Sunday, July 27, 2008

Tools of the trade, or my must-haves - Part 1

What do I use to keep my hands, cuticles and mani in a good shape?

1. Disposable gloves. All the time. No, I'm not talking about "dirty chores", like dishes or floor scrubbing - it's kinda given. Try using gloves all the time: for dusting, for instance, or strawberry hulling. You are not going to believe the difference.

3 excuses I hear all the time:
1. I cannot do dishes in gloves. It's just uncomfortable!
- Tell it to a surgeon, performing...well - brain surgery. Peeling a potato is a bit less tricky.

2. I feel like a stupid character from a stupid commercial.
- I'd rather look stupid than have bad cuticles.

3. It's expensive.

All in all - go and get them.

2. Cuticle remover. Weekly.
I use ol' good (and inexpensive) Sally Hansen in a blue bottle. Advertised 15 seconds is definitely not enough; don't be afraid to leave remover on your cuticles for longer. Exercise your common sense, thou - this staff literally dissolves raggedy, dry cuticles and can dissolve a thin (or not so thin) layer of your nails as well. And this would be a warm, friendly welcome to any nail infection - ask me how I know. After a painful lesson I use cuticle remover on polished nails only: polish creates a protective barrier for the nail.

3. Cuticle eraser. 256 times a day.
Cuticle eraser, despite its name, does not erase cuticles, but rather conditiones, moisturaises and gently exfoliates them. There are many available, and you can use whatever brand you prefer.
My favorites:
- Poshe AHA Citicles Care aka Poshe in a yellow tube
- Creative Nail Design Cuticle Eraser. Comes in a big, economy-size tube, but smells like dead lemons and has a tendency to break down to oil and white goo over time.
- Zoya Qtica Cuticle repair Balm. A bit greasy, but works wonderful for winter time or to revive dried, over-acetoned cuticles. Unlike Poshe and CND, does not contain exfoliating AHA.

Apply eraser as often as you can. I keep a huge tube in a car, to smack on my cuticles while in a traffic and near every sink in a house.

Think outside the box. Or, in this case, outside the tube.

I accidently discovered that Kerasal foot ointment works wonders for my cuticles. Better yet, its generic version from RiteAid does the same job for less $$!

My Nail Board buddy Ponchy introduced all nail boarders to the magic of cheap AHA care for the cuticles. Alpha Hydrox Foot & Problem Area cream with 12% AHA is an ideal solution for toes. For $8 plus change I use it on my feet very generously; it's good for fingernails as well. Just don't forget about your sunscreen: AHA makes skin very photosensitive.