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cuticle-stick.jpg
In the winter, our biggest problem area isn’t the dry skin on our body, or face. It’s our dry hands. And beyond that, our dry, brittle nails and cuticles. 

Luckily, a dear friend gifted us with a must-have basket of beauty goodies, and the All Season Naturals Cuticle Conditioning Stick was among them. If I hadn’t read the packaging, I would have immediately assumed it was lip balm because of the shape and color. The scent is deliciously fruity, but not too sweet. Oddly enough, it smells like a high-quality salon shampoo, which is one of our favorite scents! 

On first application, the soft stick melts quickly (almost as quickly as the amazing scent hits your nose). The shea butter, olive and Vitamin A and E and oils made our nails feel velvety smooth, hydrated and rich after rubbing a small amount of the product onto each cuticle. 

Plus (and probably one of my favorite features), if you retract the conditioning stick all the way down, the rounded tip is perfect for pushing back your cuticles! A tool and a beauty product in one! 

For just shy of $6, this is definitely a must-keep-in-purse for the long haul. Give it a try, and you’ll see what we mean. $5.99, sallybeauty.com
Deborah-Lippmann-Boom-Boom-Pow-Nail-Polish.jpgOur favorite thing about the holidays? Glittery nail polish. Our least favorite thing about the holidays? Removing glittery nail polish. “Glitter polish is wonderful for layering over other shades to create a fun, distinctive look,” says celebrity manicurist Deborah Lippmann. So we turned to some of the biggest names in the manicure biz for the tips and tricks for removing every last ounce of pesky glitter from our nails.

“Glitter can be a real pain to remove, and you MUST NOT pick it off, no matter how fun it is to cover the subway in flecks of gold,” says Nonie Creme, manicurist extraordinaire and founder of butter LONDON. “When you pick, you remove little chunks of nail as well, causing damage that has to grow off.”

One thing all manicurists agree on? For best results, be sure to use an acetone-based polish remover, like Cutex Quick & Gentle Nail Polish Remover ($2.49 at drugstore.com). Soak a cotton pad or cotton round in remover and then place over your entire nail, firmly pressing down for about a minute. “Let them soften up a little bit with the pad on top of them,” says celebrity manicurist Beth Fricke. “I think that’s really the only way.”

After pressing the cotton round against your nail, use a fresh remover-soaked pad to whisk away remaining polish. Celebrity manicurist April Foreman recommends swiping the cotton in a downward motion, away from the cuticle. “This ensures that you don’t press glitter into cuticles and surrounding skin, which makes cleanup that much more work!” she says.

And if that glitter is just so stubborn, no amount of rubbing and acetone-based remover seems to make it go away? “Follow up using a facial exfoliating pad for a second pass over nails,” Foreman recommends. “This grabs any remains of glitter, leaving your nails completely bare and ready for the next color.”

Manicurist Susan Nam, who owns Polished Beauty Bar on NYC’s Upper West Side, says you can also pour an entire bottle of acetone-based remover into a glass bowl and then soak your nails for about 2-3 minutes. “The polish should come off completely,” she says. If you let the remover sit in the bowl for awhile, you’ll notice all the glitter sinking to the bottom — at which point Nam says you can actually pour the remover back into the bottle “until the next time you need to take off that really stubborn color!” Just use a coffee filter when pouring to ensure none of the glitter gets back into the bottle.

If you plan on repainting your nails right after removing the glitter, Creme recommends doing so immediately following the remover. But if you’re taking a break from polish — “Heaven forbid!” Creme says; she advises washing your hands thoroughly and rubbing a capful of olive oil into your nails.

Seen above: Deborah Lippmann Boom Boom Pow, $20 at deborahlippmann.com
Zoya-Remove-Plus-Nail-Polish-Remover.jpgThere are a lot of nail polish removers on the market — and, truth be told, we’ve tried them all. But one is a cut above the rest, and its name is Zoya Remove+.

It would be fickle of us to say our favorite attribute of this remover is the fact that it’s purple. But, since it’s our favorite color, we’re sticking by it! Luckily, this remover delivers ten-fold.

For starters, the bottle design is ingenious. Not only is it huge (a whopping 8 ounces!), but it’s crafted with a unique twist-around flipper cap with push-down technology, ensuring no more polish remover comes out than you actually need. We feel like we’re in a nail salon every time we press a cotton ball to the top!

Add to the purple factor and the bottle design that this remover is amazing — three pumps on one cotton ball is enough for all 10 nails, and it’s not stripping or drying — and voila! Our favorite nail polish remover of all time has been born.

Zoya Remove+ retails for $9.99 at zoya.com.
MAC-A-Tartan-Tale-Naughty-Little-Vices-Set.jpgFeeling a little preppier than usual lately? It’s time to break out the M.A.C A Tartan Tale Naughty Little Vices Nail Lacquer set. Everything from this collection is absolutely adorable, but it’s this collection of five miniature nail polishes that’s really got us yearning to put on a polo shirt and schoolboy blazer.

The five polishes are housed within an oversized square tin with a vibrant red and green tartan print. A signature gold crest graces the front, hammering home the point that if you buy anything from this collection, you’re embracing your inner prepster!

But it’s the five polishes themselves that make us squeal with joy. The collection includes Beyond Jealous (deep forest green), Asiatique (bright cherry red), Vice is Nice (classic metallic gold), Nocturnelle (black) and Vintage Vamp (deep blood red). Each polish is equal parts vampy meets glamorous, with — of course — just a little bit of prep thrown in for good measure.

Our final verdict? We’re now wearing cashmere twinsets and sporting plaid headbands.

The M.A.C A Tartan Tale Naughty Little Vices Nail Lacquer retails for $25.50 at maccosmetics.com.
CND-Stickey-Base-Coat.jpgWant to know a secret? The best base coat around is CND Stickey. No matter how many we try, no matter where we stray, we keep coming back to the amazingness of this one particular base coat.

There are two major factors we look for in a base coat:

1) It anchors the polish to the nail with as little chipping as possible
2) It prevents staining of the nail, no matter how dark the polish may be

Stickey DELIVERS. Polish lasts for days without peeling or chipping — we’ve been known to wear the same polish for close to two weeks with only the smallest amount of tip wear! And when we finally do remove the polish, our nails are just as pristine and clear as ever underneath.

In short? Stickey is the way to go.

CND Stickey retails for $8.50 at ulta.com.

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