Nail Care

What do I do to take care of my nails to keep them strong and resilient? How do I keep my cuticles smooth and supple?  Here's what:


I use all of these products, sometimes interchangeably, sometimes daily, and sometimes every so often! Read on for details. Please know that any product mentioned here is what I've found in my honest and personal opinion works for me. That does not mean they are necessarily the best for you. I have not tried every nail care product on the market, but I am very satisfied with of all the products mentioned on this page because they continue to make my nails and hands super happy.

My #1 nail care product for long, strong nails and supple cuticles.

I have personally seen the following results:
  • Stronger nails
  • Longer nails 
  • No more brittleness
  • Less prone to breaking/cracking due to increased strength and flexibility
  • Reduction of 'clear spots' in free edge of nail
  • Reduction of 'white spots' in nail bed
  • Diminished ridges/uneven areas of nail bed
  • Shrunken/diminished cuticles
  • Tighter skin around the cuticle (less wrinkles)
  • Soft, more supple fingertips 

 
VIDEO TUTORIAL AT THE END OF THE POST!




Update Feb 2015 - - - 

For tips on how to grow your nails, check out this blog post on how to grow your nails!





Do yellow nails mean they're unhealthy? NO. Watch this:



1. Nail and hand care for daily use at home or on-the-go

First up is my Bliss Kiss trio, all products from My Bliss Kiss. They all contain one essential ingredient to maintaining healthy nails and soft cuticles: Jojoba oil.  I use the Bliss Kiss pure nail oil pen at work or when I'm out of the house for a convenient application of the oil to the nail (don't forget under the nail) without the mess. When I'm around the house or sometimes before bed, I'll apply the nail oil straight from the bottle by adding a tiny drop to each nail and then massaging it into the nail/cuticle. My Bliss Kiss sells a starter kit with a pen and a bottle, which is what I started out with before falling in love :). You can apply the oil at any time, whether your nails are painted or not. I generally apply it 3 to 8 times a day depending on where I am. It gets addictive cause it feels so soft!

I also recently got the Bliss Kiss Simply Sealed lotion stick after seeing the results I had with their nail oil. It's a very unique product as it comes in solid form like a lip balm, but melts with the heat of your body when you apply it to the skin. This product leaves a water-resistant barrier/film behind, which helps prevent water from penetrating the skin/around the nail, in turn preserving the nail's oils and preventing them from drying out. I use it in place of hand lotions, but I like to change it up every so often and will still apply hand lotions at other times during the day. I have the "crisp" scented version (there is also unscented), which is a refreshing citrus scent.

On that note, another nail care tip is to AVOID WATER. Yes, that's almost like saying avoid oxygen, I know. When water is absorbed by your nails they flatten out, are more prone to polish chipping, and become weaker as a result of reduced oil levels. Don't submerge your hands in water unless you have to (i.e., shower, please still do this), but if you're going to wash the dishes then throw on a pair of rubber gloves.



I've done a more comprehensive review of Bliss Kiss nail oil in a seperate post: click here to see my nail transformation in photos. To read more about what this nail oil can do for you, and for some amazing customer before and after photos and results, check out this page.

Next up, hand moisturizers. I have a collection of various hand creams, even more than is pictured below, but these are generally my go-to favourites. Not all of them may be specifically designed with nail care in mind, but if you want nice nails for photos, then you likely also want nice hands! 

I love The Body Shop's vitamin E hand and nail treatment for its really great moisturizing qualities. It leaves the skin very soft, and rubs in well with very little excess oiliness. The only thing I'm meh about is the smell - it's fragranced with a very rosy/floral scent, and I'm much more of a citrus or vanilla-scented kind of girl. This is not to say that the smell is bad, it certainly smells authentic and not too artificial, it's just not my favourite.

For when I feel like having a sumptuously scented trail follow me around, I use True Blue Spa's Shea Cashmere & Silk hand lotion from Bath & Body Works. It smells like rich vanilla almond and rubs in leaving a very silky residue behind. It almost has a mattifying effect and doesn't appear oily.

Alternatively, I like Aveeno's Positively Ageless Skin Strengthening hand cream for when I feel like a hand cream but don't want an overwhelming scent. It has a very light scent that I can't really describe other than it smells like 'Aveeno'. It absorbs easily into the skin and is perfect for use prior to a nail photoshoot because it doesn't leave behind an oily residue. 


2. Nail and hand care for night time

I use different products at night time than the ones I use during the day because they are very thick and heavy creams and aren't ideal for when you're about the go type on your computer, use your phone, or even eat a bowl of Shreddies (now you know what I eat for dinner).

I wear cotton gloves to bed after applying these products maybe every other night or when I feel like my hands and nails are particularily parched (after a weekend-long nail art marathon, perhaps). The cotton gloves let your skin breathe overnight but also keeps the moisturizers you've applied locked in to soak into your hands/nails and keeps them away from ruining your bed sheets. You can pick up cotton gloves at your local drug and beauty store.

Using a rich shea butter hand cream can really do wonders for your hands. I love the super rich moisturizing properties of True Blue Spa's Shea Butter Super Rich Body Cream. They also make a body butter which I'd love to try, but haven't got around to buying it yet. Clearly I'm almost out of this mini, so I best be going to pick up more soon! It leaves behind a very thick/oily residue, hence why I only really recommend it at night or when you're not going to touching much (definitely not your smart phone!).

Cuticle creams/butter offer extra softening and moisturizing benefits when you allow them to soak in overnight. I alternate between Burt's Bee's Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream and Hoofer's Choice Cuticle & Nail Cream which you can pick up from your local drug store and Sally's Beauty stores, respectively. The Burt's Bee's cream is more pomade-like in texture and Hoofer's Choice is like a very thick masque-like cream. Burt's Bee's definitely smells better (lemon), and Hoofer's Choice has a weird not-so-appealing smell, but hey, apparently it was invented for use on horses to keep their hooves healthy, so I'm not too surprised. That's why I only use it at night!



3. Caring for your nails and polish removal/nail prep

It is important to take preventative care of your nails and cuticles when removing nail polish because nail polish removers, whether acetone-based or not, are very drying to the skin and nail. Recently I've discovered that the water barrier-forming properties of the Bliss Kiss Simply Sealed lotion stick help prevent nail polish remover from penetrating the skin. I simply dab some onto the tips of my fingers and then massage it in around my cuticles.

Next, I'll apply a generous amount of an inexpensive cuticle oil to my nails, cuticles and surrounding area in order to maximize the retention of oil in my nail area and minimize the drying effects of nail polish remover. I use a cheap cuticle oil as opposed to Bliss Kiss in effort to preserve my precious oil for when I'm not just going to be wiping it off. Pictured is Pro FX Apricot Cuticle Oil which I got at Walmart for under $5CAD.

To remove my nail polish I use Beauty Secrets nourishing acetone-based nail polish remover which you can pick up from any Sally's Beauty store. Many have argued that non-acetone based removers are better for your nails, but this is actually a myth because acetone is far more efficient at removing nail polish, thus your nails are exposed to the chemicals for a much shorter period of time. Yes, acetone is very drying, but that's why it's important to take steps to counteract that dryness with the sealant stick and/or slathering your fingers with cuticle oil.


When removing your nail polish, it's important to do so with one clean swoop of a cotton ball or cotton pad. As you'll see in the video below, if you press down firmly with the remover-soaked pad and hold for 10-20 seconds and then proceed to 'push' the polish off from the cuticle to the tip of your nail it will almost completely come off in one clean swipe. My Bliss Kiss has a helpful article that discusses this further, in the context of preventing nail staining. This polish removal method mentioned was actually first popularized by Deborah Lippmann.

To remove my cuticles (which is the thin layer of tissue riding on the nail plate, NOT the actual skin that's part of your finger - see here), I use Sally Hansen's Instant Cuticle Remover and a cuticle pusher that you can pick up at your local drug/beauty store. This remover product may not be the best out there (I haven't tried many others), but it's cheap and cheerful and I find it works well. I simply apply a couple drops of the gel-based remover on my cuticles after I've removed my polish, let sit for about 15 seconds, and then gently push back with the flat end of the cuticle pusher. I only do this about once a week. Never cut or scrape off the skin surrounding your nail with cuticle nippers unless you want to take live skin with it and cause open wounds and sores.


To file my nails I've generally used a high grit file, but recently got a new red glass file from My Bliss Kiss and am loving it. Glass or crystal files leave less rough edges and seal the filed end with little to no fraying. It is important to file only in one direction to prevent nail splitting, from corner to center. Read more about nail files and which one is right for you here.

I never buff my nails unless I have the odd peeling nail (though this rarely occurs since I began to consistently use Bliss Kiss nail oil). Buffing your nails, whether to remove ridges or to remove a layer of staining, is essentially shaving off layers of nail and can be detrimental to your overall nail strength.

Red Bliss Kiss glass nail file - find it here!

VIDEO TUTORIAL: MY NAIL CARE REGIMEN

A note about nail strengtheners: You will notice that I haven't included any in here. That's because I no longer use them. I did at one time use OPI's Nail Envy strengthening base coat for about a three week period, but I stopped using it once my nails had reached an acceptable level of strength/durability. I do NOT recommend wearing a nail strengthener as a base coat for every mani in perpetuity, in fact this will likely cause your nails to break from being so hard. I know this from experience. Choosing a nail strengthener and knowing when your nails actually need it and for how long should be based on your individual nail state situation. Check out this article which offers a very educated and informed discussion about whether a nail strengthener is right for you.

Cuticle oil isn't just for improved nail health! 

If you have any burning questions for me about my nail care routine, please feel free to comment below or shoot me an email at simplynailogical@gmail.com. For more very informative and well written articles on nail care and nail health, I highly recommend My Bliss Kiss' page - they have really outdone themselves in compiling all sorts of information out there on nail care and coming to educated conclusions about the facts and the myths.

68 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. My pleasure! I hope it was helpful :)

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    2. I was recently asked by Meadowhall to visit the Superdrug Nail Bar to try their Gel Nail Varnish treatment. I was really excited although wasn’t too sure what to expect as I haven’t much experience of visiting nail salons.EmoniNail Reviews

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    3. how do i take care of a broken nailll cristineee help!

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    4. how do i take care of a broken nailll cristineee help!

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  2. I have a question what top coat do you use ??? :)

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    1. Hi Catherine! Generally I always use HK Girl quick dry top coat by Glisten & Glow! It is my fav glossy quick dry top coat that dries super super fast (only 10 mins and you can go to bed and not have sheet indents) and doesn't cause polish shrinkage! It's the best and perfect for use with vinyls too!

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    2. Thank you for your reply :) and recommend others? Because for me there is this top coat available

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    3. Hi again! I haven't tried every top coat out there but I do know that I don't recommend the commonly used Seche Vite because it causes polish 'shrinkage' - see here: http://simplynailogical.blogspot.ca/2014/07/work-appropriate-mani-monday-not-so.html
      I've used generic drug store brand quick dry top coats like Sally Hansen Insta Dry (red bottle) but while it doesn't cause shrinkage, it doesn't dry anywhere nearly as fast as HK Girl. Glisten & Glow sells them from their website, they are fairly reasonably priced, and they ship internationally: http://glistenandglow.bigcartel.com/product/hk-girl-fast-drying-super-shiny-top-coat -- Hope this helps!

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    4. Thank you very much for your help :) I invite you to my blog! :) :)

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  3. Hello Simplynailogical have you ever used exo nail polish remover?

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    1. No I have not, not sure what that is? :)

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  4. How do you get rid of those tiny white spots on my bare nails?

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    1. Those are actually nail bruises! This website wrote an article about it: http://www.nailcarehq.com/white-spots-on-nails/?ap_id=simplynailogical
      I have also found that using nail oil daily helps reduce the white spots as it keeps the nail hydrated - like this nail oil:
      http://www.nailcarehq.com/shop/pure-nail-oil-refill-kit/?ap_id=simplynailogical

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  5. I'm wondering, is there any other nail oil similiar to blisskiss that you can buy in stores?? I'm not a huge fan of buying online, but if I have to I could get my boyfriend to do that for me LOL

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  7. You've sold me! I use lots of nail oil but I use a nail hardener under EVERY nail polish. Although I really get breaks, whenever I do I get chipped corners. However, when they're not chipped corners I've been seeing small cracks on the sides! Scary stuff! Id love to switch to a regular base coat, but since I've been using nail hardeners as a base for over a year I have no idea where to start. Do you have a favorite base coat you reccomend? Thanks so much for this info!

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    1. My fav long-lasting regular base coat is this one: http://glistenandglow.bigcartel.com/product/g-g-stuck-on-blu-basecoat
      But most of the time I wear a peel off base so I don't have to soak my nails in acetone! My absolute fav is this one: http://tinyurl.com/UNTpeeloff but it's currently sold out, WAH! My next fav peel-off is OPI's: http://amzn.to/1EYnHhf
      Hope this helps :)

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  8. Hi! I have a question: my cuticles are way in the front of my fingers and for that my nails look really short. Is there any way to solve this?
    PS: I love your work here on your blog and on your YouTube channel. One of the best nail artists (if I can say so) on the Internet!

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  9. Some friends have told me that it is unhealthy to paint your nails all the time. I've only seen one article that says something about the subject. I wanted to get your advice on it. Is it unhealthy to paint your nails all the time?

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    1. no its not you people say that you need to let them "breath" but thats not true how ever to many gel manicures will damage you nail

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    2. Nope, gel manicures do not damage your nails. Improper removal of the gel manicures does. And nails do not need to breathe. They don't have lungs. Try strangling them. See how long can they go without air.

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  10. Hi simplynailogical. I found this very helpful and found out why my nails were always chipping when they were in the water for a long period of time and now I know why. I just have one thing to ask you. Do you think that if you or in this case me paint ur nails all the time and you never don't have just bare nails unless ur or me are just cutting or painting them again is bad and they should have a chance to breath? Btw you are my favorite youtuber. -maya

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    1. Nails are just thin layers of keratin,which is found in most horns or hooves. That means, your nails don't "breathe" and you can paint them as much as you want, and they can still be perfectly fine. Just like Cristine's nails. They're almost never bare. Yet they're probably a lot healthier than a person who never paints their nails.

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  11. Hello! I absolutely love this! My nail beds are REALLY STUBBY. About a one centimeter and 1/2. I love nail art too! But I don't have the nails to do it. I remember I always used too but cheap fake nails. which DAMAGED my nails even more! Now, I want to grow out my nails and keep my cuticles nice and healthy. I DEFINITELY RECOMMEND this to anyone who wants to strengthen your nails. BTW I LOVE YOU CHRISTINE!

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  12. I have the same exact Burts Bees lemon cuticle cream. I got it in 2012 and basically put it into my bathroom compartment thing....

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  13. I just tried for first time UNT Peelable Base Coat and it works like a dream! But now I have a doubt: I took it off with just a tiny drop of nail oil, and now I am wondering, does that mean I shouldn't use nail oil when I am wearing this base coat, or is there a way to keep using the nail oil with it and I don't know about it? Because I want to use this base coat every time, it works so well, but I had just started to get into the habit of using the oil! Oh man.

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  14. I just started with oils, I also picked up a nail "strengthener" as I am on many medications and have nail issues. I tried going and getting fake ones done and those would peel off within a day. The whole thing but my real nails would still be there and hurt like the dickens, so I'm just starting to use this year to work on confidence and feel more feminine I'm a born girl mind you. Sometimes it gets tough when you're sick and in pain all the time. So any tips would be great.

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  15. That's interesting! Can you please share more about it? Thank you.


    Pedicure Spa

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  16. hi @simplynailogical i have very small nail beds and when my nails grow long they start to go soft and chip its an awful pain as i want my nails long so i can do alot more nail art on them. i would love to know how to fix this if u could.

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    1. Polish your nails and use a lot of nail oil, you can also push back your cuticles so your nail beds are longer

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  17. I bought a glass nail file- per your suggestion- and I absolutely love it! Best thing ever; it works so well!

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  18. what glossy top coat do you use

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  19. She uses her new SuperChic Lacquer (you can find it here - http://superchiclacquer.com/marvel-liquid-macro-top-coat-nail-polish/?utm_source=SimplyNailogicalYouTube&utm_medium=SuperChicVid&utm_campaign=SuperChicMarvelTopCoat#_a_SIMPLY)

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  20. do you think coconut oil could work as a hand cream?

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  21. I have have long nails for almost a year, but I was worried my nails would break so I always put acrylic put on top, if I take the acrylic off and use the nail oil will my nails break?

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    1. Honestly, if you stop doing an over lay you may notice breaking. However, I think using the nail oil and keeping them polished and being careful with them you might not have a ton of breakage. Remember breakage happens, I know I broke a few nails on my left hand and I was so upset, but I just got right back to growing them. I might suggest filing the free edge to a length you feel comfortable going. Then just make sure to keep them super oiled and never without some sort of nail polish, they will always grow back. I hope this helps.

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  22. my nail not long ask ur but the cristin cuvre was very strong is that a good or bad thing?

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    1. it can be good or bad depending on how curved your nail is. If it causes you pain or discomfort, then it might not be, if it doesn't I don't think there is anything to worry about. The curve of your nail may in the slightest make certain nail arts harder to do, but not impossible. So it's ok.

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  23. this might be a really dumb question :-S but i could not find you mentioning anywhere what you do right before applying your nail polish/base coat - i was told you have to remove any oils to make it stay on for long. So do you use soap or nail polish remover before applying polish? Especially when you have them soaked in oil before. This may be obvious to others, but i really want to know... Love your beautiful yellow nails <3

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    1. Just use a lil bit of white vinegar or rubbing alcohol on a Q tip and gently wipe off the nail area

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  24. Hi I was wondering if you had a coupon code for bliss kiss?

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  25. Can you use a rich hand cream with cocoa butter at night instead of shea butter?

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  26. Hi simply nailogical!! I have been wanting holo nail polish for over a year now, but every one is too expensive.... Do you have any recommendations on cheaper holo nail polish online?

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  28. Hi Cristin, I just found you at YouTube and now I try to do my best to care for my nails. My personal problem is that I live in germany and it's pretty difficult, if not impossible, to get all the good nailcare items you use. I will order at Bliss Kiss soon (I hope) but I wanted to ask if you could describe which ingredients are the best in cuticle cream and hand cream, so I could look for a german version of your items :)
    My biggest problem is your absolute awesome peel off base coat...can't find something THAT good here...also there's not even a single product for "simply peel" so I have to wait :(

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    1. Simply Peel- the base coat she uses is a Bliss Kiss product and can be ordered from their site.

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  29. Can nail oil be used on the nail even if I am wearing polish or is it just a waste of product?

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    1. You can definitely still use oil! It'll keep the cuticles healthy!

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  30. I have really ridgey nails. Is it still better not to buff them, even though I haven't manicured in years? I work with my hands carrying/working on computer equipment all day, so I'd like to start with at least simple clear manicures to protect my nails from chipping and breaking.

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  31. I have terrible nails and cuticles. You said you used to have bendy nails. Did the oil make it stronger? If not, what did you do to get stronger nails?

    Also, what can I do about my cuticles being nasty? They kind of peel and then if I pull they excess off, it goes down my nail and I bleed.

    Also I love you and your nails are literal #GOALS.

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  32. Thanks for the tip about Nail Strengtheners. We have been using them with our customers at our salon but are re-considering that. Fix Fungal Nails.com

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  33. Hey I just want to know why my nails stop growing past a certain point or slows growing past a certain point. I apply Julep cuticle oil to my nails and cuticles every night and morning and its making them strong and flexible but they're taking forever to grow. Please help, love you :)

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  34. Hi Cristine, I have been watching your channel cause nail art is my new hobby and I was wondering could you do a video like a top 10 or 5 of the most effective quick dry top coats?, I have been using the "Sally Hansen Instan-dri" top coat and works really quick to me instead the OPI. So it would be great a "TOP 10 - the best quick dry top coat", as your video of the base coats. Holo greetings from Peru :)

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  35. Heii, I have a question. Well, I live in Germany and I searched everywhere for Bliss Kiss products... but they don't exist here. Even on amazon and I don't really trust Ebay. So I wanted to ask if there is any other product that I can use instead of the Biss Kiss oil 'cause I really want long nails again but they're breaking all the time.
    Please excuse my bad english haha
    I hope I'll get an answer soon

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  36. Heii, I have a question. Well, I live in Germany and I searched everywhere for Bliss Kiss products... but they don't exist here. Even on amazon and I don't really trust Ebay. So I wanted to ask if there is any other product that I can use instead of the Biss Kiss oil 'cause I really want long nails again but they're breaking all the time.
    Please excuse my bad english haha
    I hope I'll get an answer soon

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  37. Heii, I have a question. Well, I live in Germany and I searched everywhere for Bliss Kiss products... but they don't exist here. Even on amazon and I don't really trust Ebay. So I wanted to ask if there is any other product that I can use instead of the Biss Kiss oil 'cause I really want long nails again but they're breaking all the time.
    Please excuse my bad english haha
    I hope I'll get an answer soon

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  38. 10 Important Considerations you should Never Forget About Your Nails http://www.mingleweave.com/10-important-considerations-you-should-never-forget-about-your-nails/

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  39. You can make your own cuticle oil. You can use jojoba oil, coconut oil, almond oil... it's just about finding the recipe online.

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  40. Christine I have a problem... I pick my nails do you have any tips to stop it I try so hard to let them grow but every they get to a decent length I pick them :(

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  41. wow i love long nails but i have short ones :(

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  42. I just want to say that you have been such an inspiration to me over these last five years almost. I love my bliss kiss products and have the huge refillable bottle of nail oil and over a dozen refillable pens laying around every where :)

    I saw that you don't use a strengthener which is awesome but I have ridges on some of my nails and I know that buffing is a no-no according to Ana over my bliss kiss. I have been using NailTek ridge filling base coat under all my mani's for weeks now. It's for peeling nails because no matter what I do one or two will begin to peel on the free edge of my nail. I've done three day hydration with simply pure nail oil and use moisturizing products daily. So anywho.....what base coat do you recommend for keeping a mani on longer than a day or so? I have the UNT peel off base coat that I have yet to try but I usually paint my nails at night. The following day I spruce up the mani with some kind of nail art. Any tips or guidance on a good base coat to use regularly would be much appreciated!

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  43. Thank you for sharing this. I have been using the bliss kiss simply pure nail oil for about 2 weeks now. My nails have never been stronger and have stopped peeling. It's simply amazing. Thank you again.

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