The following is a guest post from Pittsburgh fashion writer, Sarah Sudar. Find her bio at the bottom of the post.
I'm a strong believer in a good manicure. I believe that nails should be properly filed and polished, even if that just means wearing a clear coat of nail polish. But, keeping up with weekly manicures at your local salon can be quite taxing and expensive. I'm here to tell you that you that DIY manicures are possible, if you follow some of my tips below:
Before you polish, have the right tools. Just as you would start a DIY project on your new apartment or home, you want to have the proper tools when it comes to your nails. I suggest foregoing those nail kits that come prepackaged and make one yourself. You can find inexpensive, salon-quality tools at your local beauty supply store or even chain beauty stores like Ulta. My must-have nail tools include: nail file, cuticle cutters, orange sticks and a buffing block. Most of these products are only a few dollars, though the cuticle cutters will run you about $10.
Nail polish quality. It is very true that expensive nail polish is of better quality than cheap, $0.99 polish. But, spending $8-$10 on a bottle of nail polish seems completely abused, doesn't it? Therefore, I suggest investing in expensive nail polish in classic hues of reds, berries, pinks, and even black, navy and eggplant purple. Purchase inexpensive nail polish in colors that you don't think you will find yourself wearing often, such as sparkles and funky neon colors.
Top coat, a must. I'm a strong supporter of a top coat. A top coat does two things: it seals in your nail polish color (though doesn't always prevents chips) and also helps clean up the excess color nail polish from around your cuticles. When painting your nails, you may often get the colored polish on your skin. Once you apply the top coat to your finger nails, the clear activates the color and you can easily whip off the mistake. I don't know why or how, but this works. My go-to clear coat is Sally Hansen Hard as Wraps Acrylic Gel. This clear polish is thicker than regular polish and will have your manicure last a bit longer than it normally would.
Look for inspiration. Manicures don't have to be boring and always one color! You can have fun with painting your nails different colors and designs. Look at fashion magazines, blogs and Pinterest for inspiration on new nail designs and colors. I recently have fallen in love with painting just one of the nails on my hands with glitter, leaving the others a solid color, as you can see in the photo (above).
With a few tools and some time, you can definitely have a salon-quality manicure right at home. All you have to do is just find the time to sit still and let the paint dry! Happy polishing everyone!
Sarah is a Pittsburgh-based lifestyle blogger and writer who recently started the style clutch, a blog focused on providing women with stylish advice. After interviewing designers, attending New York Fashion Week and helping LOFT with their 2011 Breast Cancer Awareness campaign for her style column and blog, “Clutch: Get a Hold of Style,” for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, she decided to change gears and focus on writing about a subject she loves: style advice. You can read her new blog at: thestyleclutch.com.