Nail Maintenance 101

Aside from advice about rosacea, I think nail care might be most most requested blog post topic. I have long, strong nails and spend a fair bit of time taking care of them. If you’d like to read about my dream team for nail maintenance 101 you are in the right place!

I wrote a previous post talking about my nail care tips and product recommendations (which you can find HERE) but I thought I would update it as that was two years ago I’ve discovered lots of new and amazing products.


Here is the list of products in the image above. I’ve organised them by which I think are most important to a layperson (for example, from my point of view all of the above are key for maintaining my nails, but I know that for a lot of people, a hand exfoliator isn’t an essential)

Nail Maintenance 101

  • Seche Vite Top Coat. I have raved about this product more than any other on this blog. If I had a pound for every time I told someone to buy this… This is the best top coat I’ve ever tried with no contest. Once you try this you will never want to go back to regular top coat: it dries in minutes (yes minutes), shines like polished glass and keeps your manicure looking incredible for ages. Yes it smells very pungent and yes it can cause shrinkage if you don’t wrap your nails properly (see my previous blog post HERE for instructions) but the positives massively outweigh the negatives for me.
  • Glass Nail File. Glass nails files are much of a muchness, but this one from Sephora is great and bright pink so it’s my favourite. Glass nail files last forever, are easily cleaned and are kinder to your nails.
  • OPI Nail Envy. Another product that I’ve been recommending for years. I use this base coat under every single manicure I do and it keeps my nails super strong and resilient. If you have soft, bendy nails that tear and split this will be your new best friend. Do note, however, that this stuff is so good that after a while it does make your nails go the other way (e.g. brittle and dry) so remember to apply an oil as well. Which brings me to…
  • Jurlique Nail and Cuticle Treatment Oil*. Again, this isn’t the only oil I recommend but it’s the one I’m using and loving at the moment. You should apply cuticle oil at least daily – I have it next to my bed so I can apply it before bed. Simply dot a bit on each finger’s cuticle and massage in.
  • Nails Inc Cuticle Oil Pen*. If you always forget to apply oil, a handy cuticle oil pen may be a great option for you. This pen can live on your desk at work, or in your handbag, and you can really quickly swipe it over your cuticles as needed.
  • Jurlique Rose Hand Cream*. I’m not particularly loyal when it comes to hand creams. They just have to hydrate, smell nice and sink in quickly. This one from Jurlique is flipping wonderful as it’s like a cross between a cream and a balm and absorbs into your hands straight away, leaving a lovely rose scent.

Nice to have products:

  • Kiss Cuticle Remover Solution*. Cuticles are the area of nails that most people are baffled by. If left to their own devices, they can overgrow and look ragged, messy and ruin a manicure. Every other weekend I will apply this solution to my cuticles, leave it for 10 minutes and then use the cuticle pusher to remove the now dissolved cuticle. You should never trim the eponychium (the bit of skin that joins your finger) as this can cause infection, damage to the nail, and make your nails look even worse when they grow back all jagged and uneven.
  • Cuticle Pusher – This helps you to remove the cuticle safely and quickly, without damaging your nail plate. You can also use this to push back the eponychium which, over time, will encourage it to stay neat and stop growing as far onto your nail plate.
  • Tweezerman Cuticle Nipper – As mentioned above, I never trim my cuticles, I only use this nipper to remove hang nails and bits of skin that I would otherwise nibble and tear. They are super sharp so be careful you don’t cut yourself or trim more skin than necessary.
  • Nail Polish Thinner. Don’t ever put nail varnish remover in nail varnish to restore it to its former glory. It will work for a little while and then ultimately destroy your polish. Nail polish thinner is crazy cheap and you only need a few drops to bring your gloopy nail varnish back to life.
  • Pure Acetone. A lot of people ask my how I get my manicures so neat. It is partly (a lot) of practice but it’s also down to using pure acetone and a thin brush to tidy up around the base of the nail. This is the easiest way to give you a professional finish to your manicure.
  • Models Own Eyeliner Brush*. For the above tip, I prefer an angled eyeliner brush like this one from Models Own. The acetone does ruin the glue in the brushes, so you have to replace them every few months, depending on how often you paint your nails.
  • Jurlique Exfoliating Hand Treatment*. This is a recent discovery and I am in LOVE. It’s exactly the same as an exfoliating face mask: you put it on the backs of your hands and fingers, leave for 5 minutes, then add a little water and massage. It’s like a thick paste with red and white clay (to absorb impurities), honey, shea butter and calendula extract to hydrate and protect. The jojoba beads gently exfoliate dead, dull skin from your hands to reveal soft and pampered skin. This is total luxury but I love it.
  • Essie ‘Fill The Gap’*. If you have ridges in your nails, or dips and bumps from damage, then a ridge-filling base coat will help your manicure to look neater. These are especially helpful when wearing metallic or holographic polishes which pick up any imperfection.
  • Essie Nail and Skin Serum*. I use this as an alternative to hand cream or cuticle oil when I want something very quick. It’s a bi-phase serum and oil that hydrates dry skin.
  • Seche Vite (professional size). Because I go through so much Seche Vite, I now buy the professional size bottles and just top up my regular sized bottle when the levels are running low. This works out so much cheaper for me and means I never run out mid manicure!
  • The ‘L’ pencil case in the first picture is from Oliver Bonas and was a gift from the flipping wonderful Runaway Kiwi. Go follow her immediately if not before.

And there you have it – Talonted Lex’s nail maintenance 101! Are there any of your favourites in here? Will you be picking up any of these recommendations? I’d love to hear how you get on!


*Provided as PR samples. Some links may be affiliate. For more information, please see my disclaimer page in the top menu bar.



  1. 21st June 2016 / 1:10 pm

    Shopping list time! My nails have never been so brittle and peeling as they are at the moment.

    • Lex
      23rd June 2016 / 4:10 pm

      Lex to the rescue! What do you think you’ll pick up? Let me know how you get on!

    • Lex
      2nd August 2016 / 11:31 am

      I’ve never tried that but thanks for the recommendation!

  2. Kathleen Medjuck
    11th July 2016 / 2:06 pm

    I can’t get the jurlique cuticle treatment in Canada so I did some research and got the Formula X Cuticle Conditioner – Keratin Cuticle Serum. It is awesome. It kind of leaves a tacky feeling for a little while but I like that because I know it’s still there doing its thing and not rubbed off on something like a lot of cuticle oils end up doing.

    • Lex
      2nd August 2016 / 11:32 am

      Ooh that sounds good, I’ll take a look next time I’m near a Sephora!

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