I had been wearing just a base coat today, so I started by removing that. I purchased Bubble White, seen above, at Sally Beauty. It's a couple dollars a packet and if you're frugal you can try to use less and then seal it to get more than one use. For today, though, I used half a packet per hand.
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The directions say to use warm, not hot, water and to place your hands in immediately for 5 minutes which I did. The powder bubbles once it hits water and then kind of fizzles a bit but it eventually stops shortly after. I've used it a couple of times and I can't complain about it. It does whiten, although not drastically.
I use a manicure bowl I got from Image Beauty for around a 1.50$ but you can use any container. Just make sure not to use more than 1/3 of a cup of water, as the directions state.
I certainly apologize for showing you my pre-whitened naked nails but we'll credit to science! My nails were a bit stained and ragged from swatching. I also have not done my whitening regimen in quite a while, so they needed it. Even though I use acetone and that cleans the surface, sometimes through the process of doing your nails underneath your nails get stained too (under the free edge). That's mostly the staining you see here. Usually removal can be messy and since it re-liquifies the polish, it tends to run and get everywhere.
This photo was taken after drying my hands from the Bubble White soak. There is still some staining, specifically underneath my nails so I do a couple things to help clean that up as well as the surface of my nails.
I get underneath a bit brighter I use a duller cuticle implement and Sally Hansen Cuticle Gel. I squeeze a little bit under each nail and gently "scrape" underneath, following the natural contour of my nails. I've heard that you shouldn't do this. I'm not aggressively scraping and poking and prodding, I'm just sort of grazing it. I think as long as you're gentle and take time not to stab yourself that not a lot of damage will be done. For me personally, using a scrubby brush and soap at the bathroom sink isn't always enough to clean underneath my nails to the degree I'd prefer. So I do this.
When I referred to a "duller" implement, I mean the one on the left. It has dull edges, not a sharp, crisp edge like the one on the right. I think an orange wood stick would be a good option as well since it's not sharp and possibly abrasive like the one on the right, which I believe is a Revlon brand tool. I just want to reiterate that I'm not pushing hard, digging underneath or being rough. It's a process that needs to be done gently so you don't hurt yourself or damage your nails aesthetically.
The last step I do to whiten my nails is to use a fine, like.. ultra fine, grit buffer on the surface of my nails. I tried looking to see where I got my current buffer but I'm not sure where. Either at Harmon or Sally but it's very fine, and when you touch it, it almost feels like it wouldn't do anything. It's super smooth. If you're going to buff regularly you need to make sure you don't take too much off. I passed over each nail about 3 times and that is it. And I pressed lightly.
The photo directly above is after all three steps (Bubble White, cleaning under the free edge & buffing) were complete. You can see a definite improvement from Before and After and the whole process only takes about 10 minutes. I hope this post was helpful if not at least informative!