The most important part of any nail care is to take good care of your cuticles. I'm in no way shape or form a nail technician but these are the products that work best for me and I can comfortably recommend for others to try. Nail growth begins under the cuticle so apart from making your nails look fabulous, cuticle care also helps you to grow beautiful nails. So if you do nothing else as a part of a care routine it's ok, as long as you give your cuticles a little love.
The first step to cuticle care is to remove the overgrown skin. There are many different cuticle removers on the market and what works for one person may not work for all. If you don't think you're remover is working well for you try another. My favourite cuticle remover is Sally Hansen's Instant Cuticle Remover. I love how fast it works, in just 15 seconds you can start to remove dead skin with an orange stick. As it does work so quickly, I usually do this part by the sink so that after running the orange stick around my cuticle and removing skin, I can quickly and easily wash the product off. I use this product once a week and I purchased it off eBay. If I have time I soak my hands first for five minutes as this helps to remove overgrown skin more efficiently.
The next super important part of cuticle care is to keep them moisturised! As they deal with acetone on a daily, weekly or how ever often you change your polish basis they need to have some moisture put back into them. You should also use some form of cuticle moisturiser to aid in the pushing back of cuticles.
There are many cuticle care products on the market but these are my favourites. Yes I have more than one as I find some work better for different problems.
Right now, Orly Cuticle Therapy Creme is my best friend. Winter is extremely harsh on my nails and cuticles and to counteract the drying effects of winter this creme is a winner for me. The creme is light and applies nicely with no greasiness or oily feel after use. It's only con is it has an old lady smell, but you can get past this as it is excellent at keeping cuticle moisturised and soft. I use this as many times as I can remember to put it on during the day. I have this little tube in my handbag and a larger tub under my coffee table, all to help me to remember to apply it. It fixes any dry spots within a day of use and my cuticles just love it. You only need a small amount so the tub will last a long time.
My other winter essential is Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Creme. This one smells delightful! As it's a thicker product this is the one I like to slather on my cuticles before bed. It really isn't a creme more like a salve texture and has waxy feel but it makes your cuticles feel gorgeous and super soft.
CND Cuticle Eraser is my home girl when my cuticles are going ok. It helps to add moisture and also to keep cuticle skin regrowth to a minimum between cuticle removal treatments. I love that this has no real smell and absorbs quickly but still leaves your cuticles soft and beautiful. It says use once a day on the packaging but I use it twice a day when my cuticles are looking good.
Onto the oils, oils are my favourite product in summer. They are easy to use, absorb nicely and work at keeping cuticles soft. CND Solar oil is one of my favourites, it has an almond oil smell and while it takes a little while to absorb, my cuticles just love it! I've found I'm better to leave it soak in for a few minutes before massaging into my cuticles and there is far less of an oily feeling. In summer I apply this as often as I remember throughout the day.
Essie Apricot oil - yum!! This smells so pretty it's a pleasure to use. This is my favourite to use after painting my nails and cleaning up with acetone. It absorbs quickly and works fantastically at adding moisture back into my cuticles. In summer this one also lives on my bedside table so I can use it over night. As it absorbs so quickly it's great for nighttime use.
Hoof cuticle pusher is my favourite tool to use to push cuticles back. I like it's rubber head and it fits well on my nail. Always remember not to push too hard with a cuticle pusher, you just want to push the cuticle back so be firm but gentle.
Orange sticks are a product I couldn't live without. The pointy end can be used for so many things from making dots, to dragging water marbling or I use them most often to quickly clean up any polish that floods my cuticles. The slanted end can be used as a cuticle pusher but I find it's a little rough, also unless you buy good quality the ends can develop splinters, and no one wants a splinter in their cuticle. I do use good quality ones with my cuticle remover as I find the end to work the best at removing skin for me.