Nail Ritual, Revisited

A while ago, I wrote about the products I use to keep my nails looking their best. Since then, I’ve refined my technique… but I didn’t realize that post was out of date until I tried to refer someone to it and realized it didn’t include the full story.

I have naturally thin, weak, peely nails. Keeping them polished protects them, and allows them to get a little length (a look I like). I’m always hoping that something that works for me will also work for you — so here is my current ritual.

1. Seche Rebuild
Just over a year ago, Seche introduced three “treatment” products: Rebuild, to strengthen weak, thin nails; Recondition, to add flexibility to nails prone to breaking; and Retain, to maintain strong, durable nails. I use Rebuild as a basecoat religiously.

2. Nail polish
It doesn’t really matter what brand, nail polish adds thickness and strength to my nails. Rebuild also lasts longer combined with other products than it does on its own. And a painted nail is really, really smooth (a detail you might not realize until you get used to it and then rub your unvarnished nail).

3. Seche Vite
The classic topcoat. I like really, really shiny nails, and Seche has just been my favorite so far. But I don’t use just one topcoat…

4. Color Club Vivid
Vivid is a “refresher” topcoat. It’s intended to be applied the next day, or two days later (to dry nails), when you want to restore that first-day color and shine. But I’ve discovered that Seche Vite + Vivid meld to form a compound like industrial-grade shellac. It’s absurdly strong, chip-proof, and very, very shiny. My nails will grow out before they chip. I apply it later the same day, or next day after a new manicure (and yes, you can do more than one coat, if you’re keeping your manicure for a week).

The only hitch with Vivid: I don’t know where to buy it “in real life.” I’ve bought it from e-tailers; I’ve seen it for sale in no-name nail supply stores. I recommend it to everyone, but I don’t know where to tell them to buy it. I’m really hoping you guys know where it’s sold.

5. Remove +
This nail polish remover from Zoya smells like lavender (making it the best-smelling remover I’ve ever used). It contains acetone (so it works faster than many drugstore options), but it’s much less damaging than pure acetone.

Additional tips:
A. Always trim/reshape your nails with polish on. Your nail beds probably aren’t all the same length, and the white tip may not be straight (mine aren’t). I file my nails with polish on to eliminate these distractions.

B. Use a glass file. These never wear out, they’re kinder to your nails than other types of files, and they don’t make that horrible rasping noise as you use them. I am never without my Essie glass file (full size in the bedside table; mini in my purse).

C. Moisture! Neutrogena Norwegian Formula is a miracle in a tube (I use it at night). During the day I want something that dries quickly and completely; I’ve been using MAC’s All Over Mineralize Lotion. I have dry skin, so I use something for my hands, rather than focusing on the cuticles specifically.

Did I mention any products you use? Any you think you’ll try? Do you have any more tips for me? And most importantly, do you know where to buy Vivid?

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13 Responses to “Nail Ritual, Revisited”

  • Micki says:

    I have been using the Seche Recondition product and I’m really loving it. It makes an excellent basecoat for a really long lasting manicure as well as making my nails peel a lot less.

  • nicole says:

    Wow, this is great. I have terrible, terrible problems with chipping so I’m going to have to hunt down some of this Vivid stuff. And I love your tips about maintaining nails while they’re polished–genius!

  • sammie says:

    i mysef only just discoverd the Seche Vite top coat! cant say how amazing it is! officaly in love with the stuff :) xx

  • Carrie says:

    I can vouch for the Seche Vite and Vivid creating a really tough topcoat. Just did a french mani this weekend, my first time using Color Club products and Vivid. I actually did it backwards, put Vivid over my nail color. They weren’t drying fast enough for my liking, so I topped with Seche Vite, and wow, I’m impressed with the results. Just like the salon!

  • Becca says:

    Do you experience “shrinking” of your polish after using the Seche? My polish peels off in sheets when I use it, starting where the color shrank back from the tips of my nails. Perhaps it’s the combo with Vivid that keeps the wear time so long?

  • LRW says:

    call (800) 221-8080 for a store location :)

  • Chris says:

    I also use Zoya Remove+ and I love it. I have to remember to buy a glass nail file.

  • jbrobeck says:

    Hi Karla! My favorite place to buy the Color Club Vivid Topcoat is Victoria’s Nail Supply ( I do like that topcoat!

    Just a word of caution, try to take a “break” from your base coat once in awhile. The Rebuild has protein in it, and continual use of protein can actually make your nails brittle, especially in the winter. Try switching it out for a moisturizing base coat once in awhile! I like Nail Tek Hydration Therapy.

  • applepark says:

    Great post Karla! I have the CC Vivd Topcoat and never understood its purpose until now! So thank you for that.

  • Kris Cameron says:

    I use the seche rebuild as my nails peel quite bad but I dont think it was enough protection between my nails and nail polish – my nails started to get stained and a bit damaged. Right now I’m back on nubar foundation and INM out the door or seche. I just ordered the vivid after reading this – I have the worst time with chipping. Thanks for this article!

  • cyndi says:

    thanks for the nail product recs. I tried both Rebuild and Vivid and love both. I buy Vivid from a small beauty supply near me. I’ve never seen a big retailer carry Color Club

  • Kathleen says:

    Have you tried Trind products? The nail balsam has evaporated my years long problem with peeling nails. I use the nail repair (a clear lacquer) in lieu of polish. Trind has polishes but I have not tried them since I am a no nail color girl (except on my toes). And…I am with you on the glass nail file; it is an essential.

  • Kim says:

    Just to let you know, Seche has toxic chemicals in it that can give you cancer or cause birth defects. You can tell, it smells way worse then regular polish, it is not 3 free.

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