Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Flawless Manicure

I used to be that girl…you know, the one with the ridiculously long, hideous fake nails.  I spent an absurd amount of money every 2 weeks to go to the salon and have them done.  Thankfully, times have changed and so has my sensibility.  I have now embraced the beauty of my real nails and am pleased to have a more natural look.  Through the years, I’ve learned how to care for them and have found the products that work best.  Here are my steps for creating a long-lasting manicure in the comfort of your own home:
Step 1 – Prep & Shape
Starting with clean dry nails, use an orange stick to push cuticles back gently and evenly.  File and shape so all nails are the same length. (I believe length to be a matter of preference.  Just remember if you are doing a very bright or dark color, it’s best to stick with a short, “squoval” shape to keep it chic and modern.)  Buff nails so they are smooth and free of ridges.
Step 2 – Protect
Using base coat, apply a thin layer across the top of your nail, the white part, horizontally. (This adds extra protection to the tip, which is the weakest part and most likely to break.)  Let dry for 1 minute and then apply base coat over the entire nail.
Step 3 – Color
Apply one even coat of nail polish, getting as close to the cuticle as possible without touching it.  Also make sure you do a swipe under the tip of your nail so no white is showing.  Let dry for 2 minutes and then apply a second coat of color.  Let dry for 3 minutes before applying top coat.  As a general rule, you shouldn’t try to use your nails for anything for at least 30 minutes.  Even after that they can still “dent”, so be careful.
Step 4 – Correct
Using q-tips or a nail corrector pen, clean up any areas of polish on your fingers or cuticles.  Once polish is completely dry, you can apply some oil to moisturize your cuticles.
Products I swear by:

1) OPI Nail Envy Matte – I use this as my base coat
2) Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat
3) Boots Cuticle Oil
5) Studio Basics Dual Tip Paddle/Point Q-Tips  - dip the pointed ends in remover to clean up mistakes
Other tips
  • If you are using a flat color, you may notice it looking dull after a few days.  I always add another thin layer of topcoat, usually around day 3, to gloss it up again.
  • If you use hairspray in the morning, wet fingers and use a washcloth to rub over each nail – this removes the dulling residue that hairspray leaves behind.
  • There are supplements I take, for nutritional reasons, that seem to make my nails grow stronger and longer – NatureMade Prenatal vitamins (though I’m not pregnant, the iron helps) & Triple Omega 3-6-9.


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