Wednesday, January 7, 2015

How I Combat The Ravages of Winter


Winter has definitely arrived here in central Ohio, which means it's time to pull out the big guns in defense of the damage that dry, cold air can do to nails and hands.

I do want to say that if you decide to use some of these products, please check the ingredients if you are allergic. I know some people are allergic to sweet almond oil and some of these products contain that ingredient as well as other ingredients that can cause an allergic reaction in some people.

Having said that, here is my entire arsenal.

Some of these products are used on a daily basis all year round. The mainstay of this arsenal is that little bottle with the pink cap. That is my day to day hand lotion, comprised of Curel hand lotion mixed with a bit of Simply Pure Nail Oil from Bliss Kiss.

I normally purchase the 4 oz size of the oil and put some in a dark brown dropper bottle, the .50 ounce size, for daily use then refrigerate the rest. I then mix some of the oil with the Curel hand lotion in a separate bottle - or rather, several separate bottles. I keep one in my purse and on my bedside table as well as on the desk where I do my nails. This way, I get a booster dose of nail oil every time I put lotion on my hands. 

I don't have a specific 'recipe' for the lotion. I would guess the amount of oil used would be the equivalent of a teaspoon or two per 3 oz bottle of hand lotion.

The oil also comes in a little half ounce dropper bottle that is refillable. I use the oil as both a treatment for nails and hands as well as post manicure to help set the polish.

To set polish, I put a drop on each nail then gently rub until the polish is what I call 'al dente', meaning I can rub the nail over a tooth and not leave a dent. I also use a fast dry top coat, which helps as well.

To treat nails, cuticles and hands, I will either place a drop beneath each nail and rub it in or put 4-5 drops into the little dapping dish I normally use for manicure cleanup and apply with a brush both under and over my nails. Either way, I'll rub the oil into my nails and cuticles then spread the excess over my hands and let it absorb for a short time before moving on to the next step.

I love this hand cream. It has a nice smell and sinks right in. I will also use it after finishing a manicure and before taking pictures because it doesn't leave my skin and cuticles too shiny. 

In the past, I have fought nail fungus and lifting of my nails but since I've been using the combination of the nail oil and this hand cream, I've seen much less of that mess. In fact, right now, I only have one nail in that condition and it's getting better all the time.

When I remove polish, I like to leave my nails naked for a couple of days unless I need to repolish. During that time, I'll follow the main routine then use the following additional products.

I use Argan oil products for my hair with happy results and so wanted the same for my nails. This cream is the perfect answer.

I get this Argan oil hand cream from Amazon. It's a bit on the expensive side, about $19 for a little over 3 ounces but totally worth it. It doesn't take much so it lasts for quite a while. The cream is quite thick and used alone, it doesn't leave the hands greasy. The scent reminds me a bit of suntan lotion but it's not too strong. The last time I ordered was back in September and you see how much is left of the first jar. I just received the new jar this week. 

Here's the next step. 

I got this tiny little tin with a kit I purchased. It also comes in a much larger version, which I also have. This has a very herbal smell to it. Reminds me a bit of rosemary, which I believe is one of the ingredients. In the tin, it looks a lot like hardened petroleum jelly but melts with the heat of your hands into a moisture rich emollient. I rub this into my naked nails and cuticles first then rub the excess over my hands. 

I will also use this to seal in everything I just did.

Love this stuff. It smells so lemony and does a pretty good job of providing a protective layer over naked nails as well as cuticles. It's more waxy than the hand salve and lasts for quite a while. It will also melt with just the heat of the skin.

I'll use this entire routine several times a day when my nails are naked. I'll finish it off with my doctored up hand lotion or sometimes with this.

This one is very greasy and smells strongly of almond. It does contain sweet almond oil as its main ingredient so fair warning if you're allergic. The extremely thick formula also melts into an emollient and a little bit goes a long way. Put it on before bed and in the morning wake up with softer hands and well moisturized cuticles. 

Let's see, did I hit everything? Believe so. Most of these products can be purchased at any department, drug or grocery store. They can also be found online, sometimes at a cheaper price.

Now you know what I do to combat winter's attack on my hands and nails. If you have a specific routine or product that you love, leave a comment and let me know.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned.


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