Painting my nails has stretched from something I do occasionally to hobby to borderline obsession. I started watching Cutepolish videos after a fellow nailophile spotted my Star Trek tribute art, and from there on I was hooked. In this introductory edition of my own blog, I'll be showing you what I'm working with and some of the tools I can't live without.
So my main nail challenges are cuticle care, breakage, and getting clean edges on my polish. The first two I'm slooowly starting to conquer, but getting those clean, crisp edges is my white whale. You'll probably see evidence of these challenges in my posts, so be kind. Recently I had a breakage which took me down to a nub on my right index finger- no good! Here's what my nails look like now:
|My nails right now, using Rimmel London Bare Naked and Sally Hansen White On|
|Same hand, right before The Break. :( Wearing Revlon Jaded Night under NYC Precious Peacock, Revlon Copper Penny under Julep Joelle, and Sally Hansen White On|
One of the frustrations I ran into after The Break was finding advice on what to do with short nails. I never know what will look good while I'm waiting on them to grow out. On the web, I got a lot of "oh, everything looks good on short nails!" Nope. Not true. That's part of the reason I decided against waiting until I had long, pretty, perfect nails and cuticles again to start this blog. Because it's not a blog for experts, it's a blog for people like me- humble DIY folk who struggle with broken tips and jagged edges sometimes. On my "after" pic, I had shortened them down to even out my look, shaped to a soft, round curve, and created a French tip gradient. This is a look I'd wanted to try, and I don't love french tips on super short nails. The gradient is a great compromise: classic and pretty without making my hands look stubby while my nails grow back out. There's a great gradient tutorial here. The key to the French gradient look shown, FYI, is to use both a nude polish and a white on the bare nail. Blends the look together. I like Rimmel's Bare Naked because it's a little warmer toned than many nudes.
My exploding nail collection has advanced beyond polish to include to a cadre of nail tools. To keep up with me, you'll definitely need cotton balls, cotton swabs, tweezers, and toothpicks. I also have a couple of favorite items I like to have available.
I like to have pure acetone on hand, but I never use it in place of regular nail polish remover. Acetone is for cleaning brushes and touching up my edges when I'm done painting only. I like to use a shotglass for acetone, since it melts just about everything else (clue #1 as to why I don't use it in place of regular remover). When I get a wild hair and decide to do water marbling, I use a rocks glass to hold the water, so a cheapo liquor glass set could be a nice thing to pick up if you love nail art! For hand care, I prefer use the products below, plus a hand cream. My current favorite is Mary Kay Satin Hands. Some of my products are pricy, but I never pay full price for them. I buy on sale, or find a cheaper product. You do not- I repeat, do NOT- have to spend a ton of money to have pretty nails.
|Julep Luxe Skin Serem, Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream, Acetone, and a snazzy 1 oz shotglass from my high school reunion.|
|Mega Shine topcoat|
|NutraNail Instant Nail Strengthener. I just bought a new bottle, so I could show it to you in the packaging. I picked it up at Wal-Mart (who, ironically, do not carry Mega Shine in my area).|
The other tools I use are things you could probably pick up in your local dollar store. I love a file with multiple surfaces to shape and smooth my nails (two are shown below). I also like a very coarse file for when I break a nail and need to shorten all of them, so I can avoid the clippers as much as possible. My latest obsession is buffing blocks. Julep sent me a pair of small ones (one shown below) in my January Maven box (oh yes, come back soon and we'll talk about the Maven program), and now I can't live without them to smooth and prep my nails for polish. Another dollar store nail purchase you'll want to make is makeup sponges. They're super versatile for dozens of easy, pretty nail designs.
|My favorite files and buffers|
|My dotting tools and a few of my most frequently used brushes|
So if you've made it through this post, hopefully you'll be interested in the things to come. I have some new polishes on the way for swatching, designs to try, and products to review. Let's hang out and talk nails.