DIY French Manicure

A little Friday fingernail inspiration: China Glaze in Dress Me Up with FingerPaints in Circus Peanuts.

Not that I’m the most talented person in the world at DIY French manicures - I used to do them all the time and was pretty good at them, but this one, as you can see, was a rush job completed during a much-shorter-than-I-expected-it-to-be nap - but there are a few little tricks that make them way easier:

1. Start with very little polish on the brush - you don’t want any rolling down and glopping onto your nail.

2. Begin the line at the halfway point and go to one edge of the nail, then return to the halfway point and draw the other side of the line.

3. Don’t worry about getting polish on the tips of your fingers - you probably will, especially if your nails are as short as mine. Just let it happen, and then run a Q-tip dipped in polish remover over any wayward spots after you’re done.

Test-Run: DIY Gel Manicure Kit

(SensatioNail Gel Polish / 1 week after application.)

The reason why I don’t ever, ever get salon manicures: I don’t know whether I don’t wait long enough for my nails to dry before returning to normal activities, or whether I just have color-repelling fingers, or what, but I am completely incapable of making newly polished nails maintain their pristine state longer than two or three hours. And insta-chips are maddening when you’ve just sat in a salon for forty-five minutes and shelled out something in the range of fifteen dollars.

Maddening.

So I do my own manicures.

But seeing as these days I have to schedule them during baby-naps that are long enough for polishing and drying (and nap length is unpredictable to say the least, which means you may end up stuck with wet nails and a desperate-to-be-picked-up baby, which is terribly not fun), said manicures have been few and far between lately. I’ve been toying with the idea of trying an in-salon gel manicure (recommended by my mom and everyone else on the planet) if only so that I can get it done and forget about my hands for a couple of weeks. But still: babies and nail salons don’t really mix.

The SensatioNail Starter Kit (approx. $50, available at WalMart) lets you do a gel manicure at home: it comes with an LED light box, all the gel-type potions, and that red color pictured above, enough for about 12 applications. It was sort of a pain to apply - it took about 25 minutes, start to finish, and all the different steps required more concentration than I’m used to allocating to my nails - but it was dry immediately after the final LED dosing, and has thus far survived an entire week of busier-than-usual activity (including wrapping presents, tons of cooking, picking tape off of gift boxes…stuff like that) with not a single chip. Which is thrilling.

The pros are obvious, but here are some cons:

1) Not everyone is going to like that red shade that comes with the starter kit (I kind of wish that the kit came with a pale pink shade, but I get that red is the best way to drive home the no-chip point). 12 different colors are sold separately, though, so you can pick up another shade at extra cost if the red isn’t for you.

2) I’m sort of dreading getting this stuff off. You have to soak your nails in acetone for fifteen minutes…so if you want to reapply the color again at that point, you’re talking about a time commitment of at least forty minutes.

3) If you don’t have a steady hand, you’re going to end up with a disastrous polish job that lasts (and lasts…and lasts). So unless you go for a very pale shade, this process is for the dextrous only.

Overall, though, I’m a fan. Recommended.

Product sample provided for review.

Weekend Snapshots & Sparkle Fingers

This weekend was about:

…rose-colored glasses…

…lots and lots of us (three) time…

…floral pastels (H&M silk bed jacket) mixed in with autumn rust (Raven Denim cords)…

…and sparkle fingers all over the place.

But isn’t that nail polish sort of amazing? I usually don’t like polishes with big hunks of glittery stuff in them because a) I’m not 16, and b) they tend to go on unevenly and look sloppy…but Deborah Lippmann Candy Shop is the best possible incarnation of glitter polish. The lacquer itself is a gorgeous soft pink, and two coats deposit the glitter in a beautifully haphazard way (more “beautifully haphazard” than “uneven and sloppy”, I think, to the fact that glitter is in assorted sizes, colors, and shapes).

You know who else loved the polish? My FedEx delivery dude. When I signed off on a package yesterday he stopped me to tell me what beautiful nails I had. Really.

One note: the stuff chips quickly. It’s three days since application, and granted, I’m a disaster when it comes to taking care of my nails, but still: they’re very chipped already. Fortunately, the soft pink/glitter combo means that you can’t really tell.

For holiday gift-giving, I love the 'Get This Party Started' gift set ($42) pictured above, which includes Candy Shop, as well as Happy Birthday (straight-up glitter) and Forget You (glitter with a black base - ooh).

DIY Perfect Mauve Nailpolish

When it comes to polish, know what I’m sort of over?

Baby-pink and purple-black. Every winter, this is my fallback pairing (hands/toes)…and it’s pretty and all, but it’s also sort of boring. But the fact that I’ve been wearing these shades for years now means that I have an enormous collection of said baby-pinks and purple-blacks sitting in my bedside table drawer, all ready to be offered up to the DIY gods, so: good news, that.

Yesterday I spotted a gorgeous dusty-rose Essie shade on Hay Girl Hay, and got all inspired to try whipping up a bottle of my very own mauve. Mauve can be tricky, though: the right shade can be one of those perfect-on-every-skin-tone colors, but the wrong shade can look a bit…well, corpse-ish.

Fortunately, that “right shade” is now sitting right there on my dresser, ready to be pulled into constant rotation all the way through to spring. And since the chances are good that you’re already in possession of some variation on the two polishes pictured above (Sephora by OPI …Dear Diary and OPI Lincoln Park After Dark), if you’d like to try mixing up a bottle of this stuff you’re 99% there already.

To make the perfect mauve:

- Gradually mix about 6-10 drops of the darker shade into the lighter shade. Move slowly - you can always add more dark polish, but once you’ve gone too dark it’s a pain to reverse the direction, and will require the sacrificing of another bottle of pink polish to even things out. How much of the dark shade you’ll need to add to achieve the look here depends on how much of the lighter shade was remaining in the bottle; my bottle was close to empty, so I needed to add very little.

- Add 2 or 3 drops of clear lacquer (this improves the texture).

- Roll the bottle between your hands to mix (mix well; you don’t want any streaks).

And presto: the finished product, in natural light. Let’s call it “Grandma’s Tablecloth.”

(It matches my fake lilacs perfectly.)

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blue boy, please.
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