I confess, I dislike the nail salon. A lot, actually! I’m confident I can’t be the only woman with this sentiment.
Patronizing a nail salon every two or three weeks for an hour of torture is not top of my ‘to-do’ list. I do not find the nail salon relaxing. From the moment I walk-in, I count the minutes to be done and walk-out. As a nail client, I prefer the popular ‘gel manicure’ which means I must endure the grueling polish removal process of soaking, foil-wrapping, scraping or electric filing (or a combo of all). Such processes irritate, weaken and damage my nails. The polish re-application method is no better than the polish removal process. The ultra-violet light used for polish curing gives me a burning sensation. Could it cause cancer or age spots? I worry so. It’s illogical to intentionally invest time and money in something I detest this badly ‘all in the name of beauty’. So I often ‘opt out’ and prefer the at home manicure.
DURATION is a common problem of the ‘at home’ manicure.
Below are my tips to ‘get the most time’ out of my home manicure:
- Cuticle Care – Oil and push back your cuticles. Trim carefully as needed. Avoid getting polish on your cuticles as it encourages chipping.
- Nail Shape – Aim to file the nails into a shape that matches your cuticle; it’s the best way to prevent nail breaks and subsequent polish chips. The almond nail shape is on-trend but a little tricky to do yourself. Round is easier. Square is my default but can lead to breaks.
- Buff, Don’t Shine – Buff your nails to smooth ridges but do not shine. The polish doesn’t seem to stick as well to the shined nail. Don’t ask me why!
- Use Alcohol – The last step before applying any polish is to clean each nail with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol. It removes oily residue off the nail and allows the polish to better adhere. This one step alone makes a huge difference in the duration of my polish. Just be sure to remove any cotton ball fibers that may linger on your nail before painting.
- Limit Coats – Apply two coats of polish and a quick dry. I used to apply a base coat, two or three coats of polish, then the top coat. It’s too much. Chips faster. In this case, less is more. Less means longer wear.
- Let it Dry – I prefer to paint my nails before bed and let them peacefully dry overnight; just be sure to avoid sheet creasing the nails.
- Wear Gloves – As a mom, my hands are my most used tool. To save your manicure from abuse, wear gloves whenever possible. Always wear gloves to wash dishes. Avoid over-washing or wetting your hands.
- Touch Up – You can lightly touch up your nails with paint or top coat. Glitter works wonders for this and is borderline indestructible. The only problem with glitter, it’s hard to remove.
Realistically my painted nails require a color change once per week. The bright side, I get to express myself more regularly with new colors and take risks. Truth be told, wearing the same nail salon applied color for three weeks grows out and gets boring. Maintaining your nails yourself can be fun!
When all else fails, consider this …
**Go Bare!** That’s right ladies, I said it. Ditch the pains of polish and go nail naked. You have my support. Well-manicured bare nails shaped and buffed to shine with groomed cuticles can be stunning, especially on freshly exfoliated hands and feet. The bare look is more natural, healthy, and growing in popularity. Going bare on the toe nails nicely showcases adorable heeled sandals. I’ve seen it time and time again. Don’t be fooled, men don’t care about polished fingers and toes on women. Men like clean well-kept hands and feet. Spring is the air and the open toed shoes are coming out. Don’t be afraid to try something new… go nail naked!
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