One of the perfect accessories to the fabulous college student is beautifully manicured nails. Maybe I’m a little biased in this area. I am a nail-aholic! For as long as I can remember I have been growing my nails long, and lusting after different nail polishes. I always love learning new nail polish tips and tricks. Here are some tips that I have accumulated over the years!
The first thing that I would recommend is to keep your hands well-moisturised. If you don’t, start! My fellow intern Kayla wrote a fabulous post on moisturising your hands, so I will let her lead in this area.
Always start a manicure with your nails completely bare of all nail polish. Any old nail polish residue left on your nails will create bumps and bubbles in your new nail polish layer. I stick to a simple nail-polish-remover-and-tissue job, and it does the trick!
Shape Your Nails
Filing your nails can be tricky- there have been many times when I end up filing my nails way too short, leaving me mad and in pain! First, get a nail file from any beauty store. Pick the shape that you want your nails to be – short and rounded, long and square- anything goes! Always file your nails in one direction. This may take some getting used to, but if you file your nails like a see-saw they will become brittle and much more breakable. To see if your nail shape is even, look at your hands with your palm facing you. You can look at the tips of your nails and see if they’re even! Scrub your hands after this step.
Don’t Forget the Base-ics!
Okay, that was lame, but using a base coat is important! Without a base coat your nails can become tinted from the nail polish color. There are lots of base coat options (most of which also double as a top coat!) which have benefits ranging from strengthening to lengthening to super shine. Check out any beauty store for a range of these options, and you can pick which one you prefer!
To apply the base coat, I would recommend sitting down somewhere comfortable with a surface in front of you. Kitchen table, your desk, anywhere like that. Take the base coat brush and wipe it on the rim of the bottle once, and then apply it to your nail. You should be able to get your nail in three strokes- once down the middle and then on each side of the nail. Do this for each nail to ensure that you have your nails completely covered. One coat on each nail is all you need!
The Fun Part
Picking a nail polish is all about what YOU like. My advice is not to worry about matching your color to what you wear most often- find a color that you really love and expand from that. Your manicure should last at least a week, so you should enjoy the color while you wear it! My personal favorite is red, and I am always wearing a shade of it on my nails. Some of my friends rock deep purple, blue, even yellow nail polish! Head on down to a beauty store, even your local drugstore, to find an array of choices.
Apply the nail color just like you did the base coat- wipe the brush off of the rim of the bottle once, and you should cover the nail in three strokes. Don’t worry about streaks for your first coat- with the main color two coats is best, and for paler colors three coats should take care of any streaks! If you get any nail color on your skin, use the edge of something (a ruler will do!) to take it off. My own advice? A shower the next day will get rid of any residue left on your skin! Wait for at least twenty minutes before picking up anything with your newly manicured nails, and once the polish is dried to the touch, run your nails under cold water to further set the color.
Don’t Forget a Top Coat
Top coats are fantastic- think of it like a seal on your nail. Protecting the nail polish from chipping while also allowing the shine to last for longer, it is an essential part of a manicure. I would recommend putting on your top coat a few hours after painting your nails- otherwise the color can turn out streaky. Again, you have lots of choice in top coats, so find which one works best for you!
Enjoy your manicure! Do you have any favorite nail polishes? Please let me know in the comments, and I will feature them in an upcoming post! J
Deirdre Cunnane is an intern with College Lifestyles (TM) and a second year law student in University College Cork, Ireland. She always has her nails painted- right now she is wearing Mrs. O’Leary’s BBQ by O.P.I!