Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Scrangie's Nail Care Must-Haves!

In response to a request from lovely reader Gef, here's what I use to maintain my nails:

Glass File (I like OPI's and Essie's)
Buffer (cheap three-ways from nail supplies work well)
Metal Cuticle Pusher (Round on one end with a pointy thing on the other)
Cuticle Nippers (must be extremely sharp and clean!)
Nail Brush (cheap disposable ones that I change out often, used every time I wash my hands)

Creative Nail Design Cuticle Remover (the clear gel in the big squeeze bottle)
Creative Nail Design Solar Oil
Creative Nail Design Cuticle Eraser
Qtica Intense Cuticle Repair Balm
Qtica Half Time Drying Drops
OPI Nail Envy
Seche Vite (or Poshe)
Cutex Original Nail Polish Remover (or if I'm feeling fancy, Zoya Remove+)

So, there are my absolute must-haves. Now, how to go about using them...

My basic routine is mostly upkeep. I never really take much length off my nails so I usually just file them to maintain their shape. When I do a full manicure, it goes something like this:

  1. Remove old polish
  2. File nails to desired shape using glass file.
  3. Apply CND Cuticle Remover and wait a minute.
  4. Begin pushing back cuticles and cleaning up around sides of nails and under nails with metal cuticle pusher. Be gentle, but remove as much as you can.
  5. Wash off cuticle remover and scrub hands with a grainy sugar scrub.
  6. Using cuticle nippers, cut only what's hanging off or sticking up. I never actually cut my cuticles, but if I have a hangnail or just too much excess cuticle I carefully trim it.
  7. Gently buff nails with 3-way buffer. I only do this if I need to. Too much buffing weakens my nails, so I only buff when they look rough.
  8. Apply tons of lotion and Solar Oil.
Pretty simple, nothing fancy, but that's how I do my manicures.

Now for the "treatments" portion of the list. You'll notice that I have a lot of favorites. I love cuticle oil and cuticle balm and I apply it several times during the day. With the CND Cuticle Eraser, I apply that once or twice a day, sometimes only every other day or whenever I remember to. I also like Poshe's AHA Cuticle Therapy- it comes in a better tube with a label that doesn't peel off and it doesn't smell like rotten lemon juice.

The Solar Oil (or OPI Avoplex, which I also love) I apply constantly. I have the big bottle near my couch, so whenever I'm watching TV I apply it a few times. It soaks in really quickly, so you can apply it repeatedly without getting greasy fingers. I buy tons of mini bottles and stash them all over- in my purse, in the bathroom, in my car, in the kitchen, everywhere. Apply the oil every time you see it.

The Qtica Intense Cuticle Repair Balm is special. It's a new favorite of mine and I don't know how I didn't find this sooner. It's super thick, rich and a little sticky- perfect for after you wash your hands. It really locks in moisture and it's so soothing on dry cuticles. I put this on before bed also.

OPI Nail Envy is one of my favorite treatments, but I'm also really digging Qtica Natural Nail Growth Stimulator. I use them as a base coat before polish. They seem to prevent chipping and staining quite well, with the added benefit of strengthening your nails at the same time. If I'm using a base coat, I like it to double as a treatment. I used to use Nailtek II Foundation, but I've misplaced my bottle and have no idea where I left it.

As a topcoat, I always use either Seche Vite or Poshe. I tend to favor Seche Vite because it seems to dry a bit faster, but Poshe seems a little shinier. Anyway, I don't know what I would do without these! The way to use them, if you've never used them before, is to apply it directly on top of wet polish. You get a decent sized bead on the brush and you spread it over the nail. it will even itself out, but it does start drying right away. Once you apply the topcoat, your nails will be dry to the touch in a minute or two and completely dry in 10-15 minutes. To speed it up, I use Qtica Half Time drying drops. All you do with the drops is drop a tiny amount onto each nail and it protects your polish while it's drying and helps it to dry faster. They rock.

So, there you have it. My bare necessities, my basic nail care must haves!


  1. Thank you so much! :) <3

  2. Gef, you are very, very welcome! I'm always happy to help :D

  3. Thank you so much, very interesting :-)
    Been looking for some different treatments. My polish starts to chip after only one day of wear, and hope trying some new treatments will help me.
    Just wondering one thing; do you apply nail polish after you have applied Solar Oil?

  4. Hi Ane Kristine! I apply Solar Oil only after I've applied nail polish. If there's too much oil on the nail, the polish won't apply properly, so I make sure to remove all the oils from my nail with nail polish remover before applying polish. :D

  5. Thats what I thought, but never hurts to ask :-)
    Am a new reader of your blog and am really enjoying it. Thanks for introducing me to Zoya, am going to buy some soon!

  6. Well welcome Ane Kristine! I'm glad you like it :D And Zoya rocks, you should definitely try it!

  7. Oh hallelujah. I think I've been waiting for this post forever but didn't even know it. Merci beaucoup!

  8. Rachelskirts, je vous en prie! Always happy to help! :D

  9. Hi,
    Your nails are gorgeous. I am just wondering if you also take any oral vitamin supplements - I've seen hair and nail vitamins in stores like GNC. Thanks! Susan

  10. Hi Susan! I do take a Biotin supplement every day and in the past I have also used a Hair, Skin and Nails supplement from The Vitamin Shoppe. They seem to help- I would definitely recommend them for general hair and nail health :)

  11. Hi,
    I was wondering how do you deal with stained yellowish nails(from dark polishes)? I'm sure at this point your a pro but how did you fix this problem in the past? I do use basecoats but maybe i'm not using the right ones. Can i get rid of this?

  12. Hey Anonymous :)
    While my nails are always a little stained from the dark colors, I do find that light buffing followed by a soak in a bleach/water solution (a capful of bleach in a big bowl of water) really helps with the staining. Also, a basecoat like Color Club's Milky White French Manicure Base Coat really disguises stained nails- it has a slight blue/purple tint to it that really brightens your nails!

  13. Hi there!

    Do you know which stores sell Zoya? I dont like to by nail color online unless I have already seen the color, I cant seem to find Zoya anywhere......

  14. Hi Deborah!

    I don't know of any stores that sell Zoya besides the rare salon or beauty supply. I know that Mario Tricoci salons sell Zoya. Other than that salon, I have never seen them in a retail location. Sorry!! :(

  15. Im an OPI and China Glaze girl myself, Id actually never even heard of Zoya until recently.

    I made a starter list, tell me if any of these are horrible on (I saw a few of them on your site THANKS!)
    9.Sparkle Gloss

    Im a polish freak, cant ever get just one- but like I said I usually buy from stores/salons for my new colors.

    Im typically kind of "plain jane"-20 candles on my cake is my favorite color ever (not very daring)

    Thanks-Im new to your site, but I LOVE IT!

    P.S. I just have to know-how many bottles of polish do you have?

  16. Oh-BTW
    I have a must have to share (thought I should contribute instead of just asking millions of questions!! -smile-)

    Has anyone tried Haken cuticle oil? Its very cheap and I buy it at Sally- Its wonderful, and smells so nice. My favorite is the vanilla almond.

  17. Deborah, those are all great ones! You did an excellent job picking out some of the best Zoya has :)

    Thank you for the compliment :) I'm glad you like it!

    As for the polish question, I've never actually counted but I'm pretty sure I have well over 1,000 XD

    And I also like Haken cuticle oil! Vanilla Almond is my favorite too :) I've also tried the China Rain scent and that one smells great!

  18. Which quick drying top coats are compatible with Zoya nail polish?

  19. Anonymous, I've used Seche Vite and Poshe with no problems (except for one weird bottle of Seche, but I think that was a fluke)

    99% of the time I use Seche Vite with Zoya and it works like a charm!

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  21. This is such a helpful post thanks so much it will really help me grow my nails post acrylics x

  22. 1000 polishes would leave me like that old, proverbial donkey...starving between 2 piles of hay while trying to choose which one. LOL. I have about 150 (the last 40 or so of which I blame on you and the MIA Polish Addict, lol) and sometimes I want to go skittle just because I can't make up my mind!

    Thank you so much for the wonderful swatches you do, it has saved me many a dollar on bad site swatches and found me some absolute gems I would never have considered due to those same crappy sale site swatches. Polish on!

  23. I have soft brittle, peeling nails. For the most part my nails can still grow.. but would you recommend OPI Nail Envy or NailTec for peeling nails? Which one would work better for treatment and also as a good anchoring base-coat?? Thanks so much!

  24. I just bought Solar Oil on your recommendation because my skin around my nails is so dry and I get hangnails, and none of the cuticle balms I've tried have done the trick. I have to say I was so pleasantly surprised by the scent! I love love love anything almond scented or flavored (marzipan is one of my favorite treats ever)! So when I saw that almond oil was the first ingredient in Solar Oil, I was all "Oooh, I wonder if it will smell like almond!" and sure enough it does! Yum! Love it! I want to eat my fingers, haha! :) I know this post is a few years old but I've bookmarked it for tips! :)

  25. Hi,
    Do you know if Qtica Intense Cuticle Repair Balm is vegan?
    I can't seem to find a good nail and cuticle treatment. I've got nails that are thin, peel, split, and break (my blood tests are normal). I keep my nails even shorter then yours because they break otherwise which would be okay except that it hurts a lot.


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