Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Makings for a home manicure

My fiance met me and loved that I loved kitties. Loved that I could play acoustic guitar. Loved that I had more compact discs and vinyl records than him (which is saying a lot) What he didn't love so much is my habit of biting my nails.

Yes I admit it, I was a nail biter. beyond just biting, I would literally bite my nails until they were so ragged and destroyed I needed band aids.

So after a few failed attempt with acrylic nails, which I literally felt like I was wearing something that needed to be taken off because it felt so weird on my fingers.

My lovely fiance came home with a bunch of nail files, a bottle of Sally Hanson "Hard as nails" and a promise that for every week I didn't chew my nails I could get a new polish.

How he is regretting his offer now.

I never take into a bet halfheartedly.

Nails are actually made out of a protein called Keratin. Nails grow fastest during the summer (just like our hair, because its the same stuff) and the rate of growth is largely dependent of factors such as diet, exercise, heredity, and gender.

In addition to diet many have resorted to supplementation to thicken their nails. There are several dermatologists and nutritionists who say taking 2.5 mg of Biotin will help to grow out nails that are thin, brittle, or peeling.

There is also the long standing advice of housewives everywhere:

Wear plastic gloves to do dishes.

Always moisturize after you wash your hands.

Use a really thick moisturizer at night.

Avoid constant wetting and drying of your nails.

With the advent of hand sanitizer this seems easier than ever, but be wary not to overdo with the alcohol based hand sanitizers. Alcohol draws water from the skin and can make hands and nails dry.

So after learning about the anatomy of a nail I went online and into the drugstores to find the most cost effective products to give me an awesome manicure.

Here is what I bought for my arsenal:

Hydrogen Peroxide, Baking Soda, and Denture cleaner ($6)- Yes, you have read the previous correctly. I have the previous in my collection of manicure supplies. If you mix a TSP baking soda with just a drop of peroxide to make a paste and apply to nails between dark polishes it will keep them from yellowing. Additionally once every 4 weeks I give myself a soak bare nails in denture cleaner. You can get this cheap at the dollar store. This whitens my tips and removes any trace of yellowing or discoloration from my nails. I have to thank my friend Garnet for this tip!

Cotton pads($1)- Dedicated only to your nail polish stash. You will use up these little babies like they are going extinct.

Polish remover($2-$5)- I have heard the arguments "No use non acetone on natural nails" "No acetone is fine!" It is a personal preference. Personally I would like to not spend 20 minutes removing polish from my nails. Acetone polish remover takes it off like no bodies business. However, I have heard from many beauty guru's that acetone is very drying. But every Non- acetone polish remove I have used has sucked! So until I find a non acetone polish remover that removes polish at a speed I am comfortable with I will be continuing to use Acetone based polish.

Orange sticks/Cuticle pusher ($2)-
I have a rubber cuticle pusher as well as a few orange sticks and a metal under nail cleaner (what the pointy part of the orange stick is for) I have to use this routinely on my fiance and his ingrown toenails. The great part about metal is that after you are done you can sanitize it. Orange sticks are not as sanitary, but are entirely disposable and cheap. I recommend having at least a few.

Creative Nail Design Stickey Base Coat($6)
- A base coat that came highly recommended. I'd tried Orly Ridge Filler, Sally Hansen Ridge Filler, and Orly Orlon base coat and Orly Bonder. All of them began to chip and peel by day two no matter how carefully I applied my nail polish. The only one that I managed to get more than 5 day wear from was Creative Nail Design Stickey Basecoat. I think you have to do your own testing and find out what works for your nails, but this seems to work for several.

Several Nail Polish colors! My favorite brands are Sinful Colors and China Glaze. China Glaze I have only found at Sally Beauty Supply. I do have some OPI colors, some Sally Hansen,and Some Scherer Petites.

Sally Hansen French Tip Pen($5)- This has made doing a french manicure SO MUCH easier for me. I have shaky hands, don't want to mess with tiny strips on my nails, and want to be able to do touch ups with no trouble. This pen makes it so easy. Available in wide tip or fine tip its easy to find one to suite your needs and the look on the nails is natural.

INM: Out the door fast dry top coat ($5)- So everyone I know says "I LOVE Seche Vite top coat! oh its so great!" I was able to try it for free from a friends bottle. I'm sorry but the shrinkage, the smell? and the fact that it dries up so fast in the bottle! for almost 10 bucks for a bottle I was not colored impressed. Enter INM "Out the door fast dry top coat" from Sally Beauty Supply. This 5 dollar a bottle, thinner liquid, super fast drying, and not NEARLY as terrible smelling Top coat is great at drying my polish, and maintaining my manicure.

The best part is it isn't too thick that I can't reapply a coat every other day to freshen my mani.

Emery boards ($2)- Basic must. Have a few of these in a grit for natural nails. And always keep one in your backpack or purse. Something that drives me crazy now is when I break a tip or have an edge and no emery board in site.

Crystal/stone file($3-$12)-
You can find these at any Beauty supply stores. I was stupid enough to buy one at the Mall of America for 20 bucks. Its a stone nail file that files the nail and you can use it to seal the nail edge as well as buff off dried cuticles.

Thick hand cream and/or cuticle oil($3-$12)-
I happened to find Barielle cuticle oil on clearance at a Big Box store for 3 dollars. So I use it every night along with my super thick old lady cream that I haven't been able to find recently and am using sparingly. But there are several great thick hand creams that either have oils already added in, or are specifically for hands. Find one that works for your skin type and use it religiously.

Its an arsenal right? But once you find your go to products and arrange them in a neat little bag, you find out that it really isn't that many things.

So looking at the list is "seems" like a lot of stuff. In reality it fits into a small plastic bin. Once you have your Mainstays like basecoat, topcoat, polish remover, emery boards and other tools, you will learn how best to organize it and the only thing that you will continually need to find space for is nail polish colors.

Consider this, setting up your own at home Manicure set will cost nearly $35-$60 to set up and that doesn't include Nail Color. But going to a salon and having your nails done 52 times a year for $20 not including tip would be $1040 a year. Even just having a once a month Manicure for $20 would still land you $240 a year.

Where as you add in toe separators and a friend and you have a Friday night pampering session that leaves you beautiful and saves you money.

So go forth into the Beauty supply stores, drugstores, and dollar stores of the world and gather your arsenal and prepare to get beautiful.

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