Sunday, January 6, 2013

All The Things Manicure

Okay recessionistas, I've gotten a lot of "who does your nails!?" and "teach me how to do that!" Your wishes have been granted. I apologize ahead of time for the blurry-ish pictures (I am upgrading to a new iPhone for my birthday. Which is in 61 days, so you can start shopping now).

We all know that I am the least patient person when it comes to, well, basically everything. Except painting my nails. This is a weekly ritual, strictly for me (and my IG followers), so I take the time to do it. It will take anywhere from 30-60 minutes, depending how elaborate you go with your polish. If you don't have the patience, turn back now! If you do, keep reading.

A few prep steps to get started:

1) flat, clean space devoid of any pet/human hair (the most frustrating thing is HAIR in your WET NAILS)

2) feed your dog or give them a chew toy so they aren't pawing at you during this process.
yes, that is my dog chewing on a Christmas reindeer.
thanks to Courtney. this dog has never chewed a toy in her life.
she has successfully removed the antlers.

3) go to the bathroom.

You will need All The Following Things (all of which can be purchased at your neighborhood salon. support small business, especially if you aren't going to get your nails done there - every bit helps):

1: QUALITY nail polish remover. none of that crap from Walmart, because it won't touch glitter. preferably acetone.
2: cotton balls (big ones)
3: orangewood stick
4: nail polish thinner
1: fine grain nail file
2: cuticle pusher
3: buffing block
4: cuticle nippers

1: quick dry topcoat. I prefer Seche Vite but I'm out.
2: OPI base coat. THIS. IS. A. MUST.
You can pick whatever color you want.
1: Essie's Bachelorette Bash
2: OPI Lincoln Park After Dark
I prefer Essie over OPI (I find it lasts longer)

I know. Right now you're thinking, "holy shit. This is a long process and we haven't even started the Painting of Nails yet!" Bear with me. Worth it.

Remove any existing polish with your acetone and cotton balls.

We'll call this Dry Prep. Shape nails with nail file, push cuticles back (GENTLY! Don't go all cray. Your cuticles may be out of control if you don't do your nails regularly, but once you get into the habit of pushing them back, they'll recede enough that you don't have to do much), and then use the cuticle nippers to take off any excess cuticle. (Note: I did not say "CUT YOUR CUTICLES OFF" Do not do this. Ever. Ever ever ever. For one, you need them, and for two, polish and acetone hurts like a mother when it gets into cuts. So don't do it. Just snip any hangnail-ish pieces.) Final prep step is to use the buffing block on the surface of your nails (GENTLY) - it roughs the surface up just enough for the polish to stick to it.

After Dry prep

 Here's the trick to your polish lasting longer than 2 days. You Must Paint Your Free Edges. Every coat of polish, from base coat to topcoat.

"What's a free edge?"

The free edge is the end of your fingernail that hangs over your fingertip. Essentially, the one that is coming into contact with your keyboard at work, etc. Every. Coat. On. The. Free. Edge. (Also. Your fingernails are NOT TOOLS. So do not type WITH them. Use your fingers, so you don't chip your polish.)

Base coat makes the surface of your nail sticky so the polish sticks to it. If you skip this step I guarantee you are cutting the time your manicure lasts in half.

Take your polish color of choice, open the cover and see how thick the polish is. If it doesn't drip off the brush easily, it's too thick. You can add 3-4 drops of polish thinner, shake well, and it should be good to go. (You should always store your polish tightly closed and in a cool, dry place.)

Paint your free edge. This takes practice, and if your nails are shorter, it will be a little messy. There is a clean-up section at the end of this lesson. I do this one hand at a time, because I find if you do all 10 fingers at once, by the time you get back to your second hand with a full coat of polish, the free edge can get a little gloopy.

Next step is two coats of polish, painting your free edge with every coat. Once you've done two coats, you can stop here, and just add topcoat.

Or, the optional step, is to add some flair before your topcoat:

Glitter is Essie's Beyond Cozy (winter 2012 collection)
Glitter, or a French tip, or both. Doing a French tip freehand takes A LOT OF PRACTICE. The first few times, you will probably be unhappy with the results, but stick with it, because you'll find what works for you. I do one thin coat to make an outline and make sure its covering enough of the tip, and then go back with a thin second coat to make sure you can't see the color underneath.

Let your French or glitter dry for a few minutes before you put your topcoat on - the last thing you want to do is smudge all your hard work (or ruin your topcoat by getting a bunch of glitter in it. Glitter is my thing but I don't want it in my topcoat.)

If you have any polish on your skin around your fingernail, take your orangewood stick and wrap the tip with some acetone soaked cotton. You don't need much, but just enough to be saturated and wipe the polish off.

And voila! You are done! Now it's time to post to Instagram/Facebook, because that's just what we do. Tag me in your photos, because I want to see them! And let me know if you have any questions.

Some photos from the last week or so:


Miss Alexis went to a Fancy Hootenanny last weekend
so I got to bust out my updo skillz!

Pink Flamingo Martini from EEZ Sushi

Blinged out Steelers coffee mug from Courtney. That girl gets me.