Natural long nails painted with Nubar in “Pink Elegance”
The “rules” of fashion are not what they were 20 years ago, and neither are the rules for nail polish. At the present time, as long as a manicure is well-groomed and not tattered and worn, just about all colors are appropriate year round. Some colors are more seasonal than others. I myself don’t use a calendar to decide on a nail color, I go with what my craving is at that particular moment. For example, dark browns tend to be put on the shelf once signs of Spring start showing. Dark browns are especially nice in the summer on well-tanned tips and toes. Focus on your skin tone to choose the most suitable color for you.
The collections that have come out for Spring have been mixed. Some companies are going all pale (Essie and Orly) while other companies are full of neons, holographic, and drab colors (China Glaze). OPI’s collections usually are a mix of light and dark colors be it their Spring/Summer collections or Fall/Winter collections. Supplemental collections are more popular than ever. It seems like every month something new is coming out! China Glaze just released three collections and are already planning three more for summer. The same goes for OPI. A French manicure is always appropriate and timeless. I am not a fan of pales so I go with medium colors. Medium colors are also good for camouflaging nails that become stained. Whimsical (different color on each nail etc.) manicures are appropriate in the right setting, as well. The dark navy blue trend is still going strong with the darker purples being pulled into the craze.
Nail and Cuticle Care Tips:
Good health and cuticle care are essential to long and strong nail growth. My favorite cuticle drenching oil is Nubar Cucumber Cuticle Oil. To remove cuticles, Blue Cross Cuticle Remover is an amazing product you can try that gets rid of unwanted skin, gently. If you are in a hurry and need to get rid of cuticles at lightening speed, try Poshe AHA Cuticle Care Revitalizer.
Nail Polish Application Tips:
Start off with a nail hardener such as China Glaze Calcium Gel Fortifier or Salley Hansen Triple Strong Advanced Nail Fortifier. You can also use a ridge filler to fill in ridges and strengthen nails even more. After these two products, its time for your base coat. My favorite base coat product is Color Club Milky White Base Coat.
Next comes the lacquer: I am a habitual three-coater. Most people just do two but with my job requiring 8-10 hours a day on the computer I find three coats reduces chippage. With the first coat, I also make a horizontal swipe of the nail brush across the tip of my nail which reduces shrinkage when the polish dries. I don’t concern myself too much if any gets on the top side of the nail as I have two more coats to smooth it out.
Finally, the top coat: The best of the best in my opinion is Seche Vite. It is available at retail but a bit pricey. Online retailers sell it considerably cheaper. Again because of all the typing I have to do, I use two layers. Seche Vite provides a really nice wet look and when dry is slick to the touch.
For those times when I need a polish change but don’t have the time to do one, I use a sparkly top coat as a refresher which extends my manicure another day or two. My favorite for this is Sally Hansen Diamond Strength in the shade of Diamonds #5.
Here are a few examples of what that looks like:
Sally Hansen Diamond Strength Diamonds #3 over CND Hot Pop Blue
Chanel Peptie over Nars After Dark
Online retailers that don’t require a license:
Travel tips: I recently experimented with my manicure when I went to Las Vegas. Knowing I would not be able to redo my manicure, I picked a medium red with shimmer which is a timeless color and strangely versatile. I added an extra layer of base coat between the 1st and 2nd layers of lacquer and an extra layer of top coat. This makes the polish on the nail a little thicker but I had no problems with chippage and my nails looked just as good when I got home as when I left. I was unable to do a polish change for five days. The downside is the thicker the polish, the longer it takes to get off.
Nail Lacquer colors that I recommend for Spring and Summer:
1. CND “Studio 54″
2. Color Club “Blue Light”
3. Finger Paints “Make a Scene”
4. CND “Hot Pop Orange”
5. China Glaze “Linger”
All images used with permission and curtesy of Carla Gaughan on Flickr.