Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Home Manicures

While I am a total UV gel manicure convert (it lasts 2 weeks - that's right 2! - without chipping!), spending $30 every couple of weeks for a manicure gets a bit cost prohibitive.  And now that I've spent a bunch of money on my new apartment, plus the fact that I got a call from my property managers for my Florida townhouse telling me I need to buy a new dishwasher (grrrrr - stupid tennant is getting on my nerves!), money is even less likely to be growing on trees in my near future.  I've got a huge stockpile of nail polishes at home anyway, so I decided to put them to good use.  And with a few new products I've discovered, I have actually managed to maintain a presentable home-made manicure going on 3 days now!  Here's how:
1. Wipe your nails down with nail polish remover to take off any old polish and remove oils and dirt from the nails.
2. Buff your nails a bit to smooth them out.  I use one of these.  You don't need to go crazy, just a few quick swipes on each nail. 
3. Wash with soap and water to remove dust.  Dry completely (if you use a towel to dry your hands, make sure you don't pick up any lint/fuzz on your nails)
4. Apply base coat.  I think this is where I went wrong in the past when my nailpolish would chip within hours of application - I never used to use base coat.  I hunted around for a good one and found Essie Ridge Filling Base Coat and it seems to be working quite nicely.
5. Apply 2 coats of color.  Make sure you let the first coat dry before you apply the 2nd.  I went with an opalescent grey/black on all of my fingers except for my ring finger on each hand, where I applied a super duper sparkly gun metal glitter (one of those new nail trends - I plan to experiment with nail art next).
6. Apply a top coat.  I found the mac daddy of all nail top coats, called Seche Vite.  It's smells like the strongest most pungent nail polish ever (i.e. not eco-friendly), but it gives nails a thick yet quick drying shellaced finish.

I suppose you should probably push back and trim your cuticles too, but since I have the horrible habit of picking at my cuticles, this was kind of a moot point for me...

Also, I did start getting very minor chips after the first day, mainly because I think of my nails as tools.  To fix I dabbed at the exposed nails with the appropriate nail color until the chips were filled.  I let dry for a minute or so and then applied another coat of the Seche Vite.  I've been doing this before bed as the top coat dries really fast so I don't have to worry about sheet marks.  It is a super quick fix and has prolonged my manicure for an extra 2 days!

(top image from here)

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