Sunday, September 14, 2014

I Broke a Nail! 3 Looks for Short Nails

To the outside world, "I broke a nail" ranges from a casual statement of minor annoyance to the laughable cry of a spoiled prima donna. To those of us who love nail art or get our midday pick-me-up from a glance at perfectly polished nails in the season's "it" color, it can feel like an absolute tragedy. When last we spoke, my nails were just about exactly at my target length-long enough for complicated nail art but not too long to get in the way. Then, I had a break. Not as bad as the one I had immediately before starting this blog, but definitely a huge setback, and way too short to continue on with that length on my other nails. They all had to go.

And still to this day I have the same problem I had then: all articles and images for what to do with nubs either says everything looks good on them (not true!) and/or are classifying "short" as several millimeters longer than what I've got. When my nails are chopped off, I don't quite feel like myself. So, in response, here's the blog post I wanted to read and couldn't find every time I've had a break: a recovery plan for when your nails must be chopped.

Step 1: Long nails sometimes get a bit unruly as far as lengths and shapes, so cutting them down is a good opportunity to get them back to a uniform appearance. Since my break left me with a little length, I cut them all to about three millimeters from the fingertip, then filed them down with a glass file to a uniform shape modeled off of actual-short-nailed nail art genius The Nailasaurus. I'd say mine are a touch rounder at the edges than hers, which mirrors my typical squoval leanings. I did leave my thumbnails a bit longer than the others as well, mostly because they look stumpier and tend to grow a little more slowly for me than my other nails.

Step 2 is to baby your nails and cuticles. I've been using Sally Hansen VitaSurge Gel (jury's still out on whether it will help), ridge filling base coat, and tons of cuticle cream and skin serum. Since I'm never really happy with my nails when they're super short, I tend to change polish more often, which is hard on them. The healthier they are, the faster they grow and the better they look getting there, so if you can curb that urge, avoid frequent polish changes.

Step 3 is the hard part. When you're used to doing nail art on longer nails, everything you do on short nails as far as nail art looks wrong. I've discovered, through extensive trial and error, a few simple designs that help ease the transition back to long nails. I used Glisten and Glow HK Girl topcoat with Julep Oxygen Basecoat on all three designs.

Strategy 1: Vertical Stripes
Just like that shirt everyone has that's so ugly, but it makes you look super thin, vertical stripes thin out and lengthen nub nails. Here I used striping tape and straight vinyl decals (a technique I'm still getting the hang of) to block out my lines, then filled with earthy fall colors using a striping brush. As the base color I used OPI for Sephora Frankly I Don't Give A-Dam, a concrete grey, and added stripes of Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure Peach of Cake (bright peachy orange), Insta Dri Jade Jump (pale jade green), and NYC Color Royal Chic (deep brown).




Strategy 2: Gradient French Tips
Last time I had a major break, I used nude and white for a traditional french tip look. This time, I went with something a little more dramatic, inspired by Lorde's dreadful frostbitten nail art. While it's not my speed for an everyday look, the black and nude gradient overall look was visually interesting. I carefully layered Pahlish Raggedy Man Goodnight over my basecoat with a ripped off piece of makeup sponge to keep it as cloudlike as possible, going over the very tips with the polish brush, then sponged a thin layer of the very sheer Glitter Gal Turbulence to holo-fy the bare part of the nail without edging out the french tip effect.



Strategy 3: Glitter Fixes Everything!
Finally, when all else fails, "throw some glitter at it" seems to be an effective solution to almost any nail art conundrum. A glittery chevron tip adds bling and visually drives the tip of the nail forward, creating the illusion of longer nails. Glitter also doesn't have to have a perfect line to look neat. Here I used Julep Cameron over Sally Hansen Nail Growth Miracle in Lovely Lavender. Cameron is a Julep Stardust polish, which is a fabulous opaque matte glitter finish. For some contrast you could topcoat just the base color instead of topcoating both like I did here. I used vinyl decals as a buffer to create clean lines for my pointed tips and full nail chevron accents. .



So that's how I've been coping with the loss of my length. I'm still having some issues getting them back into blogging shape (hence the paucity of posts lately), but with a little love, they're recovering. What tricks do you use to mask a break-or do you embrace your shorties?