Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Nails part 2: The Perfect Manicure

Happy Wednesday!

Today we're talking about more nail polish! So again guys, you can back out now.

I'm always comparing notes with people about how to get a manicure to last. I stopped getting pro manicures a long time ago, mostly because they're expensive and I was always disappointed if I chipped my nails soon afterward. Over the years and through a compilation of different tips and tricks, I've come up with some techniques of my own to get my polish to stick. Here's my method:

Before you start, make sure to turn off any nearby fans. Air blowing on your nails can cause bubbling. You also never want to blow on your nails (with a fan or your mouth).
1. Start by trimming your nails to the desired length. I always cut mine short because they tend to peel and catch on things otherwise. It also makes it easier to type and text:] I've read that dark colors look better on shorter nails, so that's what I go with.

2. File your nails into whatever shape suits you. The most universally flattering is said to be the 'squoval' or the square oval. You're supposed to only file your nails in one direction (instead of back and forth) but I won't lie and say that I take the time to do that.

3. Rub a liberal amount of cuticle remover into your cuticles (I use Sally Hansen Problem Cuticle Remover). Wait a minute or two, then gently push your cuticles back with an orange wood stick. You should never cut your cuticles--only push them back. I've gotten into a bad habit of cutting mine, but I'm trying to stop!

4. Brush some almond oil onto each nail (mine is Beauty Secret from Sally's. It's less than $2). Rub it in a little, then gently buff each nail. First buff the middle part of the nail, then pull the skin over on the right side of your nail and repeat with the left side, as shown below.

5. At this point, it's time to moisturize. Rub the lotion of your choosing into your nails and cuticles very well.  

6. Before painting, remove any moisture from your nails using a cotton ball dipped in white vinegar or rubbing alcohol. This is very important! If there's moisture on your nails, the polish won't bond to them properly and you may experience (the dreaded) bubbling.

7. Apply a thin and even coat of your base coat. I use ridge filler (also Beauty Secret from Sally's for less than $2) because I've discovered that the smoother the nail surface, the better the polish will stick. You should always use base coat. It helps protect your nails so that they don't yellow, and it makes your polish stay on longer. In my opinion, if you don't use base coat you should expect your polish to chip in less than a day.

8. Now apply one thin and even coat of the color you chose, using the technique below (I used Glitzerland by OPI). It's really important that you wait for the first coat of polish to dry for at least a few minutes before adding a second. This helps prevent smearing and generally allows the polish to harden better. After 5ish minutes, add a second coat.
 -In between coats, wrap the polish for better coverage, as shown below (go here for more info on this technique). This is optional, but helps your manicure last.
9. Wait for the second coat to dry for at least 3 minutes before adding a top coat. I'm using Seche Vite as a top coat, but I've had good luck with OPI top coats as well. The top coat is just as important as the base coat. It gives your nails a shiny protective coating, and it seals in the color.

10. Wait 1 more minutes before applying the quick dry (I use L'Oreal Pro Manicure Quick Dry). I always add quick dry just to make sure that my nails are completely dry, but you can skip this step if you want.

11. I know it's tough to resist picking at your polish at this point. You'll probably have some excess around the edges, but LEAVE IT. Trust me. Wait at least an hour or two and wash your hands well. Use a nail scrubby if you have one, if not just rub around each nail well with soap to loosen the polish. 

12.Then moisturize again. Rub the lotion in around your cuticles and tips, concentrating on areas with excess polish. 

13. Next, use your orange wood stick to gently go around each nail and peel off the excess polish. The water and moisturizer will have loosen it substantially, making it way easier to remove. I've found that if I don't wait, I end up messing up my nails by accidentally picking off polish that I don't intend to.

And BAM! You're done and your nails look awesome. I know this sounds like a lot of steps, but once you get into the routine, the whole process takes less than 45 minutes (minus the removal of excess polish part. That usually just happens over the course of the next few hours). 

Later this week I'll be updating about my first day of work, so check back for that:]


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