Tonight, my family and I decided to go out to a nice dinner. Mr. Sassy selected a nice restaurant which wasn’t too fancy but still very classy. I chose to wear nice capri jeans, a patterned “cut out” shoulder top, and strappy sexy sandals. I added a nice smoky eye look with some bright wine-colored lips and I was working it in a good way. Err, well almost. I realized my latest manicure was chipped and splotched, and I had no time for a touch up. When faced with this situation, a fashionista knows it is better to go with NO polish then a sloppy manicure. So I took off all my neon pink polish and thought I was good to go….
…till I got outside in natural sunlight.
My nails were yellow–almost orange!–from dark polish stains. In addition, they had ridges & rough edges and my cuticles felt like bunions. Ewww….. not good. Thank goodness the restaurant was dimly lit so you couldn’t really tell my “clean” nails were stained and uneven. But I knew they were. And I couldn’t wait to get home and get them cleaned up.
Having a perfect home manicure needs to start BEFORE the colored polish even comes out. And I have learned this from experience. So what do I do to prep my nails before the mani begins? Here are some tips you can follow to keep your nails looking just as good bare as they would with color:
- Have yellow staining from dark polishes? Base coats can help but not completely. If you have some yellowing, brush on a light coat of Clorox Bleach. The Bleach Pen works awesome! Leave a light coat on for about 5 minutes. Then give your nails a good brushing with some whitening toothpaste and an old toothbrush. Bleaching your nails often can make them soft and irritate your cuticles if you do it often so try to only do it every few weeks. Brushing them with the toothpaste, however, will help keep them clean and also stimulate growth.
- File and buff! When your nails are at their cleanest, that is the best time to shape them and shine them up. File them so the tips are even, cutting down any super long ones and smoothing out any jagged edges that can get caught and tear. Use a buffer to even the tops out getting rid of any uneven ridges or rough spots (this includes any rough spots on the skin around the nails too.) Finally, use a polisher to give your nails a nice, healthy shine. Want a great tool that does all three? Sephora’s 3-Step Ergo Buffer is the perfect tool to get the job done!
- Use a moisturizer made especially for hands and nails. I’m absolutely loving Sally Hansen’s Nails and Cuticle Hand Cream. It is infused with shea butter to help keep the delicate skin around your nails soft and your cuticles pliable. If your hands are super, super dry, coat them with the Hand Cream then soak them in warm olive oil for 10-15 minutes. Once a week, exfoliate them by adding a teaspoon of white sugar to the olive oil and rub it in on the backs and palms of your hands, and in between the fingers. Then rinse with warm water. This will help removed the dead skin cells that keep your hands from looking young.
- Keeping your manicure fresh longer will allow you to change and/or remove polish less. That, in turn, will keep you from having to paint your nails more often which can cause staining. Wear gloves when doing dishes and housework, moisturize every morning and night, and protect them if you plan on working outside or with harsh chemicals. If you can keep your mani looking fab for a week? That will keep your nails from staining as much and also keep them strong!
Now I’m relaxing watching TV and taking care of my nails before I put on my next coat of polish. I have removed the yellowing from old colors, brushed under and over the nails to remove any dirt and chemicals, and softened the cuticles and ridges by deep moisturizing my hands–coating them with hand cream and putting them into warm socks for several minutes. Now, I don’t have to be ashamed to go without polish. If my fingers want to take a vaca from polish for a while (which is a good thing now and then), I can make sure they look their best when they are “naked”!!