The secrets to professionally manicured looking nails are the shape of the nails, cuticle management and the condition of the polish.
Square shape nails are the best. It looks timeless, easy to maintain and easy to cut – just cut across! You can also prevent in-grown nails with square shaped nails. I do like stubby schoolboy nails too, it’s very trendy and it’s so practical.
I naturally don’t have much cuticle to shout about so I don’t deal with them at home. Unless you’re completely sure on how to cut your cuticles, please leave it to the professionals to do it. If you must do it at home, make sure your tools are always sterilised (boil it, bbq it whatever). And don’t be obsessed with cutting! You never know when you’d cross into the infection & puss territory.
My favourite polish are OPI but they cost a bomb -_- I use some Elianto and Face Shop too and are only attracted to their selection of colours. I find Stage Cosmetics’ polish too runny and tend to create bubbles so I avoid them. Had a couple of Lancome and Dior and they ARE AWESOME but I really can’t justify spending money on them. I wish someone would bring in U.G.N.Y because the quality of the polish is really good for the price – even coating and hardly any bubble. I got my U.G.N.Ys from Singapore. I recently discovered a brand called DHC at a little standalone stall at The Curve. I’ve never heard of it but it’s apparently made in Japan and cost me only RM7.90 per bottle. I bought a couple of colours on a whim, didn’t expect much but was I surprised.
You should always make sure you’ve got a base coat and top coat. Base coat is to prevent discoloration to your nails and top coat is to preserve your polish. Strong coloured polish still eats into transparent base coat pretty effectively. To counter that, I use a trick I’d learned from an ex-colleague – use a beige or skin colour polish as your base coat because it lessens the discoloration. Okay, technically the rate of discolouration is still the same, but it’d be discoloured with a colour that matches your natural nails hence less obvious ;)
Also, always have cotton buds in hand because you can use them to clean up all the messy bits. One of the biggest giveaways to an amateur DIY is polish overflowing onto the flesh. Be meticulous and clean. Sometimes, I just wait for it to dry up and then sort of lift up the stray colours from my flesh with a tweezer.
Here’s a tutorial’s on simple girlish nail design:
#1 – A base/top coat & 2 colours – one for base and one for tip. Here I use DHC’s No. 86 (a 3D-ish pastel purple) & No.115 (silver glitter).
DHC is by far the best glitter polish I’ve ever tried. The previous brands I bought were terrible, you could never get the glitter on or they just clump together stubbornly. DHC’s glitter coverage is even.
#2 – End result. Taken with flash.
#3 – Closeup with no flash.
It’s very easy, after the base coat, just paint your nails as per normal with the base colour. Wait for it to dry a bit and continue with the tip colour. Swipe left to right across the tip of the nail – easy peasy. As it’s glitter, it’s much more forgiving than say a solid white colour so even a n00b with shaky hands can do this.
Since I have so much time now I’d probably do more tutorials on simple, practical nail arts. Ah, the life of a housewife :)