Secret life of pretty hands

I've become committed to painting my fingernails recently.  It all started back on my 35th birthday when I treated myself to a mani-pedi at Embellish.  I chose a classic red polish and I couldn't stop staring at my hands.  It was as if my entire hand was wearing jewelry.

I fell in love with the idea of having my nails polished on my hands.  It seemed fun to use it as a creative expression - to wear new colors each week, picking the color that represented my mood of the moment.

But there were some problems....

When I painted my nails I waited forever for them to dry.  And they still seemed to smudge. Then my cuticles made it look a little cheap and choppy. Not to mention the nail polish didn't seem to last long before chipping.  And when I took it off, it left stains.

But now, I've found a few tricks that solve these problems and I'm creatively expressing myself away on my hands each week.  I'm no beauty expert, but these have helped me alot! So I'm sharing...

I expect each manicure to last for about a week, so I have a little ritual now of painting my nails on Sunday afternoon.  I like to get all my supplies, along with a towel and get it all laid out, while I pick a fun movie to watch.

This Sunday my fun movie was 500 Days of Summer, thanks to the recommendation from Sogni e Sorrisi! (If you love music, quirkiness, and films with an indie flavor, you'll probably like it.)

Soak hands in warm water for a few minutes (or you could do this after a bath or shower) - Helps soften your cuticles.

Get some cuticle cream, use it according to directions and push your cuticles back.  I'm using Problem Cuticle Remover from Sally Hansen (because my cuticles are real juvenile delinquents).

Don't neglect your foundation. I watched my manicurist use CND Stickey Base Coat and decided to try it myself.  If you've ever painted a piece of furniture, you know the importance of primer.  It creates a slightly rough surface that the color coat loves to stick to.  Base coat and top coat each have a unique role to play - so don't buy a combo!

Quality polishes - not a NECESSITY, but consider using them.  I can't say I use salon quality polishes all the time.  Especially for really trendy or wild colors, I like to pick them up cheap at the grocery store.  But I'm starting to tell the difference.  The cheaper ones are often gummy and don't have the same coverage or shine.

Amazing - Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Anti-Chip top coat - I myself, seriously cannot believe how fast this dries.  And how bullet-proof my nails seem to be wearing it.

Put on an extra top coat mid week if you're feeling vigilant. I don't do this every week - it doesn't always seem necessary.  But if  you are trying to keep your manicure perfect as possible, this helps.

Act like a cat and try not to get wet.  Okay, not really practical.  But when you do get your hands wet, just be sure to dry them well, especially around the nail.

Wear a pretty pair of rubber gloves to wash dishes and clean.  Not only is this fun, and takes a bit of the ick factor out of washing dishes, it also helps preserve your chosen color!

Happy lacquering!


  1. I like OPI polishes, especially since they're free of the ickier chemicals such as toluene. I've been polishing only my toenails most of the time, for many years. When I do occasionally polish my fingernails as well, I don't usually go through all the steps to make sure my manicure lasts--so thank you for the recommendations on the appropriate steps and products, especially the base coat. Oh, and I ordered 500 Days of Summer a few days ago (I'm a big fan of Zooey Deschanel)--glad to hear you liked it!

  2. Thanks for the tips. I like OPI too but use many different brands. I like lots of different colors. My finger nails never last more than a couple of days,the toes a long time. Maybe it is because I just put polish on them, nothing else. So I will have to give your tips a try. I feel naked if my nails are not done:)
    Blog: Capers of the vintage vixens

  3. I love this so much! And thanks for the tip on the insta-dry top coat stuff. I was able to find that at Ulta, too. I like your polish ritual. When I was in college, I painted my nail constantly - they were rarely without some nutty color. Once I had kids, that stopped, but I've been back in the habit lately. I love seeing this series on your blog - fun!