Smooth It Out

100% of the time I wear nail polish on my toes, and maybe 10% of the time I wear nail polish on my fingers. 

Oddly enough, I'm pretty good about maintaining the nail polish on my toes, but I am absolute crap when it comes to keeping nail polish on my fingers. 

Nail maintenance is such a chore, but it always makes such a difference. I'm really about the simple look for my hands, this is as close to a MNBB (My Nails But Better - is that such a thing?) for me. To give my hands and nails a bit of lovin', I like to buff my nails and apply cuticle oil for an easy, low-maintenance upkeep. I used to use one of those 4-sided buffer rectangles when I was younger, but I picked up this Revlon Nail Buffer a few years back and it does all I need - it buffs on one side and polishes out on the other. 

I got this Butter London duo last Christmas at Ulta for a deal (but there are tons of other options out there) and it has been doing a good job since. I use the Melt Away product in order to break down some of the dead skin around my nails. I picked up one of these Tweezerman cuticle pushers a few years back and this stuff is so addicting - it's one of those satisfying yet disturbing feelings to push away all the gunk lingering on your nails. I usually skip the cuticle cutting when self-pampering because I notice that my cuticles feel super damaged in the weeks following a professional manicure. So no need for me. I then spend a good 5-10 minutes cutting my nails, shaping my nails using a crystal file, and buffing my nails. I'll give my hands a quick wash and then apply some cuticle oil and allow that to just set in while I catch up on some TV shows. 

Usually I'll stop right there, giving my hands a nice, fresh, smoothed out and touched up look. I feel that some dainty, simple rings instantly add a casual and somewhat minimalistic touch to everyday appearance. But when I'm feeling more adventurous, I'll go ahead and apply a fun pop of color to my nails. I've noticed that nail polish significantly lasts longer on smoothed, buffed nails - I'm talking 5-7 days with no chipping ( and no top coat required). How impressive is that? 

What are some of your must-do nail tricks for easy or simple maintenance?