polish // sally hansen - play koi

I've become quite accustomed to doing my mani's at home while being on a budget. It's also something soothing to me and gives me the opportunity to focus on myself for a few minutes. That being said, I've played with an excessive amount of base + top coats as well as different lotions to maintain soft cuticles and I feel I've finally come up with the best yet, so naturally, I have to share!

Base + Top Coat | Sally Hansen Double Duty
This stuff does exactly what it says it's going to and stays in place. I love that it's quick to dry without being a "quick dry" polish and the sheen it provides is perfection. I have tried Essie, Seche Vite and other Sally Hansen products, but this is the holy grail.

Cuticle Butter | Lemony Flutter by LUSH
#LIFECHANGING. But really, the consistency of this is a thick paste and rubs into a thin cream as you work it into your hands and leaves settle layer of oil which is amazing for your skin to soak up. This is something I don't apply during my mani but after when my nails have dried so I can relish in the crisp lemon fragrance and soothing it provides.

Basics | Buffer - File - Clippers
This goes without saying but you don't really need to invest in this area. As long as you have the basic tools to maintain a clean foundation for your polish, you're set. I personally have all Revlon in these items because Ulta had a sale at the time I was shopping.

Tips + Tricks
1 | I like to remove all my polish with a pure acetone polish remove. This gets in there nice a quick so I don't have to scrub longer than it actually takes me to paint my nails.

2 | Trim your nails to your desired length (I like them short with no white showing) and follow up with filing to make them clean on the edge versus sharp.

3 | Buff everything out so you have a great base for your polish. This is where you can get all the nasty cuticle overgrowth off and shine them up.

4 | Paint! I start with my base coat letting it fully dry before adding my color. I also let each layer completely dry between applications so I don't have a sticky mess of wet nails waiting on to dry. That makes the process much quicker for me!

What are some of your manicure tips?
Emily of Cupcakes & Cashmere also posted on mani's yesterday, see it here!