Sunday, June 15, 2014

Nail Tool Review ~ Julep Cleanup Tool and Julep Cuticle Pusher

There are so many ways to clean up your fingers after a less-than-perfect paint job. I've been painting my own nails for over twenty-five years and while I get it right more often than not...when I don't, it's irritating.

There is of course, the free way, which is to use your fingernails to scrape away the excess. If you have had a manicure in a salon, you'll see that the nail techs will use this method frequently. However, that's not so convenient if you are on coat #3 of a hard-to-dry polish because you can easily smudge the polish on the nail that you are using as a tool. Another way is to use a Q-tip dipped in nail polish remover. Not a bad method, but there isn't really a pointed tip to the Q-tip and if you don't put enough nail polish remover on it to get it good and wet, the cotton fibers can stick to your still tacky polish.

If you are super-patient, you can wait until the next morning and just wash your hands in warm water and scrape off the polish. Nail polish is not meant to stick to skin and after it thoroughly dries and cures, it will peel right off your fingers.

The method that I have used for a long time which has worked for a while is to pour a little acetone into my small glass dish and use a long-handled brush to carefully dab around my fingernails for clean-up. If you wait until your top coat has set, it will usually protect your nails from any acetone runs. The brush that I use is just an old eyeshadow brush by Japonesque that I picked up at ULTA a few years ago that just never really did it for me on my eyes. Recently I have acquired clean-up brushes from butter London that work even better, and you can get those as part of their Colour Hardware Nail Art Tool Kit.  

However, sometimes you will find tools in the least unexpected places that will surprise you. I recently picked up two tools from Julep as add-ons to my Maven box that are proving to be invaluable tools to me when I manicure my nails. One is the Cleanup Tool and the other is the Cuticle Pusher. Unfortunately, you can only get these tools as part of their Well-Manicured Kit, but if you are in the market for a new nipper, emery board and clipper at the same time, these are great tools to have as well.

I ordered the Cleanup Tool hoping that the fine edge and the narrow corners would really do a great job with cleaning up the blobs, similar to how your nail works when you are scraping the polish off. I had tried using my metal cuticle pusher from Sally Beauty Supply and the beveled edge just wasn't quite narrow enough to get into the spaces between my nail and my skin. However, I was very pleasantly surprised with the Cleanup Tool. I paired it with rubbing Vaseline around the edges of my nails so that the polish wouldn't dry on my skin, and after I painted each nail, I used the tool to scrape off the error seamlessly and easily. It's even narrow enough to pick up the curve at the bottom of your nail around your cuticle without cutting your cuticle or pulling the skin away from the paint. I was very impressed. As seen here, I just painted my nails over a paper towel and every time I scraped an error, I wiped the tool on the paper towel and when I was done, I rinsed it in acetone and then water. It also works exceptionally well without the Vaseline if you scrape it quickly.

The cuticle pusher took me a little longer to adjust to. It's not your average metal cuticle pusher. I'm used to my chrome one from Sally Beauty Supply that has a beveled edge. With ANY metal cuticle pusher or nipper, you have to be very, very careful and not move too fast when using it. If you are not careful, you can drive the tool down into your finger and cut yourself or become infected. So please, pay attention when using these and go's not a race. The Julep Cuticle Pusher has two ends that are the same. Each end is rounded on the top and flat on the bottom, but the shape of the end is like a hook so you can really hook down into the bottom of your nail to remove your cuticle, but with that comes a warning. It's a hook. As in synonymous with ouchie? So move slowly, carefully and deliberately or else you could really have a serious injury with a lot of blood.

The first time I tried the pusher, I did it without any cuticle remover. I just warmed up my hands and started pushing the cuticle skin back. Not a good idea and quite honestly I stopped after two nails because something about the angle, the feel of the flat edge on my nail and the look just felt wrong to me.

Since then, I have used the tool twice and I have changed my opinion. However, I do think that to successfully use this, you need to use a cuticle remover cream or serum. I used Blue Cross Cuticle Remover to soften my cuticles first, and then, placing the flat side of the cuticle pusher on my nail, started scraping the sides of my nail and then hooking down gently into my cuticle area to pull out the removed skin. It was very effective, and I would recommend it if you are very diligent about cuticle maintenance. I clean up my cuticles three or four times a week, but if I were the nail enthusiast that maintained my cuticle area only a few times a month, I would probably opt for either a flat beveled edge pusher like my other one or the more traditional orange stick to push back the cuticle and then a pair of nippers to trim them. This one is just a little too dangerous to use unless you really know what you are doing and are comfortable using a metal cuticle pusher first. You could end up with the hook halfway down into your finger and a serious hand injury.

Enjoy, thanks for stopping by to read, and if you haven't heard of Julep yet, please do spend some time there checking it out. I have been a Maven with Julep for a few months and the benefits are fantastic. For the price that you spend per month, you really get a great box every month, the option to add on little goodies (like I did with these two tools), discounts, coupons, access to the Secret Store, and free shipping all the time. If you decide to become a Maven after reading my blog post, I'd love it if you would let me refer you so I can get a gift, so please leave me a message if that is the case. 

Happy Father's Day to all!

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