By popular request I have an updated hand and nail care routine roundup! My last one was a few years ago (time flies!) and while many of the things have stayed the same, I have stopped using a few things. I’ve been doing my own nails on my own for several years now – pretty much since we moved to Florida. I still haven’t tried gel nails, dip powders, acrylics or press ons. I usually keep things simple and use regular nail polish formulas.
I feel like a lot of the Deborah Lippmann formulas changed! I bought several replacements of the Cuticle Remover and Nail Polish Remover and they didn’t work the same. Recent reviews still seem positive but the bottles I bought had chunks of white product floating in the bottle. I decided to look for an alternative. My tools remain the same tried and true go-to’s! I did replace the cuticle trimmer recently, over time the tools become dull with a lot of use and just need to be replaced.
Tweezerman Pushy and Nail Cleaner is my favorite tool to push back cuticles so they can be trimmed. The size is perfect for my nail size and I prefer the flat tip versus the curved ones of other styles.
For nail polish removers and tools, my all around favorites are from Olive and June. You can buy their items from their website and they have also expanded their line at Target! I love the nail files, nail buffer, clean up brush and their nail polish remover! I recommend shopping their website for the best selection and customizable Manicure Systems and box sets. (I use their boxes to store a lot of my essentials to keep them all in one place!)
My next favorite polish remover is Zoya. It’s one that doesn’t make my nails peel or fingers dry out. It’s effective on regular polish and doesn’t feel harsh on the skin.
My favorite clippers and on-the-go tools are also from Tweezerman. I love this Mini Nail Rescue Kit for everyday use and love that it also travel friendly.
above, clear stackable box in the last photo from amazon
I’m the biggest hand cream fanatic and always love trying new formulas. My current top 5 include:
L’Occitane Solidarity Hand Cream – is one of their new limited-edition formulas, it has a soft hibiscus sent which is really pleasant! I bought 2 but am going to order a few more backups since it’s limited-edition and I really like the scent and cause it supports. Every year they make a product where 100% of the profits help fund projects for women in Burkina Faso for education and professional development
Molton Brown Flora Luminare Hand Cream – I love a lot of the Molton Brown hand creams but this one smells like sunshine to me, it has a bright happy kind of sent with orange blossom, mandarin, ylang-ylang, frangipani, jasmin, rose, vanilla, cedarwood and musk. The formula is nice and not too heavy, I also adore this scent in the Shower Gel and Glowing Body Oil.
Guerlain Repairing and Youth Hand Balm is one of the best new discoveries I’ve had, the balm is pretty spendy, especially for the size, but I’ve found it to be the best for ultra dry skin, it has a balm-feel with honey concentrate and really does work to smooth and hydrate super dry hands, it’s lightly scented (not overpowering).
Base and Top Coat
For base and top coat, I stopped using Essie’s Quick Dry Speed Setter. It worked so well to dry the nails fast and create a long lasting manicure but the formula was harsh on my nails and hands. If any product came in contact with my skin (even if I removed it with remover) it caused cracking and hardening wherever it touched.
OPI Natural Base Coat is the best product I’ve tried that doesn’t hurt my sensitive nails and prevents yellowing from the polish. I also use the OPI Top Coat to extend wear.
Chanel Le Gel Coat is another favorite I use on Chanel polishes. Gives the nails the glossy gel effect without the gel formula.
That wraps up my hand and nail care routine favorites! I hope you found this helpful! A number of you have also asked for my favorites for feet care. I still haven’t found my favorites to replicate a salon pedicure, although I really like the Spongables Pedi-Scrub and Tweezerman Sole Smoother Stone.
Let me know your favorites in the comments!
Press samples include: OPI Cuticle Oil, Guerlain Hand Balm, Olive and June tools.
I’ve swatched and rounded up some pink and red nail polishes to try for Valentine’s Day! OPI is one of my favorite brands for nail polish and they just launched their new Hollywood Collection. I received a few press samples to try but the ones that stood out to me were the lighter shades so I ordered them from Ulta (also available at Amazon). I decided to swatch of the new ones alongside a few of their classics. Colors I have swatched are all with two coats. I found they applied smoothly – I tend to prefer the opaque colors anyways!
It has been ages since I did a nail polish wheel swatch! I thought it might be helpful to do a side by side with a few other shades mixed in for reference:
You can find the new Hollywood shades available at Ulta Beauty and Amazon. Other classic colors are more widely available. Do you like pinks or reds for nails? What are your favorites? (I’ve linked a few of my favorite base and top coats below as well.)
Shop the Post:
Press samples include OPI Princesses Rule, I’m Really an Actress, 15 Minutes of Flame. All others purchased by me.
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas Holiday! Andrew and I had a nice Christmas eve with close family. We made Christmas dinner at our house this year and tried making gingerbread houses too which was fun but super messy! I have a nail polish swatch roundup of a few colors I’ve been loving this season. I have been sticking with my usual neutrals for the most part this year but thought it was time to switch things up and play with some sparkle and shine.
OPI Naughty or Ice? is a pretty semi-sheer pearlescent white. It’s similar to OPI Happy Birthday but the holiday Naughty or Ice pulls a little more champagne/warm.
OPI Snow Falling For You is a metallic light pink. It has minimal visible brush strokes so it applies pretty smooth. I love this pretty pink!
OPI Tinsel Tinsel Star* is a light blue-grey shimmer. It pulls on the sheer side with 2 coats (shown below). You can get more opaque coverage with 3.
OPI To All A Good Night* is a beautiful complex metallic gunmetal shade. It flashes different sparkles of silver, blue, grey. I love it for a deeper but fun color.
With summer in full swing I thought I’d put together a summer sandal roundup with my favorite nail polish pairings. I’m all about flat sandals for comfort and love how easy they are to wear for a casual summer look. When it comes to shoes I tend to find a couple styles I like and buy them in multiple colors. The basic white, neutral, tan and black colors are the most versatile for me as they’ll go with pretty much any color for outfits.
I’ll make a note on sizing for each style I’ve tried below. I’m usually a 6.5 or 36.5 in most brands for sandals like Tory Burch, Splendid, Joie, Hermes, UGG, Cole Haan. For sneakers depending on brand I usually size up to a 7 in Nike, APL and Saucony. For all of these I either try to shop directly from the brand if I know my size or somewhere like Nordstrom that has an easy return/exchange policy in case the shoes do not fit.
White Wide Strap Sandals + Bright Red Orange Polish
Sizing & Fit: Runs true to size (I wear a 6.5). These are comfortable with a slight cushion in the sole. I’ve worn these out for several hours at a time and love them. No break in period. Strap is comfortable and soft with an elastic cutout in the back strap so it can move with your foot. Also worn in my Miami Travel Diary (last year). They’ve held up really well over time!
Polish:Smith and Cult Poppy Papi* ($18 at Smith and Cult, Beautylish) – Smooth opaque coverage with two coats. It has a slight translucent feel as it is more like a jelly. Love how fast it dries and sets. Reminds me of a slightly more red version of Chanel Espadrilles (discontinued).
Sizing and Fit: True to size with a squared off toe, thin leather lace up style with a cushioned footbed. I normally don’t like square toe sandals but found these super cute! I’ve only had these for about a month now but I love how they feel. Super comfortable and chic! Also available in a few other similar styles Marg (two straps at the front, one buckled ankle strap) and Monty (no ankle straps).
Polish:Chanel Le Vernis in Bleu Pastel* ($28 at Chanel.com, left foot) is one of my favorite light blue polishes. It’s like a soft washed baby blue with a warm undertone. Reviewed and swatched on the hands in this post here.
Olive and June Honest and True* ($8 at Olive and June, right foot) is pretty close in color to the Chanel option, the Olive and June one is a bit deeper and more blue in undertone. Full coverage with two thin coats.
Other Details: Towel by Dusen Dusen (old style), Mita Visor is from Helen Kaminski, Black Sunglasses Celine
Sizing and Fit: True to size, I wear a 6.5. These were quite the splurge and I had them on my wishlist for so long. I splurged on these for my birthday and love them. They have a couple grips on the sole so it prevents you from sliding around on slippery floors or tiles. I think they’re really well made and they aren’t painful on the feet. However there’s no cushion or padding so your mileage may vary on wear.
Polish:Chanel Le Vernis in Cruise ($28 at Chanel.com) is part of the Les Beiges 2020 Collection. So many of you loved how bright and summery this orange was. I think it goes best with white or tan sandals. It has full smooth coverage with two coats. It’s the closest match to the color of a real orange – super glossy and shiny in the finish too!
Sizing and Fit: The Millers fit true to size on me as well, but I can wear either a 6.5 or 7 – both are really close in fit. My right foot is a little bigger than my left foot and sometimes I will opt for a slightly larger sandal if the fit is really close. The Tory Burch Millers are my favorite sandals that I wear almost all the time. The large medallion helps it stay on the foot better than a traditional flip flop and the leather material makes it a little more dressy.
The Bleach color may be a bit hard to find in your size as it’s been marked down on a number of sites so it sold out really fast. The good news is there are multiple colors available (many also marked down) so if you’ve been eyeing these there’s a good chance you can find it on sale! I saw it restock a couple times – so you may want to check back on sites like Nordstrom or Tory Burch.
Some of you have asked whether the regular leather or patent is better. I’ve found the patent lasts longer and is more resistant to wear, however if you get caught in a rain storm (which happens frequently in Florida) they can get pretty slippery on the foot.
Polish:Dior Vernis in Diorcharm 675 on the toes ($28 at Dior) is a pretty bright red coral with a hint of shimmer. I used to be the biggest fan of Dior nail polishes and still think the formula is phenomenal. The new colors seem harder to find these days, most of the fun colors only launch at Dior.com (at least in the US). The formula is a one-coat wonder and I love the brush.
OPI We Seafood and Eat It* ($5.25 at Ulta) is a fun cream coral red color. I think OPI makes some of the best more budget-friendly colors and the formula lasts a long time on me.
Sizing and Fit: Runs True to Size, I wear a 6.5. These are in my Top 2 most comfortable sandals I have. I love them so much I bought a backup pair just in case they become discontinued. I’ve had these for over a year and have worn them almost to death but they’ve held up really well. They have a platform about 1 inch so it’s not too chunky or hard to walk in. The sole molds to the foot giving you support and making it easy to wear. Also shown in a few outfits in my Miami Travel Diary (from last year).
Chanel Le Vernis in Gitane* on the tips ($28 at Chanel.com) is a bold bright red. It’s a true neutral red so it’s not too warm and not too cool. When it comes to red polishes I think Chanel does it best!
Sizing and Fit: True to size, I usually wear a 6.5 in these. This color and style is the one I’ve worn the most. The quality is exceptional and I love how it goes with everything. I’ve worn these so much I have gone through several pairs already – with most people I do think they will last a lot longer. I’ve shortened the life span by wearing these pretty much everywhere – on trips, while moving, in the rain etc. I try to take better care of my other shoes to make them last longer.
Polish:Chanel Le Vernis in Coralium 562 on the toes ($28 at Chanel.com) is my most-worn coral nail polish. Anytime you see a peachy coral on my toes, it’s most likely this one. It has a hint of pink to so it’s not a pure peach/orange. (Also reviewed here.)
Chanel Le Vernis in Turban 524 on the tips is similar but has more pink. I think both of these are my perfect go-to’s for summer. (Turban also reviewed here.)
Polish:Essie U’V got me faded on the toes ($9 at Ulta) is part of the summer Sunny Business collection. It’s a pale lilac color with a white base so it’s pastel. On my fingers it looks paler than on my toes for some reason. If you want a deeper lilac with shimmer the Essie Spring in Your Step is slightly darker.
Polish:Chanel Le Vernis in Camelia* ($28 at Chanel.com) is my most-worn deep pink. It’s a classic go with everything color! I know a lot of you like brighter pinks versus deeper pinks. I think OPI Strawberry Margarita* is a few shades lighter and brighter for the perfect bright summer pink.
Sizing and Fit: Varies depending on style. I took these in a Size 6/36 because the straps fit better on my foot for this color combination and it fits my foot as well. These are the fanciest sandals I own and I was debating whether to buy the leather or patent jelly version (cheaper but slightly different style). I’ve only worn these out one time – I have been waiting for a more special occasion to wear these but we have been staying at home more so I haven’t really taken them out. Can’t wait to wear these more! I find they stay on the foot pretty well.
Polish:Essie Talk to the Sand ($9 at Ulta) is a pale cream with a slight peach/pink tinge. I looked up swatches online and I think it’s so interesting how this looks different on everyone depending on your skin tone and undertone. On me it looks more peach on the fingers, on the toes is almost looks like a pink-white, on some others it looks more peach or beige. It has a lot of contrast with my tan skin tone so if you’re fair it will most likely look less white against your fingers/toes.
Sizing and Fit: These are the most comfortable sandals I’ve ever worn – but they’re more of a casual sport slide rather than an everyday sandal. I have these in multiple colors (like I do with all my shoes) and wear these in a Size 6. They only have these in whole sizes and since I have fairly narrow feet the next size up was too wide for me. In their sneakers I wear a 7 for APL and Nike because I like extra room for movement, socks and swelling with activity. I also bought these for Andrew and he wears a 12 in APL sneakers and the slides – so for him they were True to Size (he’s usually a 12 or 12.5 in most brands).
I’d recommend reading the sizing reviews on their website if you’re a half size. They’re so comfortable I’ve been able to walk long distances in them without any issues. To clean them you can put them in the washing machine or hand scrub the sole if they get super dirty. Just make sure you air dry (don’t put in the dryer).
Polish: Olive and June Honest and True on the left, Chanel Resplendissant on the right
I hope you enjoyed this sandal review and polish swatch roundup! A lot of you have asked for DIY pedicure tips – unfortunately I haven’t found anything that I’ve loved. All my mani/pedis these days are DIY. While I have my hand care routine down, I don’t have a good pedicure routine. I’ll link my tools, top and base coat below. But for scrubs and pumice stones I haven’t found any really good ones yet.
What is your favorite polish color to wear for summer? I think I need to try more purples and perhaps a yellow.
Shoes and Accessories:
Press samples have a * next to them. Other shades purchased by me.
Doing something as simple as painting my nails these days has some kind of calming effect on me. I’ve been painting my own nails for several years now and since we’re all stuck at home this might a good time to try and improve your own technique! I’m rounding up my favorite spring polish colors to brighten the mood. I’m kinda into softer shades and pastels at the moment. If you have any ones you love let me know in the comments!
Color-wise, my favorite colors right now are the Chanel Fleur do Pecher and Petale from the La Fleur Et L’Eau Collection. However many of you asked me for more budget-friendly recommendations so I’m sharing some colors I’ve hauled recently from Essie, OPI, Olive and June below.
Essie is a favorite among many of you. Color-wise I think there are some really nice shades. Formula-wise it’s not my favorite simply because I find other brands last longer/better on my fingers. They recently launched a new quick-dry formula called Expressie and it really does dry faster! I picked up 3 colors to give a whirl and love all of them. I can get full opaque coverage with 2 thin coats.
Buns Up is a neutral beige cream, similar to OPI Samoan Sand, but the Essie is not as yellow and also has more opaque coverage.
Crop Top and Roll is a nice everyday neutral pink beige cream, I can get full smooth coverage with 2 coats as well.
In the Time Zone is a blue-based cream pink, but isn’t too blue on my golden skin tone.
For the spring color launch I think all the colors are really fun and fresh. I limited myself to 2 of them including Kissed by Mist, a light blue-based pink with tiny violet sparkles.
Spring in Your Step is one of the prettiest smooth pearl lavender colors I’ve seen. It flashes a very subtle hint of pink in the shimmer.
OPI is my favorite affordable nail polish brand. I think they have the best color selection and lasting power. I’ve used a number of their base and top coats in the past and love them to extend wear. My most-worn neutrals are Samoan Sand, Machu Peach-u and Tiramisu for Two. In case you missed the swatches, check out my Top 5 Best Nude Nail Polishes post. They recently launched a Neo-Pearl Collection and since everything is online only these days I relied on YouTube swatches to pick a couple colors. I normally prefer the regular formula, but it appears the Infinite Shine 2 options for this launch are better and less streaky. I ordered these from Ulta but it looks like they are sold out right now. You might have to do a bit of searching to find these.
I’m a Natural is the perfect pale pink polish color. It’s a soft pink that flashes a slight hint of blue. I think it’s perfect! This one is best with at least 2 coats. In online swatches and photos I’ve seen it flash more purple/blue. I guess it depends on the angle and lighting!
You’re Full of Abalone is a pale ivory white that has a flashes a tiny bit of blue/violet. It’s sheer so I like it best with 3 coats. It’s a nice clean white that isn’t too stark or sharp on my skin.
Olive and June
The Olive and June nail salon in LA is one of the cutest places I’ve ever been to. I’ve only been there once and it was the most expensive nail treatment I splurged on with a friend. We both still remember it! They launched their own line of polish and nail care products and I think they’re super cute. You can see a previous review of their Tool Box here. A few of their polishes are now available at Target, but the vast majority of their products are online at their website Olive and June.
GH is a pale pink that’s almost white on my skin. The formula is buildable so don’t be shocked if the first coat looks streaky. Just apply 1 thin coat, let it dry completely. The 2nd coat will smooth out to smooth coverage.
TT is a pale lilac, also almost off -white on my skin, but looks clean and fresh!
SE is a baby blue-based pink, best with 2 thin coats. You may need a third on this color.
BI is a perfect peach cream. The formula on this one was difficult for me to work with, but if you have patience to apply slowly and let each coat dry completely, I think the end result is pretty!
By popular request I’m rounding up my favorite Chanel Le Vernis Longwear Nail Polish neutrals! This has been one of my favorite nail polish formulas as long as I can remember. I’ve been a fan through several reformulations and love the colors they launch. I’ve also added a few other softer mauves and purples I think are nice for spring with swatch comparisons.
Most of these you can still find now at Chanel.com and most retailers, although some colors are limited-edition and are harder to find (like Afterglow and Chicness). Organdi is the one I wear the most and also the shade I get the most compliments on. A lot of you wanted swatch comparisons to see the different undertones and depth.
Below left to right is: Blanc White 548, Afterglow 703, Organdi 504, Bleached Mauve 646, Daydream 735, Chicness 612 (discontinued, from cruise 2018), Purple Ray 709 and Mirage 739
Swatches and comparisons on the nails, each swatch has 2 coats except Blanc White has 3 coats. All still available at Chanel.com.
I like to use these with the Chanel Le Gel Top Coat for extra shine and lasting power. If you apply properly you will find these last a long time. If you’re getting tip wear or chipping, it’s likely you’re not coating the tip enough with polish or the top coat. Just like any paint, when it dries, the product shrinks so make sure you paint all the way around to the tops. Also note that not all top coats are compatible. For example Seche Vite is a great brand for quick dry top coats, but it runs on the thick side and always shrinks on me no matter what brand of polish I use. As it shrinks it pulls the polish around the edges and causes early tip wear.
A few other nail articles I’ve written and resources you may find helpful!
You can find Blanc White 548, Organdi 504, Bleached Mauve 646, Daydream 735, Purple Ray 709 and Mirage 739 available at Chanel.com and all Chanel counters. Afterglow is currently still available at Saks.
Have you tried any of these colors yet? What did you think?
Happy Friday! I hope you all had a great week. So many of you have loved the recent nail polish posts (especially my top 5 neutrals) I thought I’d do another roundup of some Essie shades I’ve hauled recently. I’ve actually been more of an OPI kind of girl when it comes to nail polishes for lasting power and color range, but I’ve been exploring more from Essie outside of my go-to Topless and Barefoot and found quite a few nice neutrals that aren’t nude. Ever since trying out the Speed Setter Top Coat I’ve now been able to make Essie polish last on my nails. I still want to try out the Gel Couture Top Coat but haven’t yet.
It can get a little overwhelming with all the options – so I’ve picked a small handful. Some look really similar in the bottles (almost identical) but there are variations in undertones so there’s a lot to pick from.
Lighten The Mood is one I bought over the summer. It’s a really pretty off-white pale pink cream. Finish is not the most opaque so I need three coats.
Come Out To Clay is part of their Rocky Rose Collection for fall which is the perfect light peachy cream. I can get away with 2 coats, but sometimes apply 3.
Princess Charming is a Gel Couture formula with a wide brush and excellent coverage. It’s a medium neutral rose cream.
Into The A-Bliss is also from the Fall 2019 collection, it’s a medium cool-rose pink cream with mauve undertones. This applies more like a pink but dries down to a mauve.
Eternal Optimist is also a pick I hauled earlier in the summer, it’s a pretty medium-neutral rose pink.
Stitch by Stitch is a soft baby pink that isn’t too pale or too blue in undertone. I think it’s a fun color to wear that isn’t too bubble-gum like if you’re looking for a more neutral pink.
In case you missed it, you can check out my tips and favorites in my Hand and Nail Care Routine post that I posted recently. It’s an updated list of my go-to products for a DIY manicure.
What are some of your favorite Essie nail polishes? Do you recommend any of their base or top coats? What should I try next?