Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Hitting the Nail on the Head

Nails.  They make for an expressive accessory of creativity.  Keep with the theme of a look or switch it up for a fun, unexpected twist.

Nails are also one of those subtle details that contributes, more than we often think, to one's overall appearance.  Even well maintained plain nails are a sign of well-kept people who finds pride in taking care of themselves.  A few simple steps that you can do anytime can make all the difference.

Moisturize - Keep a small bottle/tube of lotion in your bag or at your desk.  Not only is it good to have with you when you realize how dry your skin or nails have become, seeing it there will remind you to be consistent  with application.  Plus, moisturized, fragrant hands always brighten the moment.
I keep a yummy lotion at my desk but carry Vaseline's Hand & Nail Conditioning Lotion in my bag.

Cuticle cream is another great idea.  I found Burt's Bees Cuticle Cream a couple years back and am so glad I went for it.  It is perfect for someone who works with her hands, which can easily dry and roughen the nail beds.  I see incredible results and recommend it to anyone considering trying this product.

Trim - This includes more than nails.  Look at your cuticles.  This is the time to clean them up and trim any hang-nails.  Grab those trimmers(look for a decent pair) and even out your nails, including any uneven or broken nails.  Trim and shape.  Whether you prefer short or long nails, remember to consider both practicality and style.  There is an appropriate medium for everyone.

I suggest trimming nails when they are wet and soft.  You can soak them beforehand if you need to.

*While square nails are popular and most common, I prefer a rounder, more oval shaped long nail.  This is what they gave me in Thailand and I was surprised how feminine and beautiful it looked.  I suppose it's the 'twist' to my often casual(even tomboyish at times), everyday style.  Square nails are also lovely, and great for those who want a trendy, yet beautiful nail.

File - This is when you refine your nail shape.  Any too-sharp corners or inconsistent edges can be reworked here.  Remember that pointed edges may be more prone to breaking or chipping.  Rounder, softer edges will stand against wear more sufficiently.  Also, if you have thick nails, take this time to round off the edges from top to bottom for easier to apply and longer lasting polish.

This is my least favorite part.  It sends shivers down my spine just thinking about it.  While it may be easier to file wet, soft nails, it may result in jagged or cracked nails when they dry.  So try to tough it out.  Eventually you will get the hang of it and the process will become quicker.

Give nails a peek and assure they are consistent and even.  When you are happy, move on to the fun part!

Color Application - Ah, the joy of it all.  This is the most obvious attribute of our lovely hands.  Whether you like to rock crazy colors, or a french manicure is more your thing, here is when you get to really express yourself.  But don't fret too much over it.  Polish isn't permanent.  Play it up, take chances, and wear what you like.

-Base coat
-Top coat

While application may take more time, your polish will be set and stay beautiful longer, without chipping or peeling(or staining your nails).  Also, don't glop it on.  Several thin layers will work out much smoother.

*I suggest OPI products.  I use it almost exclusively, as it is always quality, easy, and dependable.

*I personally prefer neutrals and deeper dark polishes.  Sometimes rocking an unexpected color with a classic, tame outfit can be just the pop you need, also.  Here are some colors I'm currently craving:

Chicago Champagne Toast     Midnight in Moscow
Lincoln Park After Dark     Roadhouse Blues

When you are comfortable, why not go for some fun details?  Pinterest is a great place to find creative ideas.

What is your favorite nail product?
What colors do you lean toward?
Do you prefer a simple, clean look or do you go all out with details?