Category Archives: Beauty

Rica Cuticle Oil Pen Review

Hello sweeties and a happy Friday to y’all! How has the winter been treating your hands? I know my hands and nails have been truly suffering. I’ve upped how often I do my Beauty Bootcamp (see my post that details my skin & nail care routine), and I make sure I try to keep my cuticles oiled. I make my own cuticle oil, and have been using a rollerball to apply. Even though I make my own, I love trying out all types of cuticle oil and ways of applying.

Ricarda from Rica recently sent me her new Heal + Fortify cuticle oil pen to try out, and I chose the Cotton Candy Dreams scent. First off, here’s what it looks like:

Rica Heal + Fortify Cuticle Oil Pen

Rica Heal + Fortify Cuticle Oil Pen

As you can see, it’s already gone haha! So I obviously liked it. 🙂 First, let’s talk about the scent I chose. Cotton Candy Dreams smells DIVINE! It’s like strawberry-infused cotton candy aka a sugar high on your nails. I’ll admit I caught myself smelling my hands more than once.

If Mary Katherine Gallagher's nails smelled like Rica's Cotton Candy Dreams oil, I understand why she did this!

Yup, like this

If Mary Katherine Gallagher’s nails smelled like Cotton Candy Dreams, I understand why she smelled her hands so much!

OK, and onto the oil itself. The ingredients:

  • Jojoba oil
  • Vitamin E
  • Safflower seed oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Calendula flower extract
  • Essential oils/ fragrance

So it’s nice and natural! When applied to the nail, it absorbs quickly without leaving a greasy residue which is so important. I really love the pen application too! This was my first time trying oil via a pen, and I gotta say – I’m not going back. You can get into the little nooks and crannies around your skin with the brush tip, and it’s easy to control how much you’re applying. I tend to go crazy with the oil, so I use 1-2 clicks per nail then massage it in.

I definitely noticed a change for the better in my nails. I used up the entirety of one cuticle oil pen, which lasted me just about 8 days. I applied it anywhere from 2-10 times a day because I really wanted to get my cuticles in check. I have to be honest, I don’t tend to see much of a difference between most cuticle oils… I think the biggest difference is in how you apply it. Most oils will have similar ingredients, so you need to shop around to find your favorite applicator, scent, and price!

Rica Heal + Fortify Cuticle Oil Pen

Rica Heal + Fortify Cuticle Oil Pen

I do have to say that this Rica pen is a definite winner for me! The pen contains 2 mL of oil, and it comes in 35 different scents from Lemongrass to Green Tea to Birthday Cake and even Monkey Farts (oh, and also unscented too)! It costs $4.25, which is super reasonable. If you’re not a fan of the pen applicator, you can get the oil in rollerball or polish bottle form. I hope she starts stocking refill bottles because I’d love to stock up on some of those yummy scents!

Check out Rica:

Oh and if you like what I’ve got going on with the nails in that pic, I’ll be showing you more on Monday! 🙂

Have you tried Rica’s cuticle oil? Or other pen applicators for oil? What’s your favorite cuticle oil?

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My Top Hand/ Nail Care Products, Plus Beauty Bootcamp!

I don’t know about you, but I am SO happy it’s Friday! This has felt like a really long week, and I am so looking forward to a few days off. I don’t have any specific plans, but I may have some friends over for wine, gossiping, and nail polishing! That’s always exciting. But anyways, I have what I think is an exciting post for you today – my hand/ nail care routine! Last week, I had mentioned that I put my hands and nails in beauty bootcamp after a long weekend of bonfires and no moisturizing products. So I wanted to share both my regular routine and my beauty bootcamp! Warning – this is going to be a long post, but I swear your hands and nails will thank you, so stick with me!

REGULAR HAND/ NAIL ROUTINE:

Moisturizing:

  • One of the most important pieces of a good hand/ nail care routine is moisturizing! In my job I’m always washing my hands and using hand sanitizer, so my hands are chronically dry. I also have sensitive skin and eczema, so there are a few things I always look for in a good moisturizer:
    • Fragrance-free… many products with fragrance will irritate sensitive skin. I only have one scented moisturizer that doesn’t break my skin out!
    • Fast-absorbing… this is because I hate walking around during the day with greasy or wet hands. Also, putting freshly moisturized hands in gloves is not pleasant if the moisturizer hasn’t absorbed yet.
    • Urea/ Ceramides/ Alpha hydroxy/ Shea butter… these are all really great ingredients that both moisturize your skin and even repair defective portions of the skin barrier (great for those of us with eczema!).
  • Here are my favorite daytime moisturizers:
  • My Favorite Daytime Hand Moisturizers

    My Favorite Daytime Hand Moisturizers

  • The Eucerin & First Aid Beauty moisturizers hit all the above requirements for an ideal product. They are equally fantastic! The FAB moisturizer does absorb faster than the Eucerin one, but otherwise the quality is comparable. Eucerin is just over $5 and FAB is $12, so if price is more of a concern – go with the Eucerin!
  • The J.R. Watkins moisturizer is scented – a delicious lemon cream scent. I was so surprised that this fragrant one didn’t break me out! It’s very moisturizing and smells amazing. It can be a bit greasy, so I don’t use it as frequently as the other two above but it’s definitely still a favorite. It used to be available at Target, but I haven’t found it there for months. You can, however, find it on Amazon!
  • Sidenote – I know everyone raves about OPI Avoplex, but I personally dislike it. It absorbs faster than any of my lotions, but I don’t find it that moisturizing. If you don’t need much to keep your hands soft, then this will be ok for you. But if you like something more moisturizing, I’d go with my above options any day!

Oiling Those Cuticles:

  • During the daytime, you still need to keep your cuticles oiled! Basically, I put oil on my cuticles anytime I think of it which probably adds up to 2-5 times a day.
  • Oil vs balm: I tend to go for oil since balms tend to be more lastingly greasy. I use a handmade oil concoction made by yours truly. I was inspired by Cat of Cat’s Claws, and loosely based my oil on her formula (see her guest blog post on her DIY oil here – it’s fun and science-y too 🙂 ). Here’s how I make mine:
    • MY HOMEMADE CUTICLE OIL:
      • 1 tbsp Jojoba oil
      • 1 tsp Avocado oil
      • A few drops of Vitamin E oil, usually about 5-6 but you probably only need 2-3
      • Essential oil blend – my favorites are a lemon vanilla mix and a peppermint vanilla mix. One of my friends loves a Jasmine/ lemon/ vanilla blend I made for her. I researched how to mix essential oils here.
      • A rollerball container. I bought mine on an Etsy shop (I was going to link it, but it’s no longer around. There are other sellers providing rollerball bottles though!). I like rollerballs because I feel like you can control the application of the oil better than a brush.
      • My Homemade Cuticle Oil

        My Homemade Cuticle Oil

Phew! Well that’s my day-to-day routine!

BEAUTY BOOTCAMP ADD-ONS (these are things I add to my above daily routine if my hands/ nails are especially dry or ragged):

Remove Pesky Cuticle Excess:

  • To kickstart Beauty Bootcamp, I reach for a good cuticle remover. Recently I’ve been using a Julep cuticle remover from a Maven box, which works really well. But I also love my Blue Cross Cuticle Remover from Sally’s too!
  • Julep's Cuticle Remover

    Julep’s Cuticle Remover

Cuticle Care While Swatching:

  • I recently added this step now that I’m swatching polishes more frequently. I never liked to oil my cuticles up between swatches because I dislike the look of wet fingers in pics. But I received a mini cuticle balm as a surprise extra when I placed an order with Reverie Nail Polish. I just adore this! I just use a small brush, rub it on the balm, then apply around my cuticles. It moisturizes the areas that are dry from acetone clean-up without making my nails look oily and wet! And this particular balm smells so nice! I know there are like a million balms out there, but I’m really loving this one. I do want to try more in the future though.
  • Reverie Cranberry Cuticle Balm

    Reverie Cranberry Cuticle Balm

Hand Scrub:

  • A good nourishing hand scrub is a great way to buff that dry exterior and let the moisturizers and oils really work their magic! I do this a few times a week when my skin is really thirsty (that sounds pretty creepy!). Otherwise, I’ll do this maybe once a week.
  • I’ve been using a hand scrub I got in a Julep Maven box, but I really like using a homemade scrub too! You just mix sugar and slightly heated olive oil and rub it all over your hands – super easy!
  • Julep's Hand Scrub

    Julep’s Hand Scrub

Crazy Nighttime Moisturizing and Cuticle Care:

  • This is the kicker to my Beauty Bootcamp! Deep moisturizing of the hands, nails, and cuticles is key.
  • I use a ridiculously thick moisturizer after the hand scrub and right before bed. My favorite is Eucerin’s Original Healing Soothing Repair Creme. It’s so rich, like a creamy vaseline. I slather a really thick layer over my hands and voila – happy hands!
  • My Favorite Intense Nighttime Moisturizer

    My Favorite Intense Nighttime Moisturizer

  • After making my hands happy with that great moisturizer, the cuticles need even more love too! My favorite is Lush Lemony Flutter, which is a great cuticle butter. It’s rich and moisturizing, and I love the smell! Not everyone likes the lemon scent, but I definitely do! The other nighttime cuticle butter I use is Nail Butter. It works just as good as Lemony Flutter, but I’m not as big a fan of this scent so I don’t use it as frequently. It’s hard to describe, but it’s almost like a sweet mustard maybe? It’s not off-putting, but it’s not my favorite smell. Anyways, Lemony Flutter is my pick!
  • My Favorite Nighttime Cuticle Product

    My Favorite Nighttime Cuticle Product

Well that’s it! My very detailed hand, nail, and cuticle routine! If you’ve stuck around this long, thank you for reading!

What are your go-to products for your hand/nail care? Do you use any homemade items? Let me know below!!

Soft hands

Anyone who does a lot of manicures is at risk for really dry hands. All those frequent changes in nail polish and exposure to acetone can tear up the skin around your nails. In addition to that, I also work in a hospital so I need to wash my hands a lot and use that drying alcohol-based hand sanitizer. And I have eczema, which basically means I have very sensitive dry skin at baseline.

Taking all that into consideration (and with my medical background), I’ve become an expert on hand moisturizing. Here are my favorite products:

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