One of my favorite ways to splurge is by getting my nails done. I love to get my eyelashes done, too, but when I am feeling really selfish, I'm all about the fingernails. You see, eyelashes are more for everyone else's pleasure- my face, which other people are often forced to look at, looks better with those long, thick lashes. But the thing is I rarely look at my own face, so the eyelashes are purely for other people's enjoyment. Whereas my hands, I look at those bad boys hundreds of times a day. When I'm changing a diaper, when I'm grading an essay, when I'm washing the dishes, when I'm reading a book. I am constantly looking at my hands, and by golly, I like my hands to look pretty!
Unfortunately, I am a chronic nail biter so my fingernails pretty much never look awesome. I need a manicure once a week to keep these guys looking pretty, but ain't nobody can afford to go to the salon every week.
So I do my own nails. And I actually really enjoy it. There is something very calming about doing my nails. I like working with my hands, paying attention to fine details, and I like that I can turn my brain off and just relax. I love evenings where I have finished all my work- blog posts are done, jewelry is made, papers are graded, June bug is asleep, and I get an hour or two of me time. My two "me time" go tos are pretty much always 1) hot bath + book or 2) nails + magazines. Nothing beats them!
Through the years I think I have finally mastered an at home manicure that looks like it was done at the salon. No joke! People ask me, "Oh, who does your nails?" And I say, "Me, duh!" Here's some little tricks I've figured out over the years to get your at home nails looking salon worthy every time.
1. Use pure acetone to remove old nailpolish, not regular nail polish remover. Regular nail polish remover is an exercise in patience, I tell you! I don't want to spend my one hour of me time painstakingly trying to remove old nail polish. Acetone gets it off with a quick swish swish. Make the switch and you'll never go back to regular nail polish remover.
My before-manicure hand. Not looking so hot!
2. Do manicure after getting out of the tub or shower so that you push your cuticles down easily. Getting those cuticles out of the way is one of the hardest parts of an at-home manicure, and if your cuticles are soft it is soooooo much easier. I never do my nails without first showering or taking a bath.
3. Trim cuticles! This one for me is key in getting nails to look salon-worthy. It's not enough to just push them back, after I push them back I take my small nail clippers and just clip that dead skin right off. It makes my nails look 100 xs better.
4. Consider switching to gel nail polish/ buy LED light. After getting a gel manicure in the salon I knew it would be tough for me to ever go back. I still do regular nail polish when I'm in a hurry, but if I have a solid 45 minutes, I almost always pull out the LED light and gel nail polish. It's a bit more of a process but my manicure lasts 2+ weeks instead of 4 days. Worth it! I want to say my LED light was around $40.
5. Be patient/ Have something to do while you wait for nails to dry or set. Whether you are doing a gel manicure or regular nail polish, probably the most crucial step in a manicure is to WAIT. When doing a gel manicure, you have to wait for the light on your nails. When doing a regular manicure, you have to wait for the nail polish to dry. Either way, it requires you to be very patient- if you mess this step up your whole manicure is shot. I can not tell you how many manicures I have ruined by not letting the stupid polish dry.
I've figured out that for me one of the ways to best be successful in the waiting nail game is to have something to keep me busy while waiting. I love to read, but books can be a bit tricky with wet nails, so I almost always splurge on a magazine. A magazine can lay flat and it doesn't require me to be super focused. I can break and come back again a minute later. While I wait for my gel to dry (60 seconds on each hand for two layers + 30 seconds on each hand for top and base coat) I love to flip through magazines. It feels so good to just totally relax and not be thinking of a million and one things I should be doing, but instead to just allow me a few minutes of uninterrupted me time.
Nothing like a little Sofia Vegara cleavage to help me wait for my nails to dry.
6. Clean up around your nails. Once your nails are all dry/ set, drench a tiny piece of cotton in acetone. Wrap the cotton around the end of an orange wood stick and use that to go along the edges of your nails. That will quickly and easily clean up any places where the nail polish missed the nail!
And you're done! An at home manicure for a fraction of the cost of a salon and it looks just as good.
I stopped by our nearby Albertson's to grab my "me time" magazines. Take advantage of $1.00 off participating titles (PEOPLE®, InStyle®, People StyleWatch®, Real Simple®, and Sunset®) with this digital offer at your Albertson's until 10/18/15 while supplies last.