American Apparel Echo Park
China Glaze White Cap
American Apparel Cocoa
American Apparel Coney Island
Color Club She’s Soooo Glam
Sinful Colors Snow Me White
Base Coat = Orly Bonder
Top Coat = Seche “Chemica Slut” Vite
Dotting Tool/Toothpick/Bobby Pin/Nail Art Brush/Whatever
You need a clean canvas to work on, so make sure that your nails are clean, free of previous polish and oils. You are a greasy, oily person. It’s life. So swipe your nails with some rubbing alcohol or acetone before you apply your base coat.
The key to having a manicure last is a good base coat/top coat combination. The polish itself is not as important as what you put on top and beneath it (and remembering to use tools instead of your nails for things.) I prefer CND Stickey but as I’m out of it at the moment, I’m using Orly Bonder, another good, sticky base coat for polish to cling to. Everyone’s body chemistry is different so it may take some trial and error for you to find the combination that’s right for you.
Apply your base. With nail art, I find it best to use a base color that is opaque or damn close in one coat, so there are less coats on your nail. It dries faster that way and there’s less chance of messing up. I really like American Apparels for one coat-opaque-cremes but several of the Wet N Wild Wild Shine polishes are good as well and only cost a dollar at your local Walgreens/Rite-Aid/CVS and don’t have that “eau de 70’s porn” vibe.
My base is American Apparel Echo Park topped with China Glaze White Cap.
Quick dry top coat that bitch.
I use Seche “Chemical Slut” Vite for my quick drying needs. It is not Big 3 Free, so if you’re concerned about that, I’d recommend you try Sally Hansen Insta-Dry No Chip Top Coat in the red bottle. But Seche Vite is the best top coat in my opinion in terms of drying quickly and shiny. The only issues I have are that sometimes it will give “shrinkage” (feel free to laugh) to your manicure and that about halfway through the bottle it will get thick and difficult to work with.
The important thing to remember about nail polish is this stuff basically lasts forever. Probably longer than you. Bacteria can’t get in it. It won’t expire. When it gets too thick and goopy, or dries out, there’s a solution. If someone has ever told you to put acetone/nail polish remover into old polish to fix it, don’t trust them. They were an underminery bitch trying to get you to ruin your awesome old bottle of polish. Doing that will destroy your polish.
What you need is “thinner” and you can buy it at any beauty supply shop. I use “Beauty Secrets Thinner” from Sally Beauty Supply but Seche makes a version as well.
Wait for your base to dry. Contemplate the meaning of life.
Draw your branches! You can just place squiggles wherever your heart tells you they should go. I used American Apparel Cocoa. Put a bit of polish on an index card like a palette and use your nail art brush/dotting tool/toothpick/bobby pin to draw the branches LIGHTLY on your nail. I used an actual paint brush (Winsor and Newton University Series 233 Size 00, glad you asked) but with a reasonably deft hand, you can pretty much use any of the tools I just mentioned.
Wait for this to dry a bit–really only about five minutes.
Use the dotting tool/bobby pin/tooth pick and start doing dots of your pink, again using the “bit of polish on an index card” method. What I did was make slightly larger light pink dots (AA Coney Island) and white dots (Sinful Colors Snow Me White) and then used the smaller end of the dotting tool to add darker pink (Color Club She’s Soooo Glam) and the Coney Island into the center of the larger dots.
Wait a bit for this to dry before applying your final coat of top coat because otherwise that shit will smear and all of your hard work will have been for naught. Just because I felt like being ostentatious, I put a coat of a clear glitter on top before applying my top coat. I used Wet N Wild Hallucinate.
Be so sexy.
If you try this, please post the pictures in the comments. And if you have any questions/requests, post them here and I’ll try to work them into the next post. Thanks!
Keeping your cuticles “picture perfect” is an easy way to make your home manicure look professional, Even if you don’t polish your nails, keeping your hands looking well-groomed is a really easy way to look put-together without taking that much effort. Alternatively, if you’re like me, and you like to post pictures of your manicure on the internet, you may have noticed that the macro setting on your camera makes your cuticles look like an emery board.
Moisturize! Dry cuticles peel but moisturize, and they will look fantastic within a few days. The trick is to moisturize them with something whenever you’re thinking about picking at them. I carry Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Balm. Because I’m a reformed nail biter, whenever I get the tense urge to bite my nails, I moisturize my cuticles instead. (Think: smoker who tries to replace with gum-chewing.)
Wear gloves when you wash your dishes (and other things)! Water will destroy your hands. Don’t listen to that dish soap commercial where the sponge thinks that the soap makes the lady’s hand sexy. It doesn’t. It just dries it up and makes you smell like dish soap. Do your dishes—that’s important. But just, invest in some plastic gloves. I also recommend dishes for gardening.Humans use tools! Please don’t use your nails to open things or rip off packaging. You will break your nail. And if you’re really unlucky, you will break it so it exposes skin and that will sting like fire the next time you try to make lemonade from scratch.
Speaking of tools, the best nail file advice I ever got was to use a glass file. It’s less damaging than a metal file and less wasteful than an emery board. File in one direction (this is a lot harder than it sounds) instead of sawing back and forth. It’s better to file than cut but if you want to get rid of a lot of length all at once, it’s helpful to soak your hands first so the nail is a bit softer to cut. The other trick to filing your nails is to file your nails with nail polish on. It makes it easier to see if you’re shaping it the way that you envisioned in your head.
If you have any questions or nail polish requests, feel free to post them in the comments and I will use some of those (as many as possible, I’d love to answer all of your questions) as material for future posts. I also like trying nail art and will work on making some easy to follow tutorials for you. So consider this (first) post, “Total Request Tunamelt.”