I have fairly dry skin, so I have to moisturize my hands daily. In the winter/cold months I really have to pay attention to my skin. What I love for my cuticles is Burts Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream and Hard as Hoof nail strengthening cream. The lemon butter cream is AMAZING and smells delicious. I have a pot in the living room, bedroom and bathroom. I used to carry one in my purse and have one at my office desk. That is how much I love this stuff. It really softens my cuticles and keeps them from cracking. I use Hard as Hoof less often but it does smell nice and seems to give my nails strength. Even while taking vitamins, my nails seem to break too easily if I don’t use Hard as Hoof. Drinking lots of water and eating a well balanced diet really is important to the health of your nails.
My weekly ritual is to remove my nail polish and hydrate with cuticle cream and Hard as Hoof. After about an hour or so, I file my nails and push back my cuticles. Once I have the shape that I want, I run nail polish remover over my nails to give the polish a clean surface to adhere to. I always apply a base coat before I apply color. This really gives my polish longevity. I currently use the Seche Vite base coat. Occasionally I will use Sinful Colors base coat which actually works really great. Once I am finished with whatever design or color, I apply a top coat. This is also a very important step. If you don’t apply a top coat, you can almost guarantee that the polish will chip within 24 hours. I use Seche Vite or a top coat by Beauty Secrets. You can purchase both at Sally Beauty Supply. Seche Vite is by far the best top coat and gives such beautiful shine to any color. Even if you buy cheap nail polish, Seche will make it look expensive and staying power is amazing! I have had manicures last almost a full 7 days without any chipping. When you spend a lot of time on your nails, its always heartbreaking to have it chip within just a few days.
I am not a certified nail tech, I just really love nail art! These items may not work as good for you as they do for me, they are just suggestions based on my experience.