I believe there are a few things every polish lover should own. Nothing expensive or too crazy, but things that you need if your going to start really getting into polish. I've had some questions about these, so I've decided to do a post on it. Here are the first 5 out of 10 things I think you should own, none of them over $10.00, because that's always a nice thing, right? :D the second segment, consisting of the last 5, will hopfullybe put up within the next week. I'll add the link here when I post it.
1. Nail Polish Remover
I hope this would go without saying, but if your going to use nail polish, you need remover. I don't care if you use peel off nail polish or whatever, you still should own a 50 cent bottle. It not only removes nail polishes and cleans up cuticles, but it cleans and preps your nails before you polish so your nails will last longer. Prep your nails with it even if they are clean. I like strengthening removers because I think, while they don't really make my nails stronger, they don't make them any weaker either. I think it's a delicate balance between cheap and strong, so I don't ever buy the really cheap stuff (scrubbing?!?! no thank you) but I don't have the crazy expensive stuff either. My current stuff is by Cutex, but I switch around when stuff goes on sale.
Nail polish thinner is a miracle in a bottle. For 5 dollars, you'll never have gloppy nail polish again. Okay, it will run out, but it takes forever. With around 200 nail polishes, I've only used have of my 1 1/2 year old bottle of thinner. It's worth it. And, for all of you who think nail polish remover thins polish, DON'T! Don't, don't, don't, don't, don't. Seriously, I'm begging you. Nail polish remover is meant to break down nail polish, it might look okay for a bit, but it will be ruined beyond repair in time. It will make glitters bleed and curl and melt, as well. Nail polish thinner is worth it. If you don't think you own enough polish to warrant a whole bottle of the stuff, split the cost and share it with a friend or two. But for the price of a drugstore polish, I know it's well worth it. I got mine from Sally Beauty Supply, they have great coupons and sales all the time on it.
3. A Black And White Creme Polish
These are the bread and butter of nail polishes. Not only do they make a fine manicure by themselves, they are great for nail art and as 'underwear' for other polishes. Sheer nail polishes look so much better with a nice opaque underlayers. Use white under neons to make them really pop, or black under duochromes to really push out the colour shift. While you can get some expensive, great blacks and whites (in that case, I recommend Cult Nails Nevermore and RBL's Underwear) there are also super cheap ones that also work extremely well. Whites are always a bit trickier, but you can get some nice ones that are inexpensive and many super cheap blacks are one or two coaters. I got Wet N' Wild Black Creme and French White Creme for 99 cents each at Walmart (in the States you can get them on sale for 50 cents each) and they work beautifully.
Cuticles aren't everything, but the make the whole picture just look nicer. Think of them as the picture's frame. You can have a gorgeous Van Gogh or Da Vinci, but a cheap knockoff can look just as good (if not better) in a nice frame, compared to ugly, old framers with the million dollar pieces. Taking care of your cuticles not only make you nails and hands look better, it keeps them from cracking and splitting and peeling, which is very painful, especially if your painting you nails or using remover. Their are dozen of different remedies for cuticles and I'm sure that everyone can find something that they like and that works for them. Olive oil also works, but I do recommend a real cuticle product eventually, as it just works so much better. I use China Glaze's Orange Cuticle Oil, which I got as a freebie with a purchase at Sally's. If you are interested in getting a great oil for super cheap, sign up for Julep Maven here. You get a cuticle oil (with an amazing rollerball applicater) and 2 polishes for only a penny! Again, sign up here. You can always easily cancel after your first box, no questions asked.
5. Base And Top Coats
Another two must-haves are a good base and topcoat. I don't care if you're nail polish says 'All-in-One', fact of the matter is that there are somethings that only a layer of basecoat underneath or topcoat on top can do. Here a just a few. Base coats can prevent staining, even out imperfections on the nail plate, and help the nail polish adhere better, requiring less coats for opacity. Topcoats give a shiny glossy finish, even out polish and make sure the vibrancy of a colour doesn't fade. They both prolong a manicure, and help keep it chip-free longer than it would on its own. Even a plain clear nail polish under and over is better than not using anything, but -just like olive oil instead of cuticle oil- you should eventually get a real base and topcoat. NYC's topcoat gets alot of good reviews, and Revlon's Colourstay base coat is a great deal, and regularly goes on sale super cheap. Plus, you can always find a Revlon coupon for a dollar or two online.
Thanks for reading! Be sure to tune in for part two :)