Hey ladies! Let’s talk manicures for a moment, shall we? I don’t consider myself the absolute expert when it comes to nails (I’ll leave that to Deborah Lippmann, more on her later) but as a manicurist and a manager of a pretty fabulous nail salon, I know a thing or two about creating and keeping a badass mani. Read on!
It’s all about the polish.
Okay. If you can afford Chanel top to base, screw you and give me some money. And after you write me that check, allow me to tell you that if you aren’t independently wealthy or have a friend in the makeup biz to give you the hookup here and there (Thanks Maria, love you!), you’re not doomed to a lifetime of chipped nails. The secret is in the basecoat and topcoat! Every manicurist has his or her preference, but my nonnegotiable must haves are Seche Base and Seche Vite. My salon uses Qtica Extending Top Coat and their Half Time drying drops, and I know other people that swear by CND Air Dry and Zoya Armor and Anchor. Try some brands and see what works best with your body chemistry, and with any manicure, the best way to make it last is a fresh layer of your fave topcoat every other day or so. So go ahead and slap on that Wet n’ Wild lime green, just surround it with the good stuff!
There’s some magic in my manicurist’s hands that prevent her from ever getting streaks when she polishes.
I have been obsessing over polish since I as a little girl – my mom let me have polishes in every color under the sun before she’d even let me touch her lipstick, so my lacquer love affair started early. I’d been applying it the best way I knew how until I went to nail school a few years ago and got my mind BLOWN to bits. I’d been doing it ALL wrong. And as for your manicurist, they do this all. day. long, so of course they’re going to be better than you at it! Here’s how to do it right. Load up that brush, then wipe about half of it off in the bottle until you have a manageable amount loaded onto the it. If you need to pick up just a little bit right on the end to have a nice amount on it, go right ahead. Lay a ‘bead’ of the polish a bit above the center of the cuticle, then really fan out the brush, leaving a tiny amount of space between the cuticle and the color. Now just lightly drag that baby up the nail, leaving a not too thick and not too thin layer of polish behind. This is known as ‘floating the bead’, and it prevents those annoying streaks that tend to happen when you polish at home, because that bead of polish is between the streak-causing brush and your nail. Try it and see how not pushing the polish down helps it go on so much better!
Chips in my polish are from crappy polish/a crappy manicurist/my crappy job/etc…
While any of those things could be causing chipping on those lovely, freshly painted digits, the number one thing that can prevent this is also polishing the ‘free edge’, or the tips of your fingernails. I mean, duh, if the polish ends right at the tips of your nails where they get slammed against things all day, of COURSE the polish will tend to give way in places. But if the polish also coats the edge of the nail, it’s a lot harder for that polish to crack and break. I had never even noticed that my manicurist did this before I went to school, but watch next time you have your polish applied. I promise it will happen! And if it doesn’t happen… Go somewhere else. But don’t tell them I told you the secret!
I suck at polishing my nails.
Ladies, ladies, ladies. Now, I know that some of us are more coordinated than others, that not everyone is ambidextrous, and that it can be frustrating to mess up polishing your own nails, but take a deep breath, remember what I wrote on floating the bead earlier, and also know that you’re most likely using the wrong polish. So many friends of mine claim to ‘suck’, so they go get some shimmery, sheer pink, it ends up streaky and shitty, and they give up and call me. Which is fine, but dudettes, shimmery and/or sheer polishes are THE HARDEST TYPES OF POLISHES TO APPLY, so you think you’re taking the easy route, but nope. Streak city, even after a billion coats. Instead, choose opaque creme finishes, in any color, and after two coats your result will inevitably look ten times better! I promise. And even if you’re bad enough at polishing that that doesn’t work after a little practice, ANYONE can apply glitter polishes, so just rock out with your sparkle out! So step away from the jelly polishes, okay? That shit is HARD to apply.
Speaking of sparkly nail lacquers on sparkly blogs, people ask me all the time what my favorite polish is, and I scattered my faves throughout this post: Chanel Blue Satin, OPI Lincoln Park After Dark, and Nars Back Room, along with a billion more. But nothing brings me joy and goes with everything in the most unexpected way as much as Deborah Lippmann’s often-copied, never-matched Happy Birthday, below. It’s got both gold and silver in it so you don’t have to worry about jewelry clashing, along with every other color in the rainbow, in different sizes and shapes and dense enough that two coats gives you total coverage. When I’m wearing it, I look down and automatically smile, because it’s a party in a bottle and my absolute favorite pedi and occasional mani polish, hands down. So there you go – go out and get yourselves some DL Happy Birthday and get to polishing! Mwah!
(Oh, and let me know if these tips helped you beauties!)