dark metallic deep blackened bronze with gold shimmer. It has really good coverage with two thin coats and dries quickly.

Close ups and swatches, Dior Vibrato and Tom Ford Incandescent:




Bobbi Brown Raw Sugar vs Bronze:


Bronze:


Raw Sugar:


Burberry Metallic Khaki and YSL Bronze Aztec:




Comparison swatches below to some other bronzey metallic nail polishes: Chanel Delight (still at Chanel.com), Chanel Golden Sand (discontinued, similar Gold Shimmer in this Le Vernis Trio), Tom Ford Burnt Topaz (still available at Saks)



My current favorites are tied between Bobbi Brown Raw Sugar and Dior Vibrato. What's your favorite bronzey metallic nail polish?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Loving This Week


This week I'm in love with Tatcha's Indigo Hand Cream and Caudalie's Divine Oil for extra moisture and hydration. Fresh Sugar Lip Treatments in the mini sizes have found their way to my makeup bag on a regular basis lately as well for added moisture and quick touch ups. As my skin has started to clear up the Chanel Les Beiges Fluid No. 30 has started to be sufficient on its own (just with powder added) for a sheer evening base. As an update to my last review, I got a sample of No. 20 and found it to be a good match as well, just slightly too pink so No. 30 is a better match for me right now. Edward Bess Afterglow has remained a staple for me every day, I just used another one up and opened up a brand new one. Perfect as an eye base or highlight on the cheekbones. Another eye pencil I've been loving for an eye base is NARS Soft Touch Pencil in Iraklion as a good nude taupey cream base for powder eyeshadows. It's a lovely subtle neutral. Sephora Beauty Insider offerings are killing it this summer with the Elizabeth and James Nirvana minis (I'm seriously considering the full size of Nirvana Black). MAC Sharon Osbourne Lipglasses in Pussywillow and Bijou are my new must-haves (review to come soon, I think Bijou is backup worthy). I'm planning a mid-week nail polish change on my toes but can't decide between Dior Metal Montaigne or Incognito (do you ever do nudes on your toes?). Guerlain Cils d'Enfer in Waterproof Black is a new discovery thanks to The Raeviewer (be sure to check out her summer must-haves). I love it for lush thick defined lashes and the formula stays put all day long. Le Metier de Beaute Dark Orchid Kaleidoscope is a Neiman Marcus Camp Gorgeous Gift with Purchase Exclusive with a $250 LMdB purchase, I purchased items in store to get this, but just checked online to see it it was available. It's not listed in the beauty offers section but if you add items to your cart the gift will show up once you hit the qualifying amount (while supplies last). I wish Le Metier de Beaute would release more kaleidoscopes that weren't exclusives but I'm really happy to have this one.

Currently working my way through reviews of so many lipglosses that I've accumulated since May. Featured above are Marc Jacobs Overprotected and NARS Lipgloss in Istria, Belize, Sweet Dreams and Risky Business.

What are you loving this week?

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Dior Wonderland #575 Vernis Gel Shine Nail Lacquer


Dior Wonderland #575 Gel Shine Nail Lacquer ($25 for 10 ml/0.33 fl oz) is a beautiful warm vibrant pink nail polish from the new Gel Shine formula line. There are a number of different shades released in this new formula, however some are exclusive to certain stores (see nail wheel swatches here). Wonderland #575 is one of those classic shades that is available at all Dior locations.

It's a bright summery color that has a slight hint of silver shimmers in the bottle. On the nail it applies like a cream. The coverage of Wonderland is like a jelly with good pigment. It has a semi-transparent finish but covers the entire nail with two coats. The Dior formulas continue to get better in my experience. As noted in some previous reviews of the Gel Shine Formula, these have a lush glossy finish with impressive lasting power.



I applied it on my own on several occasions over the past few months. My favorite combination was to use this on top of the Sephora Formula X Base Coat and the Dior Gel Top Coat on top. My manicure lasted 5 days without any tip wear.


Swatched with two coats:





I pulled out a number of other warmer bright pinks to compare. Dior Wonderland proved to be almost identical to Chanel Tutti Frutti and Fracas. All the pinks pull really similar on the nail wheel. The differences in real life are slight:
  • Tom Ford Indiscretion is darker and more rose
  • Chanel Tutti Frutti is slightly warmer and more coral with a golden shimmer (more pigmented) 
  • Dior Rose Cabaret 563 (discontinued) is slightly more pink
  • Chanel Fracas is a bit more blue and has gold shimmers (more pigmented)
  • Chanel Rose Insolent is more blue in undertone
  • Dior Plaza (discontinued) is significantly cooler with a visible blue base

You may find color of Dior Wonderland to be too close to other Chanels to justify owning. I know some find better wear with Dior, I personally find them both to be of similar quality and lasting power. The Dior Wonderland has a slightly jelly finish. The color has enough warmth in it to make it super flattering on a wide range of skin tones. The Chanel colors by comparison are slightly more opaque with a more complex shimmer infused.


Dior Wonderland #575 retails for $25. Available at all Dior retail counters and boutiques. Online at Nordstrom, Sephora, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, Saks and Dior.com. For swatches and review of other shades, check out swatches of 16 Colors, Front Row and Tra La La.



Thursday, May 29, 2014

Nail and Hand Care Essentials


The most frequently asked questions I've received have been focused around hand and nail care. I review lots of nail polishes and change colors frequently and taking care of my hands has always been a must. I'll go through my hand and nail care routine and answer some questions that I receive on a regular basis.


I'll share a bit of background on my nail/hand care routine and history. I played the violin when I was younger and kept playing through through college. This required me to keep my nails extremely short with only a sliver of the white tips showing. Out of habit and personal preference I've always kept my nails on the shorter end, although in recent years I've started growing them a bit longer. You can see the difference then in 2010 vs. now in 2014. For everyday hand activity I've had a diverse work history that has required a lot of typing from number crunching and market research. I tend to type with my hands at an angle (rather than having finger more at a 90 degree angle) so my nails don't tend to hit the keys as much as someone who holds their hands at a more perpendicular angle to the keyboards. Some frequently asked questions:
  • Are your nails always professionally manicured? Or do you maintain them yourself? My manicures are a mix of both professionally applied nail polish and DIY. For the longest time I couldn't properly do my own nail polish for a full manicure. Being able to paint one's nails doesn't always come naturally, it takes lots and lots of practice. I would say my manicures are 50/50 done myself versus at a professional salon.
  • How often do you get professional manicures? It varies depending on what I'm testing out, swatching, and also time constraints. I would say it ranges from every other week to once a month.
  • Your nail polish seems to have a long wear life without tip wear, I work at an office job that requires a lot of typing, how do you avoid tip wear? Tip wear will probably depend on how long your nails are, if they are on the long side there will be a lot of surface contact which can lend to more tip wear. I recommend keeping them on the shorter end to avoid breakage. Make sure you use a good base coat, brush the tips of the nails with a bit of color to cover the end of the nail, make sure your top coat covers not just the top of your nail but brush over the tip end as well.
  • What base and top coats do you use? I'll go into what I use below, I usually use Deborah Lippmann Rehydrating Base Coat and Chanel Top Coat but it varies depending on what brand of color I'm using.
  • My nail polish never lasts more than 3 days, it starts to peel and chip no matter what brand, help? Several things could contribute to short-lived manicures. For prep, your nail might not be entirely clean. Even with polish remover, if you've used oils or lotions, there could be remnants of product still lingering on the nail. Use a nail cleaner or polish remover that helps clean (more below). You could be loading on too much color too soon. While it may seem to be a time saver to load up more color for 1 coat, don't do it. Apply your polish in thin coats even if it looks uneven the first coat. The second or third (for sheerer colors) will smooth out the surface. You also might not be covering your entire nail tip with top coat - doing so will make sure you covered the entire nail.
  • What advice would you give to those who are a novice to DIY manicures? I would recommend getting your nails professionally manicured the first 3-4 manicures you have so you can observe their application technique in person. You really only need salon manicures every once in a while for a clean up. It's easy to maintain your nails yourself in between salon visits. You don't necessarily have to do it yourself, as some can vouch, manicuring your own nails can sometimes take longer and be more frustrating.
  • Do you need to stick with the same brand of polish and base/top coats? Or can you mix and match? I don't think you need to stick with the same brands, although using the same can often be best. Different brands have different formulas and don't always work well together for me. For example I'm super picky with top coats - I don't like any sign of shrinkage where the top coats dry and shrink over the nail polish leaving a visible line around the edges. (Seche and OPI do that with Chanel for me). I like to mix and match.
The items I use are going to broken down into the following categories: Removers, Treatments, Tools, Base Prep and Top Coats. Like most beauty routines, I believe nail care items should be built slowly over time with testing or by researching reviews online.



I used to use cheap nail polish removers from CVS and Target, but after I started changing my nail polish frequently, I found that they made my nails and fingers extremely sensitive and that my nails started to peel (the actual nail). Based on reviews and recommendations I've found several new removers that are gentle for sensitive fingers but still very effective in removing all traces of polish. Items shown above described left to right:
  • Zoya Remove + Big Flipper is a 3 in 1 product that removes color, preps the nail and conditions. I discovered this thanks to the recommendation of Café Makeup - we discussed nail care, I shared my finger woes, she said try the Zoya, it's "so good." She was right. Read the reviews on Zoya or Makeupalley and you'll see others agree. There are different size options, I like the Big Flipper because it has an easy push down dispenser.
  • Sephora Formula X Delete Nail Polish Remover is another love (reviewed here). This is another item I bought based on online reviews. It has a similar push down dispenser lid. I like this one because it's compact and the design is very sleek and simple. The easy to use pump action makes it super handy -  you don't have to flip over the bottle and risk ruining painted nails if you need to clean edges or mess-ups.
  • Dior Dissolvant Abricot is an ultra luxurious and pricey non-acetone remover, it has a rich abricot scent formulated with ingredients to nourish, hydrate and strengthen. I found it was extremely effective in removing Dior's Gel Top Coat and dark polish underneath. I'm not a fan of the price and those sensitive to fragrance may find this too heavy. I went through one bottle pretty quickly and repurchased a second. It's the only remover I've tried that has a slightly moisturizing/hydrating feel. If the bottle were about 3-4 times larger I think I could justify the price for more frequent use.
  • Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Remover is the only cuticle softener that I've tried but I was lucky to find a really good one on my first try. It comes in a milky white liquid with a dropper. Apply to the cuticle area for a minute and then push back with a cuticle tool and it removes excess cuticle skin easily. This is a definite must for anyone who does their own manicures. It's gentle but super effective.



I attribute good looking hands to good hand care. I'm almost always carrying one to two hand creams in my purse. I rely on L'Occitane because they come in travel sizes, a variety of scents and have fun packaging. Plus the formula is hard to beat. For extra care I've discovered layering oil into hand cream can help give an added boost of moisture. I prefer hand creams that absorb quickly into the skin and that aren't greasy feeling so it doesn't ruin paper, clothes or get everywhere you touch. My current loves, left to right:
  • Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Oil is as good as it gets (there's a mini version as well). A little goes a long way with the dropper, you only need a little bit. It's not greasy but can get sticky, I recommend applying this with precision to the cuticles and rub in quickly. It has Jojoba Oil, Coconut Oil, Mineral Oil and smells amazing. I use this about once a week and it keeps the cuticles looking really good.
  • Caudalie Divine Oil is a must for me (review here), unfortunately they've changed the packaging of the mini size and it doesn't come with the spray pump dispenser. When I visited the Venice Boutique, they had hand massage treatments and they mixed the oil with their Hand and Nail Cream (review here) which is another staple of mine. I can't rave enough about these.
  • Tatcha Soothing Silk Indigo Hand Cream (review here) helps to soothe dry or irritated hands, it hydrates well and absorbs quickly into the skin, the packaging is compact enough to fit into the purse
  • L'Occitane Hand Creams have been a classic for me for years (check out the L'Occitane Hand Cream Bar), they can be on the pricey side for the side, but the formula is worth every penny, these come in a variety of scents and special formulas, my current favorites are the Shea Butter Honey (soothing and creamy) along with the new Vitória-Régia from the Viva Brazil collection (lush sweet floral). L'Occitane has monthly gift with purchase promotions in stores and online, it's one of the few brand newsletters I subscribe to that I don't mind receiving weekly (they have good deals). I've converted so many of my friends to L'Occitane as these hand creams make good small gifts or add-ons (just add a box of Godiva chocolate or small bouquet of flowers).
  • Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv Hand Cream was a huge step-up gift with purchase from Neiman Marcus at one of the Estee Lauder events they had a year ago in store. I was a bit intimidated by the size and packaging as it looks like an intensive treatment. It is indeed an intense hand cream but still very gentle and is the best at smoothing lines. You can see the effects immediately and over time it does improve the overall look and appearance of your hands.



My tools are very basic, items were either found at local drugstores or Ulta. There are a wide number of tools out on the market, I'm sure there are more experienced nail experts who know more about tools, my picks were picked out without much research or planning.
  • Revlon Nail Clipper is an older version that I have, they've gone through a few revamps and upgrades in packaging design but the overall shape and size remains the same
  • Tweezerman Nail File I've picked up various nail files over the years, I find Tweezerman to be sturdy but with a rough enough surface to be effective on harder nails but not too harsh, the ones from Sephora that I've bought come with a plastic storage sleeve which is convenient for storage (and makes sure it doesn't scratch your other products)
  • Ulta Crystal Nail File if you're one who hates the feeling of filing nails, you need to check out Crystal Nail Files, a multitude of brands have these such as OPI and Sephora. These have a unique fine-grade glass surface that is good for sensitive or thinner nails, it gently smooths edges and also has a tapered precision tip to clean beneath the nail.
  • Tweezerman Pushy Cuticle Pusher is a smaller tool for cuticles, I prefer smaller shapes, although some prefer ones with larger curved tips to match the natural shape of the nails. I find the Tweezerman one to be small enough for my small fingers, it's sturdy and effective for me. For any kind of cuticle removal or care, I recommend you proceed with extra caution. Don't push too hard and be extra gentle with the cuticles - this is where I recommend you observe a professional several times before attempting on your own.
  • Revlon Cuticle Nippers are another basic drugstore purchase, I've had two from Revlon, both have lasted over 5 years, just make sure you clean them regularly with warm water and soap (I use antibacterial dish soap) or alcohol. I wouldn't recommend using cuticle clippers regularly, I use them to clip hang nails or only use if the cuticles have been softened and properly prepped.



For base coats, I look for something that helps protect bare nails. I look for items that won't turn the nails yellow, items that aren't drying and that also don't make the nails peel. I'll highlight the ones I use briefly, let me know if you need more information on any of these, I find they all work well with other brands such as Chanel, OPI, YSL, Dior, Tom Ford and NARS.
  • Sephora Formula X Nail Cleanser (reviewed here) is a relatively new discovery for me but I find that having a completely clean nail surface before using base coat or color really makes a difference in the wear of nail polish
  • Sephora Formula X Base Coat (reviewed here) is a sticky formula that helps polish adhere well, I like this best with the Formula X polishes but I've also tried (and love it) with Dior, Marc Jacobs and Chanel
  • CND Stickey Base Coat is a classic that I've repurchased multiple times, it's an affordable option that works well with all brands I've tried
  • Deborah Lippmann Rehydrating Base Coat is my most-frequently used base coat, I don't usually have nails that peel except when I do a lot of swatching and comparisons on the fingers, this helps immensely



  • Sephora Formula X Shine Top Coat (review here) is an awesome top coat but is on the thicker side, it works best with Formula X brand nail colors, when I used The System and their Nail Color, I had a manicure last over 7 days without any tip wear or chipping
  • Creative Nail Design Super Shiny Top Coat is another beauty staple, some of the nail salons I go to layer this with a Revlon top coat for an ultra cushy look (I haven't looked into the Revlon personally)
  • Chanel Laque Brilliance Extreme is my all time favorite top coat, it helps my polishes last long, doesn't crack or chip and give a lush shiny gloss
  • Rescue Beauty Lounge Top Coat is another item I've repurchased (I'm on my third bottle), it's just as good as Chanel, some say it's better, mine has a pinkish tinge because I didn't let my pink nail polish dry long enough and had some color transfer
  • Dior Gel Coat is a top coat I've found works best with Dior Polishes (Chanel v Dior post here), it works well over other brands for a gel-shine finish and lush look, but can be prone to cracking on certain brands
This sums up my hand and nail care favorites. I hope this give you a comprehensive overview on my personal hand and nail care routine. To recap, I definitely think you can maintain your hands and nails on your own but regular salon visits help keep hands looking better. You don't need an expensive salon to maintain your nails, there are a lot of good ones that are more affordable.

If you have any hand or nail care staples, I'd love to hear about your tried and true. Let me know if you have any interest in a nail care maintenance tutorial post.



This post contains some items that were sent for review consideration. Most items were purchased by me. Press samples include Sephora The System, Tatcha Indigo, L'Occitane Vitória-Régia. For more information refer to my Disclosures.
 

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