Tag Archives | Manicure

Almost Natural Nail Polish Remover vs Acetone

Acetone vs Natural Nail Polish RemoverIf you follow me on Instagram or if you have read my blog for a while you probably know that I am a manicure, pedicure, and nail polish enthusiast. Decorating one’s nails with unusual colors, glitter, designs, sequins and stones has been trendy for a while, and although it seems like the designers have lost interest in the more fun aspects of nail individualism the trend hasn’t abated. Certainly this woman isn’t ready to go back to unpolished nails anytime soon! There is a problem with my new love of colorful nails however, and the problem is keeping my nails simultaneously polished, strong, and healthy.

I’ve found some great nail products to help strengthen my claws, long-wearing polishes for natural nails, and a few great ways to keep my professional pedicures looking fresh, but recently I’ve discovered a new secret weapon in my nail polish arsenal: Almost Natural Nail Polish Remover. Continue Reading →

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Blogs in Style: The Manicure Edition

Our hands do so much. They type, write, and draw. They lift boxes, wash dishes, and dig in the garden. They apply makeup and style our hair. They hold, caress and comfort our loved ones. Hands are as expressive as they are hard-working. Shouldn’t they get some love? I think so. Continue Reading →

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Tips for a Long Lasting Manicure

Me and My Problematic Nails

I have weak, soft nails. They split and peel and as a general rule won’t grow much past the tips of my fingers, but what’s really irritating is that nail polish just won’t stay on them. It often chips a day after application. For years I just thought this was normal and that everyone had the same problem. Then I met women whose manicures lasted a week or more (not the popular gel manicure, by the way, just a regular nail-polish manicure). Why? They have thick, strong nails.

I seems logical that if some women have found nail polish that lasts longer than two days then I should be able to do the same, even with my soft, bendy, nails. So over the last year I have looked around, tried new products, read online reviews and asked for opinions on nail polish at nail salons and beauty boutique. After a great deal of this very non-scientific research here are my results, and my tips for a long-lasting manicure and beautiful nails.

Disclaimer: There are affiliate links imbedded in this site. If you purchase a product from one of these links I will receive a small commission, however, I do use all these products and purchased each of them with my own money. Continue Reading →

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Silk Wrap Nails – What are they?

Since starting a personal style blog I’ve become a bit obsessed with manicures and pedicures.  It’s the little details that often make a photo really shine and I’ve noticed that my favorite fashion bloggers always seem to have lovely, polished, nails complimenting their chic ensembles.

Although I greatly enjoy having a professional manicure and pedicure at a salon I don’t like painting my own nails. My home manicures often look so awful it makes me want to cry. In addition my nails are soft and tear easily so you can see why most of the time they’re cut very short and left unpolished. This will not do for the blog however so I’ve tried different ways to improve my nails in the hopes that they won’t tear and the polish will stay chip-free longer.

I’d heard about silk wrap nails for years, but I never knew what they were. Last month the nail on my left thumb tore very deeply in the nail bed. I tried gluing it but it didn’t last very long.  My manicurist recommended a silk wrap for that nail, so I tried it and was very happy with the results. The next time I visited the salon I decided to try the silk wrap on all my nails.  It was a long, but interesting, process which I recorded with photos.

My nails before the silk wrap

Here is a photo of my nails before the manicure.  As you can see the nails on my thumb and middle finger are shorter than the other nails.

  Sanding, or filing, the nails

The nails must be sanded down a bit so that the silk adheres to the nail.  The woman at the front desk referred to this as “drilling” which sort of freaked me out.  They use a rotary drill to sand the nails, no doubt this is where the term “drilling” originated.  My manicurist says the drill works best as it’s easier to get around the curves of the nail bed.

Here are how my nails looked after being sanded.  Normally you can see faint ridges on my nails, but now they’re smooth and powdery looking.

Applying the nail tips

One of the nice thing about having your nails wrapped with fabric is that the manicurist can add small tips.  If your nails are very short they can be lengthened a bit. If a few are shorter than others they can be evened out. My manicurist added tips to three of my nails.

Here are the tips in a box.

The manicurist glues the nail tips to my nails.

The nails are then trimmed the correct length.

And now the nail tips are sanded down to remove the bump in the middle of the nail.

Finally they’re ready to put on the silk!

Applying the silk wrap

First the manicurist painted my nails with a special primer. He then applied the silk wrap to the nails. At my salon the “silk” (I don’t know if its real silk or some sort of polyester) comes pre-cut like this.

The manicurist trims the silk to fit to the shape of my nails.

Then two layers of fabric are applied to the nails.

A special glue is applied to the wrap.

They’re almost ready!

Next the extra wrap is trimmed.

Once they’re all the right length the nails are sanded again.

And they’re buffed some more…

Yea!  They’re ready.

Well, almost.  We still need to finish the manicure.

I had no idea just how long it would take to have the silk wrap applied.  It took at least an hour, probably longer.

The Results

My wrapped nails were very hard and strong. The little tips brought the nails out to just about the perfect place.  My hands looked very elegant for a few days.

After a week the polish started to chip.  The fake nail tips on my right index finger came unglued. The ones on my thumbs really drove me nuts.  I couldn’t type!  Well, I could but it wasn’t as easy as usual.  After the first week I trimmed down the fake nails.

The wrap is a pale yellow color. In its natural state on the nails it looks a bit like your nail has a big callous on it. This means I couldn’t just leave the nails un-painted.  I did my best, but my usual sheer pale in-between-manicures color didn’t cover the color of the wrap very well.

The silk wrap nails, four weeks later…

I was supposed to go back to have the silk wrap “refilled” in two weeks but I was too busy to return to the salon. Finally, four weeks after the silk had been applied I had time to deal with my nails, which were a mess.  The wrap was starting to chip off some fingers and my nails had grown out a great deal, leaving me with a big bump in the middle of each nail. Not pretty!

After some back and forth I decided to just have the wrap removed and continue with regular manicure.  At first the manicurist tried to push and clip the old wrap off, but it was uncomfortable, so my nails were soaked in a solution for a few minutes.  This turned the wrap into a goo and it was easy to remove after that.

The nails under the wrap were in good condition though.  None of them had broken or torn since the wrap was applied.  Right now even though I have a regular manicure all the nails are a nice length.

My recommendations

Silk wrap is a great option if you have a special occasion and you want your nails to be the same length. The manicurist can add a few tips to your shorter nails.  The polish will last about a week.

If you have a tear deep in your nail bed a silk wrap will keep it from continuing to tear.  It works better than glue alone.

I wouldn’t invest in a silk wrap procedure just to make my nails stronger. The results are too temporary, lasting only a few weeks.

In the future if I want polish that lasts for two weeks I’ll have a gel manicure instead.  The gel also worked to make my nails stronger for a little while, but the polish doesn’t chip.  Indeed the manicurist said silk wrap was very popular before the advent of gel polish but now he rarely does them.

Update September 2013: I’ve gotten a bit of flak in the comments about this post, so I just want to say that this was my experience with silk wrap nails and I went to a reputable, licensed salon to have my nails done. However, I am not an expert in nail technology nor am I manicurist myself. The issue seems mostly to stem from the electric rotary file that was used on my nails for the silk wrap. Some people say this isn’t necessary. I’ll let you decide for yourselves. 

Have you ever had a silk wrap on your nails?  What did you think of it?

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My Favorite Long Lasting Nail Polish

Like many women I’m a makeup and beauty product junkie. Having tried hundreds of different products during my lifetime I have a pretty good idea of what works well and what doesn’t.  I really like most categories of makeup, but I have whole collections of lipstick and nail polish. I’ve experimented with different brands and of lip color I have found some really spectacular specimens, but I haven’t been quite as lucky with nail polish, until now.

Disclosure: I purchased all of these products with my own money and was not compensated for the post by the brand I recommend, however there are affiliate links embedded in some of the links. If you click on them I will receive a small commission. Thank you for your support!

My Favorite Long Lasting Nail Polish

So Much Polish, So Little Time

Over the years I’ve tried almost every kind of nail polish out there.  Currently in my collection are products by Revlon, Bobbie Brown, OPI, (lots of OPI), Orly, ULTA,  Toni & Tina, and Deborah Lippmann.  (I really hoped, when I purchased the Deborah Lippmann colors from Nordstroms for the tune of around $20 each, that they would last longer because of the price tag, but that wasn’t the case.)  Of all the brands I’ve tried in the past the longest wearing was “Toni and Tina”, but the company has since gone out of business and you can only find what’s left on E-bay. (I do like vintage but I’m NOT buying old nail polish. Yuk.)

My Problematic Nails

A manicure usually starts to chip in about two days on my hard-working fingers.  Washing the dishes, drawing, typing and all the other things I do every day with my hands takes a toll on my polish. When I discovered OPI’s “gel” nail polish this summer I was beyond excited.  Nail polish that lasts two weeks! Yahoo! So what if it makes my nails thin, requires scary UV cookers to adhere, and can only be taken off with battery acid. (Just kidding.  It takes a special heavy-duty acetone type substance to remove and then it has to be pushed off your nails with a wood stick.) But it was worth the extra $20 and hour-long process to have nail polish that lasted.

“Blank Slate” – a dark blue polish

Then I discovered Sonia Kashuk’s line of nail polish. I’m not sure what initially attracted me to the little bottles filled with fun colors but I’m so glad I decided to try one. A dark denim blue named “Blank Slate” made its way onto my nails and I was happy with the color, but it was this manicure’s longevity that impressed me.  IT LASTED A WHOLE WEEK WITHOUT CHIPPING. Thinking it might have been a fluke I went back and purchased another color, this one a stone color called “Tauped”.  Once again the manicure looked great for seven whole days.  The tips started to wear down a bit, but the manicure still looked nice.

Sonia Kashuk Nail Color in “Tauped”

 after 1 week of wear

Sonia Kashuk Nail Color Review

  • It’s fairly easy to apply and covers well in two coats.
  • The polish dries a couple of shades darker than the color in the bottle.
  • It isn’t any smellier than other polishes, but it does take a whole day or more for the odor to completely disappear.
  • The colors seem to be available according to the season. brights in the spring and summer, darks in the fall and winter.
  • The polish dries to the touch fairly quickly, but caution should still be maintained for a few hours afterwards until it’s good and dry.
  • It lasts a good week on hands without chipping. After I touched it up with some more polish it lasted almost another week.
  • On my feet the pedicure is still going strong after more than 2 weeks. (This is pretty normal for me though.)
  • They cost about $5 each, unless you find them on sale.
  • Sonia kashuk products are available on-line and at Target stores.

So you know, I have used Revlon base coat and top coat under and over every manicure and pedicure for the past year. Once, a nail salon used some cheap stuff and my fresh manicure started to chip after just a few hours. I’ve brought my own stuff along ever since.

Shop the Polish!

Purchase Sonia Kashuk Nail Color by clicking the image below.

Updated June 2013: Sonia Kashuk has updated her nail polish packaging. They now look like the one above. As far as I know the formula is the same but there are many new colors in the line now.Sonia Kashuk nail polish is available at Target. You can buy it online by clicking on the image above.

Do you have a favorite brand of nail polish?  Have you tried the polish by Sonia Kashuk?

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