if i had a penny for every time someone asked me where i get my nails done, i’d be chilling in the bahamas right now. the funny thing is that i have gotten probably less than five manicures in my life! i paint my nails about once a week, typically while i work on my blog or work on editing but have gotten so good at it that a salon manicure has lost its appeal. also, i hate how gel manicures make my nails feel after!
i do have a little system, along with very few products, that will help you get a salon-worthy manicure for a fraction of the price! i know painting nails might seem trivial and superficial, but it’s such a simple, cheap thing to do to make yourself feel a little bit put together and have fun with something you can easily change. if painting my nails is the worst thing i do, i figure i am doing just fine. here are my quick tips for a mani that will wow;)
1 | wash your hands and remove any remaining nail polish with nail polish remover and a cotton round. pro tip: buy cotton rounds. using toilet paper will make you lose your mind and make a mess. plus, you can buy a pack for a little over a dollar at target that will last you months.
also please don’t judge my yellow-y nails. i never don’t have polish on so truly does it matter?;)
2 | file your nails!* have you ever noticed that when you get a manicure, they never clip your fingernails? instead, they file it down to the perfect shape which is also what makes a good manicure look so polished. life hack: buy a file and do it yo self. this is the one i use and love – plus it’s super cheap at ulta.
*please clip your toe nails. filing them will be way more difficult and unnecessary.
3 | pick a great color and brand. my go to nail polish brands are essie and opi. my one complaint with essie is that the brush is a bit skinny and thin for my taste. i tried a blush sally hansen shade that i have on in my final manicure of this post and fell in love with their brush!
it’s full and goes on so much more evenly/quickly. so if someone knows a brush engineer at essie, that’s my one complaint.;) essie has great vibrant colors, like fun coral and red shades, but i usually tend towards opi for my blush, nude and dark polishes. the more you know.
i made this fun little color wheel for all of you for my summer and fall favs. i try to snap chat (@ania.sullivan) my nail color as often as i can but i thought it might be helpful for you all to have it in a post that you can refer to when you’re looking to pick out a new shade. here’s the unedited photo so you can really see the true color and all of the names are listed below the photo!
starting with the one i am holding and heading clockwise:
sally hansen: pink pong
opi: nein! nein! nein! ok fine! (i think – this one actually got lost in the move:(
opi: lincoln park at midnight
opi: casino royale
essie: no chips ahead
opi: mimosas for mr. and mrs.
opi: chocolate moose
opi: barefoot in barcelona
4 | paint more than one layer + be patient. i typically paint three layers and wait until they are completely dry in-between each. i recommend working on your computer, watching a movie, going for a walk/drive or reading while doing your nails. not before: cooking, fixing your hair, taking a shower – you know the drill. also, it tends to work better in cooler climates so turn on your fan or open a window because humidity will make them gel-y and easily ruined post-manicure. double also, don’t do your nails before bed. you’ll probably wake up with little creases from the sheets so pro tip is to do it after you shower but way before bed.
5 | use a good top coat. the most important step of an at home manicure is the top coat. this will make sure your nails don’t chip and look great until they’ve grown out. my two favorites are both by essie. one is called the ‘super duper top coat’ and there other is ‘no chips ahead top coat’ but i think super duper takes the cake.
follow these steps and your nails will look like….
…this! it took me a while to get this good and fast so remember that practice makes perfect!
a few more things i have learned: base coats are a waste of money; fast dry typically means less protection and shine; and try new shades! i never pinned myself as a black nail polish gal, but i love it now. also, check out this article by cosmopolitan – it will help you find the shades that look best on you. for instance, i don’t look great in hot pink/fuchsia colors but they look way different + better on my sister.
just a small, cheap pleasure to help ya through that money-tight, budget-heavy season you might be in. 😉
vibed while writing to i know somebody by locash