At home nail necessities (revisited) and tracking down a dupe for Essie's Mint Candy Apple

Recently I've gotten myself in bit of a financial pickle by dropping a small fortune at the dentist. To halt teeth grinding I now wear an eye-poppingly expensive night guard (sans Swarovski crystals, and platinum). To help recoup my fun fund I've nixed frivolous expenses for the next few months -- salon manis/pedis are now done at home, eyebrow threading and tinting will have to wait, and the ends of my hair must keep their crap together a few weeks longer than usual. Please?

The struggle is real. 

Snaggle nail is non-negotiable, so I'm putting my French Pink mental notes to the test by dusting off the nail artillery for battle. 

If you're ever in a pinch and need to get polished nails fast, CND's Vinylux fully sets in eight minutes (curing lamp not required), evenly covers nails in two coats, and can last up to ten days. I realise I sound like a broken record here, but this nail polish is too legit to quit.

Time to serve up the best nail polish sandwich out there. While I do love Essie's protein base coat, and Seche Vite's top coat, Orly has dropped the ultimate Blimpie. Bonder leaves behind a slightly tacky base to keep polish on the nail, while Polished gives any hue a high shine, finally Flash Dry speeds up the drying process. *Ding* Order's up!

Keep things hydrated with Essie's Apricot Cuticle Oil, and Provence Sante's Hand Cream -- two decadent treats I always keep on hand in order to relive the French Pink experience. Shea Butter, calendula, sweet almond oil, and apricot send me to my happy place, and even quells the noxious scent of acetone.

Yesterday I went hunting for a cheaper dupe of Essie's Mint Candy Apple thanks in part to my pastel nail obsession of late. When most of the options on hand at Priceline just wouldn't do (too dark, shimmery, or not minty enough), my gaze locked on a lone bottle of L'Oreal's Perle de Jade.

L'Oreal's Perle de Jade

L'Oreal's Perle de Jade

Slight gripe, dipping the brush in for second, and third helpings grew awkward whenever errant bristles lagged behind.  Despite this L'Oreal still gets props for the low price point, colour selection, and contoured brush head.