Manicure nuts & bolts

Really would prefer to insert this as a page, but it will remain tucked away and more anonymous there. Thus, here in living colour as a post, for ease of access. Enjoy!


Essie just received as a gift with purchase; been using the Mavala and Missha for years now…


Mavala came in a kit; Revlon was purchased on clearance a few years ago.  Love them both; alternate them for every manicure.


This is the only way I can see how much product remains in the mini Mavala bottle.

Reallyreally want to try Skin Food’s pineapple cuticle remover, but it’s 10x more expensive than what I paid for Revlon (a great product) AND they are always sold out in-store.  I told myself I would finish these up before buying Skin Food, even with a notice that it’s now in stock and I have a birthday discount available to me…


I’ve used this Bigelow salve (or Rosebud) for years for cuticles and dry spots on hands, way before I became a varnish freak.

The only reason I just purchased the Burt’s Bees is cos the Bigelow must be at least five years old. :/  No bueno.

I need to toss the Bigelow so I no longer recur to it.  I just did this after last Thanksgiving with my kitchen cutting board, and I actually took it out of the recycling bin, poured boiling water over it and use it as a backup to my new one, which I don’t like nearly as much.

The moral of this tiny tale is that I should stick to the same brand/model when buying replacements, of anything!

California Mango Mango Mend was received as a rather grubby extra in a swap.  The content is fabulous, so I just try to overlook the electrical tape goo that coats the tube… I probably use this after every manicure.  It’s that good, but I’ve no idea where to buy it.


Eucerin tiny tube was recently received as a gift with purchase.  I use it quite a bit on my chapped fingers.

I used to have a Mavala hand crème to accompany the Nailactan treatment above (which is only applied to the nail root), but I can’t find it, so I must have used it up…

Glysolid is good for the entire hand (and body, for that matter).  The loose-fitting lid has no grooves, so it slides right off.  I have no idea why the precise Swiss did this, especially when you’re dealing with a slippery container with greased-up hands.  Thus, you can’t take her anywhere!


Ahh, the wonderful “steam creams” from Nature Republic.

I originally bought the rose and vanilla, then returned for doubles of the apple mango and orange — a fruity set for my son, a second fruity set for me.  🙂


I go through these Nivea tubes like there’s no tomorrow.  Love.

Yves Rocher hit a home run with this holiday LE.  Attractive packaging, great product.

The packaging seems to be difficult to decipher for many Americans.  I gifted sets of the pear and caramel LE products at an office holiday party, and also to my mother.  On both occasions, the recipients stared at the labels, stumped, for a good long time and turned the bottles/boxes around several times searching for a clue to what they might be.  My mother even asked me, are you supposed to drink this?  Lol!


Treatment products.

Mavala came in a set, Seche Rebuild was a gift with purchase, and I chased down every last one of the Essence products either in the stand or on clearance.


Base coats.  Nail Armor was my first, but it has little fibers in it and is quite opaque, leaving a hard film around the cuticle.

I picked up Bonder based on fangirl recommendations.  OPI was a gift with purchase.

From this lineup, I find myself using the cheapies most often: Rimmel base/top (a clearance purchase) and Essence Anti-Split Nail Sealer (which says on the back it can be used alone or as a base coat).


Nature Republic mystery (think it’s a protective top coat or treatment); the others provide either a whitening or glossy pink tint to the nail.

I use the L.A. Girl, purchased from hollycoffeebean‘s blog sale, whenever a manicure recipe calls for Essie Pink Glove Service.

Long ago, I had swapped for PGS, and the gal literally tossed it into a huge file-sized envelope with no padding or packaging whatsoever.  Of course it arrived to me unusable, spilled everywhere and very stinky.


To those café patrons who read Korean, SOS!


What is this product from Nature Republic?  On my receipt, it lists the line item as “nail care”.


I can’t remember what it said on the shelf tag.  Actually, I don’t think it said anything!


Soft touch/semi-matte and matte top coats.

When I was in high school in Japan in the mid-1980s, these were a big thing.  Not so much when I returned to the U.S., although I remember purchasing one from the Shiseido counter at Macy’s in 1986.  Whenever I mentioned the concept to American manicurists, they seemed indifferent.  Perhaps they didn’t like the idea of a teenager telling them what was up.


Of these, I only use the Mava Dry.  I’m afraid I might wreck my hard-won manicure with the drops!

Zoya Hurry Up drops were included as a nice extra in a swap.  Maybe she had the same fear as I, lol.  🙂


Fast-drying top coats.

Impala actually says extra shiny mirror finish, but in the little circle upper right, it says fast-drying.  🙂

NOPI was a gift with purchase.

Poshe is getting stringy and has served me well, but still hardens and peels too much around the cuticles for my liking, making my nails look messy.

Out the Door doesn’t do that.  Maybe I still don’t know what I’m doing, but that’s been my experience with a few top coats, reason why I don’t like using them.  Added shine is great, fast curing, even better — but making my manicure look sloppy round the edges, no thank you.


Scented top coats from the Colorama Misteriosa Turquia collection: soft/sweet incense and mint tea.

They both smell SO good, not cheap or tacky in the least.


Various other top coats.

The Essence on the far left could fit in the shiny category below and also in the fast-drying, according to the back label.

Color Club was my first-ever experience with top coat, and an excellent initiation to the process at that.

Essence Allround Talent takes forever to dry and lends a distinct eerie blue cast to the nails in strong outdoor light, but these side effects are well worth the main event.  With just a coat of this and some nail white pencil (a tool I’ve used since I was a kid), your nails look absolutely perfect, just as it says on the bottle.  A gift from alelvi123, who finds stuff in the Cosnova reject bins in Switzerland I will never in a blue moon see here in the U.S.


Gel and gel-shine top coats.

Although I bought the SH Miracle Gel set and quite a few of the expensive Miracle Gel varnishes, I’ve not tried any of them yet.

SH Big Shiny Top Coat is a wonder product, in my book.  And to think I bought it just for the bottle. 🙂

Ladies trashed the Essence Gel-Look Topcoat in reviews.  They said it never ever dried.  So I was scared to use it, being that I have a terrible success rate in the first place with my manicures.  In fact, I was kicking myself for not researching before purchase.  But I’ve had no problem at all with it thus far.


I wanted the black and gold version of this set, but no matter.  I was able to pick up that version of the matchbox of mini nail files.

The orange stick is my addition; not a part of this kit.  🙂





Paul & Joe base coat beauty shots.  Smells like orange blossom.  I swapped for this about four years ago and she makes endless round trips back and forth from the Paul & Joe section of my bedroom stash to the swap section of my varnish warehouse (the garage).

xx blueberry milk tea

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