There’s just an uplifting sense I get when I get my nails trimmed and hands exfoliated for an overall clean. I had to form the regular “mani” habit by myself because as a freelancer, in-salon manicures just really add to monthly expenses and also because as a makeup artist my hands always have to look pristine and worthy of handling other people’s faces, not to mention my own.
I’ve quite outgrown the need for long nails and while my nails will never be kindergarten short I’ve recently been always keeping the length close to the nail bed, not too far out.
After washing hands, cutting, and filing, I’ve been using a Japanese product, Cure Natural Aqua Gel, a gentle facial exfoliator, instead of cuticle remover simply because it does gets the same action done as regular cuticle remover but is formulated to be more gentle. It softens stray excess skin then plumps it up with gentle thickeners and hydrates the skin at the same time. If it’s gentle enough for the face it’s more than gentle enough for hands.
Afterwards I don’t like to fuss with cuticle oil unless it’s a special treatment oil I really need for the nails simply because dripping oil over fingers is such a messy process and I don’t like the idea of a bottle of cuticle oil hanging around that might spill so I’ve found a brilliant cuticle treating alternative in HURRAW’s cold pressed vegan Lemon Lip Balm (available from @cutieverse on Instagram), made of cold pressed natural oils that are good for both lips and nails. I apply it straight from the balm bullet over the nails and cuticles then I massage in with fingers. Since Hurraw Lemon balm comes in a stick tube it’s so easy to use, keep, and bring along (it fits inside my pink mani kit along with the tools) and it’s really comforting when you massage it over your cuticles, it absorbs quickly, too. Then I wipe my palms and fingertips of the excess with a tissue or towel and apply the polish of my choice.
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Photography by the author