Thursday, January 7, 2021
This post was a reader request – Hi Gaby! Plus, I thought maybe this would appeal to others, as well. In my pre-pandemic life, I loved getting shellac and dipped nails but at the same time I thought about all the time and money I put into the maintenance, you know? Also, a little factoid about me: I got really tired of the color after about a week. You, too may have given up the nail salon right now in favor of going bare of DIY.
I am not really an expert, but I have polished my nails all of my life practically. I just like the look. Plus, I am not very crafty so this is kind of my little art project. Mom and Kate, does it count? My mom is a retired art teacher and my sister is a current art teacher. I did not get the artsy crafty gene.
Find a time to do this. You will need about 45 minutes minimum to be still and not use your hands. Or, you can divide it up in 4 steps with maybe 15 minutes of time blocks, but you deserve the self-care, you know?
I recently discovered that sitting at my virtual teaching desk while waiting to tutor students works well. But, normally I do this in the evening while I am watching a deliciously shallow show like one of the Bravo Housewives franchises.
Take care of your trimming and filing a different day if you can. I do not really have cuticle issues, but you may also need to do that. If you can do it a different day, take care of that and wash your hands really well.
By the way, this also gave me the push to do one of my 30 Bags in 30 Days areas that I talked about here.
Look how out of hand my polish collection was:
I am happy to say I got it down to a more manageable size that all fits in my caddy.
As you can see above, my favorite brand is OPI, but Essie has some really cool colors in my opinion. How many times in your life have you finished a bottle of polish? I have actually used entire bottles of OPI colors so that tells me that quality saves me money in the long run. If I buy a cheapie for $4 I may only use it twice, but my OPI that costs $8=9 gets used up. Here is Alpine Snow on Amazon, which is a favorite of mine.
Let us compare the brushes, though. I hate Essie brushes. I love OPI brushes and think that helps me get a better manicure. If you have small nails you may prefer Essie. You may have to experiment. And, if you can get a cheaper brand to work for you that is great. I find that the consistency is not as smooth, the colors are not as saturated, and they just don’t give me the salon-ish quality I am after.
I got a wild hair and thought – what if I use an OPI brush from a top coat I am not using with my Essie…. it fits! This is my new plan! I did wipe the brush clean with remover before putting it in the Essie bottle. REVOLUTIONARY!!!!!!!
Many of the things I have learned from the nail professionals. If your polish is a bit gummy or old, put a drop or two of remover in the bottle. Then, shake and roll, shake and roll. Have you ever watched how many times the nail techs do this? It is very important.
Now it is time to begin. Take a paper towel and swipe all nails with a bit of remover even though you think they are clean.
Now, do your base coat and I cannot stress this enough. Do a very light coat. Light coats will be the name of the game throughout our process. Let it dry. This will dry very quickly.
And, here is our process before we get to the photos:
- Light base coat.
- Light first layer of color – does not need to be perfect edge to edge this time.
- Light second layer of color – does need to be perfect this time. Take your time.
- Light top coat.
You will need at least 10-15 minutes between each of the steps.
This is my favorite base of all time and it dries really quickly. I have already had it for 6 months and have hardly used any. It may seem pricey but remember how long it will last and remember the going rate for a mani is like $20 every week if it is just normal polish, right?
Step Two: Do a very light first coat of color. It does not have to be perfect.
After letting the first coat dry, it is time to get serious. Maybe pause The Real Housewives of Orange County? Do your second coat more meticulously and make sure you go edge to edge. By the way this is an Essie color called “Bikini so Teeny” but I am using an OPI brush.
Let fully dry.
Now, end with your top coat – remember make it a light layer. I am loving this top coat right now.
Sorry for my shadows, but it gives a nice professional looking shine like you would get from shellac, almost. You may remember me using my OPI top coat and going to bed 3 hours later and getting hair marks all over my mani? I do not have that problem anymore with this top coat.
I can get about 5 days out of this process. That is with washing a ton of dishes lately and not being careful at all.
I will say that I think keeping your nails a bit shorter helps the manicure last longer.
What do you think? Any tips for me?