I like to do my own manicures. The nail salon is pricey. And too many times I’ve left a nail salon wondering about their cleanliness. The reality is that a salon manicure, aside from gel or acrylic, doesn’t really last me any longer than one that I would give myself. There are plenty of fun nail looks that you can do yourself without ever stepping into a nail salon. Here are ten of my favorite.
- Newsprint. This is a nifty look. You’ll need some newsprint and alcohol. Paint your nails like normal – with a base coat and two color coats. Let it dry completely. Dip your nail in rubbing alcohol for a few seconds, and remove it. Carefully place your newsprint (print down) on your nail, and press firmly. Pull it away and seal with a topcoat.
- Crackle. Crackle is a type of nail polish that you put over your regular color coat. Just paint the crackle coat over top, and it will look crackled and old. Cover it with a clear coat to preserve it.
- Glitter. Any old glitter will do. Paint your nails, and while the top coat is still wet, sprinkle a light coat of glitter over top. After it dries, seal it with another coat of topcoat.
- Gems. Nail gems are available anywhere, even WalMart. Apply them while your top coat is still wet. You can use tweezers to put them in the right place.
- French. This is easy if you use an adhesive guide strip. Sally Hanson sells cute little French manicure kits. Put your color coat on and let it dry completely. Then, place the crescent shaped stickers just below the tips of your nails. Paint the tips white. Remove the stickers and finish with a clear coat.
- Reverse French. A reverse French manicure is a lot of fun. The idea is the same, just reverse the colors. It looks great with a silver base coat and black tips. If you have a steady hand, paint your nails a solid color except for the ‘moon’ – paint that a different color for an original style.
- Magnetic. This is a neat, new kind of nail polish. The polish contains metal particles. After you apply the polish, before it has set, wave the magnetic wand over top. The metal particles move, creating unique and interesting designs.
- Ombre. You’ll need four or five shades of the same color for this nail look. Make your thumb the lightest, each finger getting darker and darker. Make your pinky the darkest color to create that ombre effect. .
- Mistmatched. The current trend in manicures is to paint four fingers on each hand the same color. Make your ring finger a mismatched color. Try green and blue, burgundy and red, or even pink and red.
- Natural. Go for the natural look. Use base coat and top coat only, and skip the color coat for a natural, shiny finish.
Regardless of what nail look you like best, make sure you take good care of your nails. Always file in the same direction (avoid a sawing motion so you don’t split your nails). A squoval shape is the most flattering on the most people, but a good rule of thumb is to mimic the shape of your nail bed. Keep nails on the shorter side for a youthful look. Always use a base coat and a top coat to keep your polish on the longest. Reapply your topcoat periodically to keep your manicure lasting as long as possible.