I’m getting pretty good at doing my own nails. Even the ones on my right hand.

So much so that I decided to start a new series — Nail Party. This series is dedicated to the liberating, playful, and even self-loving gesture of painting your nails.

Taking the time to get good at at-home manicures has had a positive, outward ripple effect that I couldn’t help but wax poetic about for a couple hundred words. Won’t you join me as I do?

Firstly, it gave me a sense of accomplishment in the way that learning a new skill does. The motion of being complete ass at something and then one day realizing, “Hey! Not bad,” is a redemptive story arc I recommend for everyone.

Secondly, even though my foggiest depressive episodes or moments of disassociation, I can look at my paws and just admire something pretty. There’s peace to be found in that gesture — be it walking through a museum or looking at someone you love. Science itself is here to back me up on it, too. Psychotherapist Greta Angert told Glamour, "I often recommend that clients include painting their nails as one of many helpful coping skills. Sitting down to paint your nails is a simple gesture that tells you 'I'm worth it,' 'I deserve this.'"

So, for this first installment of Nail Party, we’re covering daily nail care. Here are the products that will keep your hands healthy and happy and ready for the next chapter where we’ll cover painting the damn things.

Daily: Treat your nails like your face

Pro-tip: Whenever you’re applying your skincare, rub the rest into your hands and nails.

good light moon glow milky toning lotion
I always go thinnest to thickest with skincare, and the same applies for nailcare. I like to start with damp skin out of the shower. I’ll layer a splash or two of this highly fluid toner to begin the foundation of hydration.

Glossier After Baume moisturizer
You’ll then want a thick cream to throw into the mix. This is one of the heavier creams in my collection. Its buttercream frosting texture is ideal for flaky patches and parched cuticles. Massage it in. Doesn’t that feel nice?

CND Solar Oil
Like many nail bloggers that proceeded me, I keep a variety of nail oils and balms stashed around my home, the way my dog does with bones, socks, or other general contraband. (He’s really into stealing used paper towels out of the trash and chewing on them, that rascal!)

Solar Oil is a standby favorite by many nail enthusiasts for its quick-absorbing formula, affordable price point, soft almond scent, and robust Avon Lady branding sensibility. My bottle was donated to me by a friend (Hi, Qian! Love you, binch!), and I use it easily three or four times a day.

Weekly: Double up on the TLC

JINsoon High Performance Diamond Nail File
Rather than a nail clipper that leaves you with sharp, uneven edges, take the time to file your nails into your preferred length and shape with this stainless steel file. It comes with both a fine and coarse grit for whatever the task at hand — and replaces dozens of cheaper, disposable files that dull after just a few uses.

Repêchage Honey and Almond Face Scrub
Mercy me, this scrub is a delight. It has the most heavenly honey scent and emollient formula. The exfoliant in this is an almond meal (not shells!!!!!!!), so it has more of an oatmeal consistency than anything. Use it on your face and then hit your mitts with a scoop of it, too. Repeat after me: I deserve this.

Polishes featured in featured artwork:
ILNP Mega (L)
Cirque Colors Pebble
Cirque Colors Lavender Sky
Cirque Colors Morningtide
Sinful Colors Icing on the Cake
Glisten & Glow Top Coat


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