Showing posts with label health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label health. Show all posts

Monday, January 6, 2014

Get Airborne Support With a $1-off Coupon!

Health / Review

   Disclosure:  This post is about free products that I received for review from Smiley360... and the timing couldn't have been more perfect!  The flu has been going around town as Airborne gummies arrived at my doorstep!  Read on for my experience with them and a $1 coupon for you!

   Now, here is one of the quirky things about me...  I don't enjoy orange-flavored things, and I make faces when I drink fruit juice.  Orange juice makes me gag!  The only juices I can tolerate are cranberry juice blends (in small amounts) and unsweetened grapefruit juice (which is hard to find).  So, the wonderful advice to drink a glass of orange juice for a boost in Vitamin C just doesn't work for me...

Monday, July 22, 2013

Is Nail Polish Safe During Pregnancy?

   I'm two months away from my due date!  Naturally I want to share my findings on a question of great importance to all expecting manicure enthusiasts: is nail polish safe during pregnancy?  You may be thinking "Well of course it is, or you wouldn't be swatching polishes for us."  This is true, when using products that are safe - not everything is!  Read on to learn the do's and don'ts of mom-icuring!

   Please be aware that I am not a medical professional, and future research could reveal more accurate information than what I have here.  I did a lot of searching, read everything from medical findings to the comments of nail techs, and am simply sharing what I came away with!  Feel free to post your own advice in the comments below.  And when in doubt, go without or ask your practitioner!

Image credit:'s article - read it!

Is nail polish safe during pregnancy? 

   The answer to this is yes and no.   So long as you are using polishes with 3-free formulas or better, you can go on painting your nails throughout pregnancy.  Happily, most modern polish brands are sticking with the 3-free or better trend, simply because it is healthier for everyone, pregnant or not.  As a rule of thumb, if you can't read the ingredients (or find them Online) of what is in your bottle, don't use it.  The biggest offenders are usually old polishes, smaller overseas brands, and nail treatments that include formaldehyde.  Indie polishes are quite often safe, but watch out for hobbyists that cannot verify their ingredients. 

   Still, you may not be able to paint your nails simply because of the smell.  If you are suddenly gagging because of a scent, you might find polishing your nails unappealing.  You might be able to tolerate less "stinky" polishes, or simply choose to go without.  Even if the smell doesn't bother you, always do your nails in a well-ventilated area.  And always wash your hands after a manicure session or polish removal to remove chemical residues from your hands.

Is gel polish safe during pregnancy? 

   This salon service has been making it's way to consumers more aggressively than ever, so even though I have no interest in gel nails, I wanted to see if there was an answer.  The answer appears to be yes, they are safe.  There are no toxic ingredients and it isn't fumey.  The UV light exposure is minimal. However, I saw many comments from nail techs who said the manicures would not stay on their pregnant clients nails!  Body chemistry changes during pregnancy, and you may find your gel polish doesn't last the way it should. 

   With all the new types of do-it-yourself gel kits coming out I can't say if they are all safe, and would recommend checking the ingredients before using anything.  Also keep in mind that gel polishes require longer soaking in chemicals to remove - research those to make sure you're okay with dipping your tips in them!  Another concern would be about going to a salon to have your nails done.  Their gels might be safe, but chances are the salon does more than gel manicures.  There may be other chemicals in the air that could be harmful to you.  Because you will be in the salon for so short a time you don't have to be afraid of visiting them, but if you walk in and smell any type of strong fume, walk back out!

Are acrylic nails safe during pregnancy?

    This type of manicure seems to be regarded as the most dangerous for moms-to-be.  Some will claim that it is perfectly safe so long as you're getting them done in a well-ventilated salon, but many people advise against it.  Not only because of the additional chemical exposure, but also because of the added risk of developing an allergic reaction to the nails/products used, fungal infection from the drilling of nail beds, or simply ending up with a broken and very painful nail right when that baby arrives!

   Your nails should start growing faster during pregnancy, so why not see if you can go without your acrylics and grow some beautiful natural nails?  You could consider it a 9-month challenge, and keep track of your progress!

Tips for nurturing and enjoying natural nails:

   So you'd rather go natural to ensure the absolute least amount of chemical exposure.  Or maybe you are experiencing a chemistry shift and nothing wants to stay on your nails anymore.  Whatever your reason for avoiding the lacquer that you love so much, you can still have well-manicured nails.  Here are some of my recommendations of products that are completely safe to pamper yourself with!
  • A good set of nail files.  Since you'll be looking at your bare nails now is a great time to get them to your ideal shape, or perhaps experiment with a different shape.  I suggest the glass ones sold by Mont Bleu.
  • A luxurious moisturizer.  This could be just about any of your favorite lotions or oils, and might only be limited by what smells you find tolerable.  Many of my favorites can be found in this kit from Burt's Bees.
  • A pair of manicure gloves.  When used overnight with your moisturizers you'll have even better results!  The kit linked to above includes a pair of cotton gloves, which are wearable no matter what season you're in.
  • A nail growth treatment.  Sure, your nails are already growing, but growing fast doesn't always mean growing strong.  My favorite specialty product is Créme Abricot by Dior, which is wonderful for cuticles and nails.

Other things to keep in mind:

    Don't trim your cuticles!  This is usually something to avoid whether you are pregnant or not, because of the risk of hurting your nail beds or introducing an infection.  Infections can be very dangerous to a pregnant woman and her baby.  Instead opt for a softening cuticle treatment, and then push them back if needed.  Regular moisturizing is all most cuticles need to stay well-behaved.

   Your nails might need to go naked for delivery.  This depends a lot on hospital policies, the preferences of your doctor, or if you're having a surgical delivery.  Ask your doctor if you should have bare nails during labor and delivery.  Why would you?  Seeing your nail beds is a quick way to monitor your circulation and oxygen levels.  There are mechanical sensors that do the job of watching your tips, and not all of them can work through colored nail polish.  Clear polish is usually given the okay.

   Be conscientious of the baby.  Even after delivery, that is.  If you're doing your own nails at home, be aware of how sensitive a newborn can be to those fumes.  Always wash your hands after applying or removing polish to get rid of any residues on your skin.  Basically, don't taint the baby.

   Not everyone is going to agree.  You might get some advice from well-meaning (or demeaning) folks that you don't feel is true.  There is no use in arguing, but feel free to explain what you know and are comfortable doing.  After all, the best decision is an informed decision!  So... what will you do with your nails?

Suggested reading:

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

My New Favorite Glass Nail Files: From Design Glassware by Mont Bleu!

Beauty Tool Review

   Today I'm sharing two fantastic products that I was sent for review purposes from Design Glassware by Mont Bleu .  They contacted me asking if I'd be willing to test and share their tools, and of course I said yes!  In addition to the files shown above I was also sent tweezers, which will get their own review posted separately.

   I'll start off by saying that I live in the US, and Mont Bleu is located in the Czech Republic.  Their website is easy to navigate and has quick currency conversion for worldwide shoppers.  (In view of fluctuating currencies I will only mention the approximate prices in USD.)  While 2-day rush shipping is available I was happy to see that the shipping on the above 3 items was less than $5 if you could wait for Priority Airmail!  That is a fair price, and competitive with US-based businesses.  These items also arrived well-packed in a box with plenty of bubble wrap, so they were safe and sound in their individual cases.

   Mont Bleu has opened their Online shop, aptly named Design Glassware.  They specialize in items decorated with Swarovski crystals and have a wide range of decorated files.  So, lets take a look at what they sent me!

   If you're not familiar with the benefits of using glass files, here is a quick run-down.  The abrasive surface files your nails in a gentle way, and is generally faster than using an emery board.  Being made of glass, they can be washed to keep them sanitary.  They don't wear out and need replacing, and they are stylish.  Glass nail files are an eco-friendly, long term investment!

Foot Scraper File - product page (about $21 USD)

   Alright, I'll admit that the extra-large orange file is not intended for nails... it is meant for removing callouses.  However, I don't really have much by way of rough foot skin.  What I do have are fingernails that fare best with filing to remove length, rather than typical trimming.  Filing off length is a time-consuming process, and the average glass fingernail file is not beefy enough for the task.  When I received this foot file I was excited to try it on my nails.

   The file has a lot of heft to it compared to the usual nail file, but is easy to hold.  While one side is more abrasive than the other, both qualify as 'high grit'.  The edges are rounded and abrasive, as well.  Care should be taken that you don't accidentally scratch anything by being clumsy with it, and I'll be sure to keep it in it's clear case when I'm not doing a manicure.

   Recently my nails grew out very long without any breaks.  They were sort of fantastic, but on the verge of being dangerous.  It was the perfect time to try this file!

   This big tempered glass file works perfectly for my needs.  It removes length very quickly and it won't get worn out with continued use.  I definitely prefer it over the emery boards I had been using.  I also tried washing it and it came clean with a quick rinse under water.  Considering the time saved filing and the fact that I won't have to keep buying disposable files this product is definitely worth the price!

Crystal Glass Nail File - see the collection (about $13 USD)

   I didn't find the exact color and design of file they sent me for review, but they have a variety of designs to choose from.  I like the happy yellow crystals on my file, and they really pop when stored in the velvety black sleeve.  The tempered glass has a very fine abrasive grit.  I found it to be very effective for filing without having to use much force, and a very light touch is all I needed for buffing the edges of my nails.  The file is slim, easy to use and rinsed clean easily.  This is a high-quality nail file and reasonably priced for being decorated with Swarovski crystals.

   By the end of my manicure session my nails were happy and I was converted to these glass files.  I have other "no name" glass files in my stash that were just... okay.  These I'll be reaching for again!

   I am very impressed with these products from Mont Bleu.  I may not have ever found anything like the foot file if they had not contacted me, and now I don't ever want to be without it!  I highly recommend checking out their shop; they have all sort of goodies.  What item catches your eye?
   Disclaimer:  These products were sent to me free in exchange for an honest review.  This in no way affected my opinion of them!  All thoughts in this post are my own.  See my full disclosure here.

Monday, January 14, 2013

My Nail Care Routine!

   Hello, everyone!  I'm really glad to be getting this post done because of the increasing "how do you get your nails that long?" and "what do you use?" questions.  So, I'm sharing my nail care routine.  I've broken it down into what I do every morning, every manicure, every night, and every time I possibly can.  Well, almost every time, anyway.

Every Morning:

   I pop pills!  I started taking these GNC supplements in either late 2011 or early 2012, I don't exactly remember.  I was actually never a daily-vitamin girl before finding these.  (In fact, I had tried 1-a-day multivitamins and I can't stomach them!)  Even now if I forget a day I just skip it.  There are 120 pills in each bottle, and while the dosage for the Hair, Skin, & Nails formula is 2 caplets, I only take 1.  This way I buy both bottles together and they run out together in 4 months.  I buy them from and stock up during sales.
   I estimate this ends up costing about $8.75 per month.  If you're considering taking supplements to boost your nail health and growth keep in mind that it takes 6 months to see results, and everyone handles vitamins differently.  Personally: these work for me!

Every Manicure:

   This is my favorite base coat!  Qtica Natural Nail Growth Stimulator.  I don't actually use it for every manicure (sometimes a girl needs her peel-off basecoat), but even if I have no color on my nails they will be protected by this.  While I haven't seen phenomenal growth using this I also don't use it as often as instructed.  I have seen stronger nails, no longer splitting and peeling like they were two summers ago.  And it works with all my other polishes, which is important.
   This is on the pricey side of what I indulge my nails in, but I also believe in time being money saved.  Once again it takes weeks to see results, and I wouldn't want to switch to using something else for 3 months just to find out that I have 3 months worth of so-so nail growth.  So I stick with Qtica!

Every Night:

   I moisturize my cuticles and around my nails!  This has been a huge help.  Healthy cuticles and nail beds are so vital to growing your nails long and strong.  The most effective way to do it is overnight, and I even have soft gloves to wear while I sleep.  I started off using Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Creme, which smells yummy and moisturizes without being greasy.  I feel that Burt's Bees Hand Salve deserves a shout-out, too.  While not specifically for nails it is great to wear overnight, as well.  I especially notice it heals cuts!
   I'm a Burt's Bees product junkie, and must admit that I haven't had to buy full-sizes of these yet because I'm constantly picking up travel sample packs or earning them for free...  I would gladly buy full-size if it weren't for all the minis I accumulate!

   Last month I treated myself to Dior's Crème Abricot, which I bought from Sephora.  The reviews were way too good to not try it, and I knew it would be easy to return if it wasn't my thing.  Well, it is so my thing!  It deserves it's own separate review on my blog...  All I'm going to say here is that I only use a little bit and it goes a long way.  I've only been using it for about a month and have already noticed faster nail growth, and it keeps my cuticles in perfect condition.
   I thought the price was a little steep but realistically this is going to last me ages.  If I manage to use it all in a year it will only cost $2 per month.  Awesome!

Every Possible Opportunity:
   No picture for this one, but...  Moisturize!  I could barely stand lotion until I got used to actually using it.  I'm still picky about my hands being greasy but now I can't stand to let myself "go dry".   I keep lotion at work where I especially need it, and pay attention to moisturize around my nails.  It definitely helps.  And not to be forgotten - I drink water!  And tea.  Staying hydrated helps a lot more than just nail health.  In fact, I need to go get more water right now!

   I hope you found my post helpful, any questions?  Just ask!  And let me know what you use or your tricks in the comments below, thanks!