I’ve been meaning to get this post up forever! In fact, most of the images were taken towards the end of last year. I have such a strange relationship with my hands and nails (that just sounds so odd!). When they’re manicured and looking fabulous, I tend to look after them better and proudly display them to the world. Yet, when they’re un-manicured, I fall into a vicious cycle of cuticle picking, nail nibbling and just general nail and hand neglect. Does this also happen to you? This year, one of my resolutions is to take better care of my nails regardless of whether they’re manicured or not. To be diligent about using treatments, keeping my cuticles in check (not picking) and building my nails strength.
Below are the products and tools that I know will help me achieve my goal of beautiful, well-kept nails.
Sally Hansen Miracle nail thickener (R95.95 Clicks)
Want thicker, harder, stronger nails? Try this advanced thickening treatment that targets soft, thin and ridged nails. The formula contains calcium & ceramic gel that reinforces & smoothes nails, while also filling ridges & imperfections, ensuring nails look smooth, healthy & shiny.
If your nails are extra thin, apply daily for up to 4 days and within a week or so, you’ll notice a visible improvement.
Sally Hansen Diamond Strength Hardener (R95.95 Clicks)
If your nails are cracking, splitting or peeling, try this treatment that not only strengthens, but also locks in moisture. A Titanium and Micro-Diamond formula instantly bonds to strengthen and seal fragile nail layers with a virtually shatterproof, protective shield. This treatment allows you to grow healthy-looking nails in 5-7 days (and the product does live up to this claim, I checked!)
OPI Nail Envy Nail Strengthener in Samoan Sand (R379 – Zando)
If your nails are feeling a bit weak then OPI’s iconic Nail Envy is just what you need. This miracle worker will have your nails looking and feeling strong in not time and strengthens natural nails with hydrolyzed wheat protein & calcium. I’ve used this formula countless times over the years and can attest to just well it works. I was thrilled to see it’s now available in this nude tone that makes nails look pretty & polished, while boosting their strength.
Mavala Camouflage Phase 1 Nail Shield Nylon Fibre base & Phase 2 Protective Sealer (R282 for the set Dis-Chem)
This system has been developed with a unique formula that protects the nails from daily tasks and other damaging elements like detergents, over exposure to water and even sun damage! After using it, the nails are able to regenerate and strengthen themselves, while being protected from breaking, flaking and impacts.
Phase 1 includes nylon fibers that form a protective network evenly on the nail surface to act as a strong and durable shield. Phase 2 contains mattifying pigments and ridge filler to cover the rough fibers and make the nail surface smooth, ready for nail polish application.
Mavala Toronto (50) Nail Color Cream (R69.60 Dis-Chem)
I love this bold and bright sunny shade. It suits both fingernails & toes, goes on beautifully.
The gorgeous shade of forest green I’m wearing in the holding image is my current favourite! It’s also a Mavala nail colour and is called Copenhagen. Green can be a difficult colour for nails and I think the trick to finding one is to opt for a darker tone. I like how this one manages to be edgy and sophisticated.
Yardley Speed Finish Nail Drying Spray (R49 Foschini)
I’ve been using this for ages and like how it swiftly dries nail enamel whilst adding shine & lustre. The formula contains Vitamin E to condition cuticles & I love how a spritz of this stuff has the ability to help restore shine when you’re between manicures.
Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Top Coat (R79.95 Clicks)
This really is one of the very best, chip-resistant top coats I think I’ve ever tried. I love how quickly it dries too – in 30 seconds it’s touch dry. It also contains UV filters that ensures your polish colour stays true and the dazzling shine lasts up to 10 days!
Sally Hansen Double Duty Base & Top Coat (R79.95 Clicks)
This all-in-one strengthening base and top coat works double time…for double protection. When used as a top coat, nails are shielded with a hard, shiny, chip-resistant finish thanks to the addition of nylon. As a base coat, it moisturises and hydrates nails with Panthenol. My top choice of you’re looking for a top & base coat formula.
My Favourite Gelish Manicure
If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen a few stories I’ve done on my Gelish manicures. Usually my go-to colours are red, black or a pale pink tone. Recently, I decided to change things up a bit and experiment with my Gelish by incorporating some nail art (Pinterest is great for inspiration – you can follow my Nailspiration board on Pinterest HERE.
My favourite of all my recent manicures has to be this one. I like how simple and subtle it is and how it juxtaposes graphic shapes and matte, neutral colour. Big shout out to the lovely ladies at Sparkle Cosmetics for so lovingly looking after my nails.
Sally Hansen Cuticle Rehab (R87.95 Clicks)
Being a cuticle picker (really, it is the most hideous habit, but I just can’t stop), I’m always told my manicurists to use a cuticle cream. My retort is this: “I’m a beauty journo, I have hundreds and use them. I don’t pick my cuticles because they’re dry, (although drying them out makes picking easier #Gross), it’s a habit. I always get terribly embarrassed about my ravaged cuticles on my thumbs (I only pick cuticle skin there) and feel I need to apologies to my manicurist. Anyway….
This lovely brush-on cuticle oil smoothes, softens & helps restore moisture to cuticles. Formulated with Jasmine & Rose extracts and Vitamin E, which are known to calm and soothe.
You simply brush onto cuticles & nails and massage in. The formula also helps reduce nail breakage.
Sally Hansen Complete Care 7-in-1 Nail Treatment (R95.95 Clicks)
Base Coat Strengthener, Growth Treatment, Top Coat – 4-in-1 Nail Care helps restore dry, brittle nails for visibly healthier looking and beaitiful nails in 3 days – Exclusively patented formula with Avocado Oil, Sea Salt, Pomegranate Extract and Calcium moisturizes, fills ridges and helps staining – Pure shine up to 10 days!
Sally Hansen Vitamin E & Cuticle Oil (R79.95 Clicks)
I also like this intensely moisturizing Vitamin E oil that softens my dry and ragged cuticles while hydrating dry, brittle nails. It contains Vitamin E, Wheat Germ, Apricot Kernel, Aloe & Panthenol to moisturise & condition cuticles while increasing nail flexibility.
Sally Hansen Vitamin E & Cuticle Oil (R178 Clicks)
Mavala Cuticle Oil maintains the suppleness of cuticles and softens the skin that surrounds the nail enabling it to be pushed back gently. I use this when I do my own manicure and find it works so well to soften cuticles.
Tweezerman Dual Sided Pushy (R300 Dis-Chem)
This is probably one of my top nail tools (along with the cuticle nipper). I love how sturdy & effective it is. It has a scooped end that’s contoured to comfortably follow the shape of the cuticles, while the flat, thinner end perfectly pushes corners and trickier to reach spots. It’s made using premium quality stainless steel, ensuring its longevity while allowing for easy cleaning after each use. To use, simply rub ample amounts of moisturizer or cuticle cream into clean nails and hands to gently soften skin and cuticles. Soak hands in a bowl of warm water with your favorite essential oil or Epsom salts (avoid soap at this stage, as it can be drying). Gently clean under and around nail using the curette end of the tool. Use the contoured end of the tool to delicately push back cuticles on each hand. If there is excess dead cuticle buildup, trim the dead skin only and very carefully with our precision nippers. Wipe any excess oil off nails with polish remover.
Tweezerman Rockhard Cuticle Nipper 1 / 2 Jaw (R329 Dis-Chem)
Sharp and durable, these ultra-sturdy, high performance blades make snipping excess cuticles easy and precise. To use, push back cuticles using a manicure stick or the Pushy, and carefully trim any pieces of skin.
If you’ve got cool nails, you wake up and you’re like, ‘Oh, I’m happy now.‘ – Maisie Williams