Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My favorite nail products

COMMENTS: I have a really simple nail routine as I don't go through many of the recommended manicure steps. The things I do always use though are base and topcoat. Here are my favorites:

Base coats:
1. Beauty Secrets moisturizing base coat is from Sally Beauty Supply (about $3 for .5oz, $6 for 2.5oz). I like that I can put this on in a thin or slightly thick coat. It's also the base for about 85% of my manicures..
2. Sally Hansen Hard as Nails - Hard as Wraps gel is a nice thick base coat with acrylic that was recommended to me by AllThingsNails when I asked her how she prevented staining. It worked! I used it as my sole base coat for about a month and all my new nail growth stayed unstained. I now use just 3-4 times a month, when my nails feel like they need a little extra thickness for protection, or if they start to look stained (which is rare now with the previous base coat). It's more expensive at about $6 at drugstores for .44oz. Because of the gel formula, it does get used up quickly and thickens as you approach the bottom. 

I do use some other base coats from time to time so as not to waste previous purchases :). 

My nails with one coat of Beauty Secrets moisturizing base coat:

My favorite topcoat - also from Sally's is Beauty Secrets fast finish. It dries quickly with long-lasting shine, can be applied relatively thick, and doesn't thicken up like Seche Vite (and even Out the Door). I'm already halfway through this large 2.5 oz bottle (which cost only $6 by the way). I have tried other  topcoats since finding this (CND Air Dry for example), but this works best for me. Like the base coat from the same brand, it also comes  in a smaller .5 oz size for $3.

For removal, I used to use a mixture of pure acetone and acetone-based remover, both from Beauty Secrets as well. I now just use the pure acetone with a bit of glycerin, and some grape seed oil mixed in to prevent it from drying my nails and cuticles out.

Just wanted to share!


  1. Thanks for the info! I have a couple base coats I use on a rotating basis (or whichever I can find first), but I've yet to find a fast dry top coat that I really like and that isn't expensive or get super thick at the end.

  2. I also have this TC and I love it. I just don't use it when I add some stamping on my nail, because it smudges the pattern. :) Your nails are so long and beautiful, wish I had such long nails. :)

  3. I am always on the look out for new base coats and top coats! I like to use moisturizing base coats in the winter, and I am about out of my nail tek. I really liked CND Air Dry at first, but now I am not so sure. I will definitely give this a try! Thanks!!!! hmm, i seem to buy a lot of stuff you feature lately!

  4. Question: how is this top coat in comparison to Seche Vite? Does it dry as fast? Thanks.

  5. i have been waiting for your recommendations on base and topcoats! thanks! i'm definitely going to check these out :)

  6. Thank you for the tips! I love nail tips. And speaking of nail tips you have fabulous healthy looking nails! I'll have to look for those two Sally Beauty products next time i visit that store. It just opened before Christmas! That's pretty darned exciting for this nail junkie.

  7. Good info. I have a Beauty Secrets top coat or base coat that I haven't used. I need to go check and see what it is.

  8. Thanks for all the comments! If I'd known anyone was interested in this info I would have shared sooner!

    @Megan - Try the smaller bottle of topcoat if you can as it's not too much of an investment.

    @LadyLuck27 and @Ivana - I wish I'd known about these long ago, they're awesome! When I use it over nail art I usually wait about 15 mins then put it on thick and quick so the brush doesn't touch my nail. I haven't used it with konad stamping polish though, and I'm sure that would still smear.

    @For Me, It Works... - No, this topcoat doesn't dry as fast as Seche Vite, but my first nail is dry by the time I put topcoat on my last nail. You do still have to gentle for a few minutes, but then you're good to go.

    @Kaitlyn and @JQ - Definitely give these a try, and if you want to pick just one to try first, I'd suggest the topcoat - in the smaller size of course.

    @Taki - I'm hoping it's the topcoat you have, go dig it out from your stash now!

  9. Oh, and also:
    @For Me, It Works... You can also use the topcoat on both (slightly) wet and completely dry polish, unlike SV. It doesn't cause shrinkage or thicken either.

  10. That Beauty Secrets stuff really does work! I like cheap-n-cheerful.

  11. The Sally Hansen is what helped me to grow out my acrylic damage. It's also thick enough to act as a ridge filler. Love it.

  12. Your nails look so awesome! May just pull out my Hard As Wraps for my next mani... :)

  13. Need to try the Hard as Wraps I think!

  14. Your nails are beautiful! Thanks for sharing your routine. I'm wondering though...where would someone get glycerin and grape seed oil? drug store?
    Thanks a lot.

  15. @Eileen:
    I did get the glycerin at a drug store (CVS) - years ago. Look for it where they have facial and body lotions I think.
    The grapeseed oil I ordered online, but I just use it because it didn't work as an all over body moisturizer for me, so I didn't want it to go to waste :) Use whatever is available to you but doesn't go rancid too quickly.

    You actually won't be using much of the additives - just enough that while you are removing nail polish, your nails don't get super dry like they would if using acetone alone. I mix them together in a smaller pump bottle which takes me about a month to use up.

    Aand, if you can't find any oil or glycerin, just mix the acetone with an acetone-based polish remover, which usually has glycerin in it. I did that most of last year and it worked well! The ratio that worked best for me was about 50% acetone to 50% acetone based - that way I still got the speedy polish removal without the dryness.

    Hope this helps, and let me know if you have any more questions!


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