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 →
Tag Archives | Manicure
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 recommendations, for products that help to create a long-lasting manicure, and by extension, beautiful nails. Continue Reading →
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
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.
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.
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.
Have you ever had a silk wrap on your nails? What did you think of it?
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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!
Sonia Kashuk Nail Polish in “Tauped”
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.)
So you know, 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.
“Tauped” after 1 week
Here are a few other things I noticed about the polish:
- 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.
The nail polishes at Target – They’re popular!
Do you have a favorite brand of nail polish? Have you tried the polish by Sonia Kashuk?
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Having a manicure and pedicure is one of those little treats that I really miss when I’m broke. As soon as I have a little money to spend on myself I head out to have my feet scraped and my cuticles trimmed by a professional. (Unlike many of my friends, my own manicures are a joke. I can apply liquid eye liner with a steady hand and paint fashion illustrations, but painting my own nails is nearly impossible. I don’t know why.)
The last last time I went to the nail salon the lady at the front desk asked me if I’d like to have the “gel” manicure. ”What’s a gel manicure?” I replied. She then explained that the gel polish didn’t chip and could last anywhere from two to three weeks. I’m pretty hard on my hands. As a result normal nail polish usually chips in two days. If I really work at it and apply top coat and touch up bad spots I can keep a regular manicure going for about four days, but that’s it. So I decided to try out this exciting new polish.
Gel nail polish is officially called “Axxium soak-off gel lacquer” and it’s made by OPI. The colors all have the usual fun OPI names. The color below is called “Strawberry Margarita”. The photo was taken about one week after the gel was applied:
Yes, IT’S ALMOST PERFECT AFTER A WEEK and it looked great for another two weeks. I was amazed. The problem is when it does start to peel the color won’t come off unless you soak your hands in nail polish remover for at least 15 minutes. I’m don’t like the smell of nail polish remover anyway, and the thought of SOAKING my hands in the stuff really makes me unhappy.
Here’s the manicure at 4 weeks of age:
Amazingly IT STILL HASN’T CHIPPED! Instead, it peeled from the cuticle up. Also, my nails had not torn, broken, peeled or snagged. The polish protected them from all harm. They were LONG. I’m one of those people who’s nails are always breaking. My new 1/8 inch long nails seem almost miraculous.
Back I went to the salon to have it removed and reapplied. In the end I think the benefits of having my nails looking great for three weeks outweigh the problem of removing the stuff. Because a gel nail polish is applied differently than regular polish I thought you might want to see the process, so I photographed it.
First the old polish is soaked in a special solution (that I believe is sold on Amazon) and then scraped off. (I forgot to get a photo, but after just a couple of minutes the old polish goes white and peels up.) Your cuticles are then trimmed and nails filed as usual. Because my nails have ridges they’re usually sanded down a bit. Mittens are pulled over your hands, (more on that later) and your nails are prepped with a special adhesive.
Next a base coat is applied. Between each layer you stick your hands in these ultraviolet cookers. You wear the mittens to keep the rays off your hands. This is probably the creepiest aspect of the whole process.
The polish has to be carefully mixed because it tends to separate. The second time around I chose a pale pearly sheer taupe called “Cosmo, not now honey” so the eventual peeling wouldn’t look so obvious.
The polish and top coat is applied as it would be normally. Your hands are massaged afterwards as the polish dries completely in the ray soaking devices. Here’s my new manicure, a few days after application. That was last week, and they still look great!
I’m not the only one of my friends who’s thoughts have turned to manicures and nail polish recently. If you haven’t seen it yet check out Beautifully Invisible’s “History of Nail Lacquer” and Grit and Glamour’s “Nail Polish: Faves, Tips and Tricks”.
What do you think of this? Have you or would you try “Axxium” soak-off gel lacquer?
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