NAILS | Care and maintenance


It’s very easy, when you’re feeling lazy, to just throw on one coat of nail polish and call it a day. It’s particularly easy to do this when it’s cold as hell in your house and you want to limit the length of time your fingers are motionless and unable to be crammed into mittens. I’m learning my lesson here though, as lazy manicures make for faster chips and flaky tips. Here are some good things to help rectify this.

Essie All In One is a combo base coat, top coat and strengthener. I’ve been foolishly leaving the base coat step out of doing my nails, ever since my bottle of OPI Nail Envy gooped up so much that the lid glued itself on to the bottle. To me, the most appealing reason to use a base coat is because it stops your nails from getting stained by polishes that are overzealous with their pigment. It means I can leave my nails bare before painting them again, to avoid this happening:

Another solid base from Essie is the Fill The Gap treatment. I picked this up when the tips of my nails were particularly bad for splitting. It’s almost opaque and dries to a matte finish. It’s good because even with a sheer polish over the top, it makes your nails look way tidier and nicer than they actually are. Mine are never particularly nice or tidy, so this is very welcome.

It’s good to keep your cuticles hydrated and the Linden Leaves Herbalist Hand and Nail Treatment* has been doing the job nicely. It doesn’t leave an oily residue on your hands, but it does pay to give your nails a wipe down with nail polish remover after using this and before applying polish, to make sure it adheres properly.

Then there’s the old faithful, Seche Vite top coat. I bought mine on Trademe for a very affordable price, and contrary to reports of some other bloggers, it hasn’t gone gluggy at all. It dries unbelievably fast and every time I use it, people tell me my nails look like gels. The other thing I like about this is that adding a coat helps even out streaky polish or smooth down glitter (as if I ever wear glitter).


What am I missing in my extra manicure steps? This Stuff article recommended using eye cream instead of cuticle cream, because it does the same thing, but I’m sure I’m not the only one whose eye cream costs bundles more than a cuticle cream or oil would. I’m feeling that regular hand cream is doing the job enough for me.

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  • Lena

    I loved Seche Vite but mine went gluggy about halfway through the bottle which was annoying, so I threw it out and replaced it with Sally Hansen insta-dri, which hasn’t gone gluggy yet. I also have Essie fill the gaps but I primarily use Orly Bonder as my base coat.

    • You can get the thinner, which is probably not worth it, but I love the gel effect of Seche Vite and I’ve never had a good experience with Sally Hansen products. Otherwise I’d probably pick that one up, as I have heard good things about it!

      • Lena

        I’ve since bought a polish thinner, so I might have kept it if I’d had that, but really I just couldn’t be bothered mucking around with it. I really like Sally Hansen products, I have a few of their (her? – sounds weird to call a brand by a person’s pronouns but it’s her name so…) polishes.

  • Orly Bonder Base coat is amazing, has totally stopped the nail stains. Like Lena, my Seche Vite went super gluggy, I think I need to get the thinner for it.

    • Hmm maybe mine is just overdue for glugginess! I’ll keep an eye out for the Orly bonder base too.

  • Madeleine

    I REALLY need to get a good base and top coat, my polish is forever chipping and it drives me mad! My favourite nail polishes so far (prefer the two I have over the OPI ones I have) are these tiny L’Oreal Colour Riche ones, I got them in a Kmart sale for some ridiculous price. Even though I’m lacking a base and top coat they still last without chipping for a while and are so nice to apply. Definitely also need to find a good hand and nail cream as winter is being wicked to my hands this year!

    • I haven’t tried the L’Oreal nail polishes but they sound great, I’ll keep an eye out for them!