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People are always so amazed to find out that all of my nail art designs are done on my natural nails. To me, this is the greatest compliment because I used to have such tiny, misshapen nails that made it so difficult to do all of the nail art I wanted to do. For all of you out there struggling with the same problem, don't worry! There is hope!
Your nail health is a super important part of all of this! Over time I have tried a range of things to deal with the discoloration, scuffs, cracking, peeling, and jagged edges of my nails, and I have finally settled on four products that together create the perfect nail prep routine. After all, what you do beneath your nail art is just as important as the flashy colors and patterns you sport.

Step 1: The Essentials

1. Use a nail buffer! I don’t have any specific brand recommendation but I do recommend you buff your nails if you have trouble with nail discoloration or scuffs. The buffer helps remove layers of leftover nail polish that build up on your nail after repeated polishing. It will leave your nails feeling super soft/smooth and looking nice and shiny! Also just a side note - don't pick your polish off! I know it can be sooo very tempting, but try your best to always use acetone to remove your polish. Picking the polish off can often create icky looking scuffs and scratches on your nails.

2. Use a crystal nail file! The brand I use is called Cheeky and can be purchased on Amazon for just a few bucks for a pack of three. I love these because they are gentle but very effective! I swear by these things.

3. Hard As Hoof nail strengthening cream. This stuff is cool because it works on both your nails and your cuticles, and can even be used over your polish. Not to mention, the cherry almond scent is wonderful!

4. OPI Nail Envy. Okay, I have yet to run into someone who doesn’t recommend this stuff. I have definitely seen improvements in the minor flaking and peeling that I used to have on my nails. It won't save your nails from any catastrophic events in the nail breakage department, but for regular nail flaking it's good. Also, it does make your nails look extremely healthy, and like I said, I haven’t ever heard of someone not liking it. I got mine as a gift (luckily, considering the price is a bit steep), but if you can get your hands on this stuff for cheap, go for it!

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Bio: I am a nail artist and nail art enthusiast running a nail art blog called Look At Her Nails. I also like to draw and ... More »
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