I usually change my nail polish every 2-3 days. Generally, I use a regular polish remover with acetone from the drugstore. I like the protein enriched versions because they tend not to dry out my nails as much and help to soften the cuticles. Every so often I use pure acetone if the polish is difficult to remove, such as glitters, or if it has a tendency to stain the nails. After the polish removed, I apply a coat of Orly Nail Defense as a base , and then a coat of Instant Artificials by salon Sciences.
Orly Nail Defense
Nail Defense is a protein enriched nail strengthener that fortifies the nail and bonds the nail layers together to help prevent breakage. My nails used to peel in layers which makes growing your nails out almost impossible. They become thin, weak, and prone to breaks. Not anymore. The peeling has reduced to almost none and my nails are so much longer as a result.
Salon Sciences Instant Artificials
This product claims to mimic the hardness of artificial nails, but as someone who used to wear acrylics, I have not found a product yet that can give your natural nails the same hardness that comes with acrylics. Before using Instant Artificials, my square shaped nails for break off on the corners. However, this product works wonders to give your natural nails strength and makes them visibly thicker. Instant Artificials can also take the place of a ridge filler. Used as a base coat, it gives your nails a smooth and incredibly shiny surface. It can also be worn alone using two coats to achieve the healthy, shiny natural look.
Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream
Praises have been posted across many nail blogger's website for this cuticle cream and I couldn't agree more. First off, this stuff smells great, and the fact that it moisturizes like nobody's business doesn't hurt either. Working in health care, all the handwashing and instant sanitizers really take a toll on hands, especially the cuticles. It transforms dry, ragged cuticles and helps prevent hangnails. I love the waxy consistency which helps the cream stay put so that it can do the work where its needed. A little bit goes a long way with this cuticle cream and even though the tin is small in size it lasts for a long while.
Hot Oil Manicure
Once a week I give myself a hot oil manicure to help maintain my nail strength and moisture balance. There are many benefits to hot oil manicures. The warm oil helps to soften cuticles and add moisture to the nails that is stripped away from removers and polish. The process for the hot oil manicure is very simple. Begin by removing nail polish and file your nails to your desired shape. Next, put whatever kind of oil that you prefer ( I usually use olive or safflower oil) into a small bowl or finger bowl and microwave for about 30 seconds. Test the temperature of the oil. It should be warm but not too hot that you cannot submerge your nails for a few minutes. You should use enough oil to to cover the tips of your fingers up to the first knuckle. Soak your hand until the oil has cooled off, about 5 minutes or so. You can then massage the oil into your hands and cuticles. Repeat for the other hand. Gently push back you cuticles with a cuticle stick and you're done. I usually let the oil soak in for a while before I move on to polish, but just make sure that you remove any traces of oil from your nails with remover before you get your polish on.