Tuesday, April 29, 2008

How To Look Good Naked

Though I've never watched it, I'm fascinated with the concept of Carson Kressley's show "How To Look Good Naked" on Lifetime. I think it's very important for women of different sizes, shapes, and color to feel good about themselves and feel good in their skin.

Recently my roommate and I were chatting and I couldn't help but notice that even though her nails were devoid of color (try not to faint), they were a healthy, pretty pink. Even though she's since then painted them, I can't get over how nice they were. So even if you're going through a nail polish funk, know that your nails can still look good naked! If you haven't read it already, check out my tips on how to get healthy, strong nails here.

But once you're out of your funk, know that your nails can still look good naked even with nail polish on. I'm talking of course about China Glaze Naked...

These pictures don't really do this polish justice, it has gorgeous silver microshimmer and the color just makes people feel happy. Naked is definitely a must-have for all pink lovers and luckily it's part of ChG's core line, which means that it's easy to find wherever China Glaze polishes are sold.

Essie Summer '08

Fabulous fellow nailboarder cemikese has pictures of Essie's Summer '08 collection up! As predicted, Essie has caught onto the bright colors trend and so their summer collection is a nice array of bright red and pinks. I think the stand-out of this collection is Risky Business. It has the subtle shimmer that Essie is oh so good at, and it really makes a polish glow (I'll post an example of this later this week).

Check out Essie's newest collection here: http://15minbeauty.blogspot.com/2008/04/essie-summer-2008.html

While you're at it, check out the rest of Christine's blog. It's fantastic!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Early Morning Hotness: Icing Redwood

It's no secret on the Nail Board that I'm a devout lover of Icing Redwood. Icing makes surprisingly spectacular polishes. It has a great range of color, applies pretty well, and the wear is usually very good as well. Redwood looks so unspectacular in the bottle that I don't remember why I felt compelled to buy it in the first place. Ahhhh but then I swatched it and it exceeded my hopes for it.

Redwood is a gorgeous, vampy red and notoriously hard to photograph. Here it is in full sunlight:

Doesn't look like much, right? Here are some shady (tehe) pictures to capture the jelly-ness. The next two pictures are a much more accurate representation of the color in real life:

Of course, I had to save the best for last. This is probably the most accurate representation of Redwood (minus the fact that my fingers look super washed out) taken with flash I believe:

Icing polishes are ONLY available at Icing stores. Icing's parent company, Claire's, do not have the same polishes! Your best bet to find an Icing store is to go to your local mall's website and look at the directory. Icing polishes retail for $3.50, but most of the time they will have a Buy One Get One Free or Buy One get One 50% Off promotion. Redwood should still be a relatively easy color to find, though I hear that at some places it's been discounted. I hope it's not being discontinued though!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

If you're so In Style, tell us something we don't know

I love reading fashion/beauty magazines! I usually get lots of my fashion inspiration and tips from these magazines. I finally got one of my free InStyle magazines from Ulta, and I'm already thrilled because Carrie Underwood is on the cover.....but imagine my utter excitement when right there on the cover it screams BEAUTY NOW! Cool nail colors, luscious lips and foolproof-self-tanners. So honestly, which of the three am I going crazy over? The cool nail colors part, of course!

Well, it's a bit of a letdown. The Cool Nail Colors bit can be found on pg. 343 for those who have a copy and it's pretty much a bunch of colorful, photoshopped (as to not show the labels, even though they are listed in the back) polish together in a net with this little bit:

Net Gains-
Turn on the brights with Technicolor nail polish
Cobalt-blue nails? Perhaps you just want to stick your toe in. And that's OK. But trust us: Bold shades have mad the leap from tacky to trendy this summer. When it comes to matching, forget the rules. Nowadays it's just as cool to clash (picture red nails with a pink dress) as it is to match (we love a yellow nail with a yellow-and-black painterly print).
Polish pictured: OPI The "It" Color, OPI Dating a Royal, OPI Brights Power, OPI Red Hot Ayers Rock; Essie Bermuda Shorts, Essie Shorty Pants; Sally Hanson Lacquer Shine in Glow and Flash, Sally Hanson No Chip 10 Day Nail Color in Resilient Red; Jessica Great Sphinx, Jessica King Tut's Gem, and Zoya Yummy.

Well ok, maybe for the no-so-obsessed people who are only casual partakers in nail polish this is good advice. I think that bold colors in general have been on the rise for summer though. After all, summer is the time for playing and fun, so you'd want colors to match that right?

But, I'm more than a little disappointed on how slow InStyle is in picking up on the grey trend, as evidenced by their little blurb on pg. 343:
Grey Nails
So long, pale pink, Now that women are embracing bold nail colors, even neutrals are getting funky. The current rage? Dove grey. Rescue Beauty Lounge's Concrete Jungle has already sold out three times since it launched last fall. "It's a great neutral complement to all the safari clothes this spring," says the line's creator, Ji Baek.

Grey (or gray, whatever spelling you prefer) has been on the rise since OPI's India Collection launched with Moon Over Mumbai. Around the same time, Essie also launched a collection with TWO grey polishes, Body Language and Great Expectations (Body Language has a touch of pink while Great Expectations is more of a true soft grey).

As you can see above, grey is not a color that I can pull off very well, but I do like the paler greys. If you have the coloring for greys, definitely check out Stephanie's Gray Comparison Swatches too! Or any of the other greys I talked about above, they should still be relatively easy to find. The Toma, by the way, is pretty hard to find, I found it at a local beauty supply but it's pretty old.

Anyway, I think that sometimes fashion or beauty magazines can be slow to pick up on some trends, but then again they're probably not as crazy about nail polish as some of us can be! I wish that they could be faster on picking up nail trends, but at least they still feature amazing styles and clothes.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Take a Quiz, Win a Tote!

If you're looking for a grocery tote but don't feel like shelling out some money, take this quiz by Earthbound Farm Organic! If you score high enough (which isn't hard, considering they give you sources to read and find the answers), they'll send you a free tote in June. And fear not, possible international readers, this offer is good for US and Canadian residents!

I don't know about you guys, but this definitely leaves me with more money for nail polish!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day!

This week I'm wearing all green polish! I started my week off with Jessica Emerald Tint

But yesterday night I decided I was in a darker mood (not to mention I messed up with the Emerald Tint) and changed it to a layering combo, 1 layer Sinful San Francisco over 1 Coat Wet n Wild Black Creme.

I'm also rocking my yellow WWF t-shirt and used a canvas bag with the recycle logo on it.

Since Earth Day was intended to inspire awareness of and appreciation for the Earth's environment, here's the best tips I can give you in the very limited time I have (I still have tons of stuff to study!):
  • conserve electricity: there's really no need to have the bathroom light on when you're not going, is there? You'll be amazed if you really notice how much electricity we use subconsciously. Try to use as much natural light during the day as possible, there's a reason we have a sun! And if you have yet to switch most of your light bulbs to energy-saving ones, shame on you (don't worry, you're not shunned though)! They've gotten a lot cheaper now and it really makes a difference.
  • limit the amount of plastic bags you get: To be honest, we get more plastic bags than we could ever use. I talked a bit about the hazards of plastic bags in my last post, and some cities & companies in some countries are really being proactive about it. San Francisco just celebrated the first anniversary since banning plastic bags. China is about to ban free plastic bags (a surprisingly smart move considering how many people China has that subsequently leads to so much pollution). I either reuse plastic bags if I'm going back to the same store or I tote around a canvas bag that I bought online. If you get into the habit, it's really easy. Whenever I'm at Target or Walmart, I just hand my canvas bag to the cashier and say "Can you bag everything in here please?" I actually get a lot of compliments not only on my cool bag but also on being eco-savvy. Which is always a nice boost to one's self-esteem, right? And as if you ever need another reason to shop at Target, they have come out with this awesome tote called the ReTote. It's VERY sturdy and it's made out of recycled plastic Target bags. It's very cool. The only thing about this is that you have to really be more efficient at planning so that you don't overbuy and have to resort to plastic bags.
    • ****I'd like to note though that I have no idea how to lug around a canvas tote full of clothes around a mall without making it look like I just shoplifted a bunch of stuff. So my rule of thumb when it comes to the mall is to always ask for a smaller bag when possible and if buying small things that could fit into a bag you already have or even your purse just politely say "Oh, I don't need a bag, thanks," before they put it inside.****
  • buy local produce: If you live near a farmer's market, take advantage of it on the weekends. Not only are you getting fresher fruits and vegetables, buying local is great not only for supporting your local economy but it's also better for the environment. Technology is amazing in that it's allowed us to enjoy certain foods all year round. Transportation technology has abolished the traditional "seasons" of some fruits and vegetables. If it's not avocado season here, it's avocado season somewhere else in the world and we can access that. However, in transporting, the fruits and veggies also take on a serious dose of mileage, which means more fossil fuels being burned. Now not all grocery stores are bad, and farmer's markets are not always going to be able to supply you with avocados all year round, but it's definitely worth checking out.
  • use your nails as a statement: Wear green on your nails this week in support of Earth Day. NYC makes a nice one called Big Money Frost for only 99 cents! Or if you're iffy on the green, follow the three R's I've posted before:
    • reduce the damage your nail polish could cause by always disposing of polish carefully and only buying polishes you know you will use......eventually.
    • reuse your polish often as to not waste them
    • recycle your polishes. If you don't like a color or it doesn't look good on you, find someone to whom you could give the polish to. It could be a friend, coworker, siblings, or someone on MUA.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

For the Polish Addicted

If you adore nail polish as much as I do, I'm sure you all will be thrilled in learning that another polish addict has joined the blogosphere! The lovely and oh-so-sweet EmpressStephanie from MUA has started up a new blog called The Polish Addict. She already has a fabulous post up of comparison swatches of various grey polishes, which has pretty much replaced blue as the new "it" color of right now. I'm really excited to see future posts!

Go Green!

I'm going to be super busy this week so expect very few posts. I've got two midterms, a test, an essay due, and a hefty amount of homework due this week. Amidst all the studying and hard work, my roommate and I took a break yesterday and watched Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Not only was it a fantastic movie, the brightness of Hawaii and all the colors incorporated into the movie really has me wishing OPI or China Glaze would come out with a Hawaiian collection- gorgeous bright blues and greens to represent the ocean and all the trees; a calmer, lazier green to reflect the tranquility; a off-white that matches the sand; and some reds of course to match the traditional Hawaiian printed shirts.

I'm not stupid though, I do know that not all of Hawaii is the gorgeous island heaven we see on movie screens and magazines. In fact, Midway Atoll, which is located on the northwestern part of the Hawaiian Islands, is currently experiencing an environmental disaster from plastics that end up in the ocean. Because of the currents, plastic bags (and subsequently, trash inside them) end up at Midway Atroll and is having a profound impact on the various endangered and valuable species that live there. I won't go into the grim and grisly results, but you can read more about what is dubbed the "new Battle of Midway" at these sources: BBCnews, LA Times

Some people might think I'm hypocritical for being so pro-environment yet am a huge nail polish junkie. After all, nail polish is toxic and flammable and chock full of chemicals that probably contribute to pollution and global warming. To be honest though, it's not hypocrisy at all. Ok yes I'm a bit obsessed with polish but I follow the three R's. I reduce the damage my nail polish could cause by disposing of them properly (NEVER DOWN THE DRAIN), I reuse my nail polish quite often, and I recycle my polishes by giving them away to people who would want them instead of tossing them. Let's face it though, the cosmetics industry is huge. They're not going to stop making makeup. But, I think that if cosmetics companies started to adopt more green practices, then the entire world will benefit. Of course this applies to all companies but....baby steps.

I added a new link for you guys to check out, a blog called Eco*Pretty, which I just adore. Included in every product description there's a "Eco factor," which explains how the product is relevant to being eco-friendly.

I'm so excited that the mainstream media has turned this into "Earth Week." Environmental sciences is a passion of mine, and part of what I'm studying for in college so it's really something that's close to my heart. Say what you want about Al Gore, but I think that An Inconvenient Truth really brought environmentalism into the mainstream media. Lots of cosmetic companies have really bought into this trend too, which is awesome because they're raising awareness (how environmentally-friendly they really are has yet to be determined).

Stay tuned though for a very special Earth Day mega-post where I'll show off some greens I have (as well as the one I'm sporting right now, even though I put on so many layers it bubbled), as well as some eco-friendly tips. In fact, I just decided....it's my blog and I'll do what I want! So expect to see lots of eco-friendly posts soon! =)

I leave you now with the colors from China Glaze's recent EcoCollection:

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Back to Basics: Moisturizing

Moisturizing is, and always will be, a big deal. One of the biggest mistakes I made as a young teenager who battled acne was to not moisturize. And I honestly regret it (I have since learned my lesson). Moisturizing is your skin's way of maintaining balance. It's like blowing a balloon- blow too softly and the balloon will never inflate, blow too much and the balloon might pop. Ouch. If your skin doesn't get enough moisture,

There are several ways to moisturize your nails. One is going the traditional route of using hand creams or lotions to moisturize your hands, and subsequently, your nails. The other way is to specifically target your cuticles and the skin around your nails by using cuticle oil or cuticle cream.

Friday, April 18, 2008

You Know You Love Me.....XOXO, Polish Girl

Admit it, we all have our guilty pleasure shows. The shows that in a normal conversation we don't admit we watch but when someone else brings up you have to physically restrain yourself from chiming in with your own thoughts. It's ok, we're all human, and we're allowed to have flaws. And while my guilty pleasure shows vary, one of them is definitely Gossip Girl. It's not clever or witty like Arrested Development or Veronica Mars, it's not as funny as 30 Rock, Scrubs, or The Office, and it's not as deep or complex like Numb3rs, House, or the Law & Order franchise. So why am I so addicted to a show about rich, elitist Upper-East Siders? I don't know, but every episode is a wild, colorful ride! It doesn't hurt that all the men on the show are verrrrry easy on the eyes.

Actress Leighton Meester, who plays social queen bee Blair Waldorf on the show, recently came out for an event hosted by the non-profit organization New Yorkers for Children at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in New York City.
If you're wondering why she looks SO familiar and you're not a secret Gossip Girl watcher, her IMDB profile lists an impressive resume. She's actually been on a lot of my favorite shows listed above. Other then the fact that her skin is SO flawless and gorgeous, she's been rocking a recent nail trend among celebs, neutral polish. Ashlee Simpson also rocked out this trend earlier today on TRL. The beauty about neutral nails is that it really draws attention to the rest of your outfit because it doesn't distract from it. It lets the vibrancy of your accessories do all the work in accentuating an outfit because it's essentially just a fancified version of our own natural nail colors. I should also point out that the definition of what is neutral is different for each different skin-tone. On my own skintone for instance, the color like the one Leighton is wearing wouldn't look neutral at all because it would be to light for my skin tone. Generally though, I think of neutrals as being anywhere from sheer soft pinks to light nude polishes. Neutral is a very hard category to pin down though, what do you think?

Essie Pound Cake and Essie Secret Affair seem to be similar to what Leighton is wearing in this picture. As mentioned before, Essie has a lot of great neutral shades but if you don't feel like shelling out the money for Essie's, Sally Hanson is a great drugstore alternative.

Picture Source: JustJared
Charity: New Yorkers for Children

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Sexy! Yes Yes Yes

Ok well the title pun on the Girls Aloud song, "Sexy! No No No..." has been worked to death, but it's pretty accurate in describing this polish color.

Everyone has their little quirks in what makes them feel sexy. For some, it's some scandalously hot lingerie. For others, it's that perfect little black dress. For me? Pairing heels with my dressy jeans. Oh, and wearing Orly Glam.

Glam is a color that immediately invokes sexiness when on. And it made me feel a bit, well, glamorous as well. It's a rich red with a slightly jelly finish and a nice dose of silver glitter. The glitter doesn't make it look childish but rather enhances the color. Check out my picture of it:
Glam is now my go-to red for when I need a little self-esteem booster. I think red traditionally have been subliminally programmed into us as being sexy. Think about the old Hollywood screen stars and the femme fatales that wore those gorgeous, stand-out-in-a-crowd red dresses, or having perfect seductive red lipstick. So why are nails any different? Every person can have a different color that makes them feel sexy, but for me, Glam is definitely it.

Glam is pretty easy to find anywhere Orlys are sold. I got mine at Sally's Beauty ($3.99 with a Sally's Card, $4.99 without), but I've also seen it at Ulta and CVS.

PS: Blogger didn't make a mistake, I'm really posting this at 3:44AM....I'm taking a break from the horror that is microeconomics (no offense to anyone who loves econ!)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Drugstore Gems: Sinful Colors

*special shout-out to my friend Jennifer (mzprec1ouz on MUA) for letting me flip through her gorgeous pictures and using them! I'll be using a lot from her because she's so awesome!*

So....are you a nail polish snob? I know that not all nail polishes are created equally, but I do think that drugstore polishes can also be really great. Take, for example, Sinful Colors nail polish. This brand can be found at Walgreens for $1.99, or at local beauty supplies for around the same price. It's also available to order online at www.sinfulcolors.com. If you do find it at a local beauty supply, I wouldn't pay more than $2.50 for it because that's how much it costs per bottle on the website. It has a reputation of being thick and difficult, but it's nothing a little ballz and thinner can't solve. If you're patient, I think that Sinful is definitely one of those low-end polishes worth investing in. They wear well and have really good selection for a drugstore brand. Check out some of their great colors:

San Francisco

Daddy's Girl

Irish Green


Burgundy Apple

Cetus (Latin for 'whale')

Back to Basics: Debunking Myths about Nails & Nail Polish

The shelf life of a nail polish is only a couple of years
This is the thing that always gets me! Many beauty blogs post that nail polish has a lifespan of a couple of years, and you should just toss it after. Well I was really puzzled when I heard this because it's directly the opposite answer of an often tossed-about question on the nail board at MUA. I decided to ask The Beauty Brains this question:

My question: All cosmetics have a lifespan (for example, I throw out my mascara every 3-4
months since I am afraid of bacteria) but what about the life span of a nail polish? I'm a huge nail polish junkie and some people say that a polish's lifespan is 1-2 years, but I know people who have had polish for up to 10 years without it going bad (ie, separating to the point of no return)! Is there something in the polish, chemically that could make it worse as the years go by? And what are, if any, the adverse side effects?
The answer they emailed back: Basically, you can keep nail polish until it dries out. That's because it's based on solvents (no water in it so it can't grow bacteria.) As long as you keep it tightly closed and well shaken it can last for a loooong time.

Mind you, this is taken verbatim from the e-mail, and if you don't believe me, I'll email you a screenshot. If you think about it, if there is no water in polish and bacteria can't grow, it's not sensible to throw out a polish after 1-2 years, especially if it's nearly full. Cosmetic companies make money off of repeating customers, thus, the more often you rebuy sometimes, the more money they make. For some things, sure, you're always going to need soap, shampoo, and conditioner. Of course, bad lip gloss (after two or three years) can cause bumps and rashes to form on your lips, and bad mascara (up to a year if you don't use it every day, but generally the rule is 3-5 months) could cause eye infections. But all of your old nail polishes aren't going to give you an infection or irritations. Many ladies on the nail board at MUA have polishes that are as old as I am and are still in perfect condition!

Of course, as with any of your other makeup, use your best judgment...if a polish has separated to the point where no matter how much you shake it's not going to mix, it's definitely time to toss it!

Also, don't believe the fools that say that nail polish lasts longer if you refrigerate it. First of all, do you really want your nail polish chemical smells mixing with your delicious leftover pasta? Not even all the baking soda in the world could absorb those smells! Besides, what if a bottle breaks in the fridge? Not only would the cold make it incredibly difficult to remove, you would ruin lots of food. Basically, polish and food shouldn't mix on a daily basis. Not to mention I would rather have more space in my fridge for food! As long as you don't expose your polish to lots of direct heat/flame, your polish will still last.

Lastly, this rule of nail polish lasting for decades doesn't apply to water-based polishes, because water is a breeding ground of bacteria. Not sure what the shelf life of a water-based polish is, but I would probably say at the most, 3-6 months, the same as mascara. To be honest, I don't think water-based polishes are a good investment. Yes they might dry faster but as an environmental sciences junkie, I know how much bacteria loves water...this is purely a personal preference though.

My polish is gloppy and thick, that means it's bad and I should toss it
Well now this is where my blog title comes in! A thick polish can be saved with a little thing called nail polish thinner. It can be found at Sally's Beauty, $3.99 for 118ml/4 oz (or $3.49 with a Sally's card); or, Long's Drugs and local beauty supplies may carry some too. Seche Vite also has their own brand of thinner. A little bit of thinner goes a long way and I think this should be a staple for anyone with more than 20 polishes. Just add a couple of drops to your nail polish and shake. Let the polish settle for a minute, then test the consistency on a piece of tape. You can always continue to add thinner, it's not a one-time only thing. And if you find that you've OVER thinned a polish, leave the cap slightly ajar and it will thicken with time. Do not add nail polish remover to a polish to thin it, removers generally contain water as an ingredient, which means possibility of bacteria! Not to mention it can ruin a polish. Stick to specifically nail polish thinners, a little goes a long way.

Now, another thing you can do to prevent polish from future thickening is adding ballz. What are ballz? Well, most nail polishes come with tiny metal balls. When you shake a bottle of nail polish (though technically you are supposed to roll them gently between your hands, I am impatient and I shake and then wait for a polish to settle before applying), the metal balls travel through the polish to keep it from becoming too thick. Of course, sometimes polishes with balls get thick, but generally the balls help all the chemicals in the polish mix together so that everything is consistent.

The amazing ladies at MUA discovered that BB gun balls could be used in polish bottles the same way. Make sure they are metal, preferably stainless steel. You can get them at any sporting goods store and even at some Walmarts.

the white dots on my nails are some type of fungus from wearing too much nail polish
I don't believe there is such a thing as too much nail polish. Ok, yeah the chemicals stink (always polish in well-ventilated areas!), and you should really ask your doctor if you can polish if you are pregnant, but nail polish cannot itself cause fungus. If you actually DO have fungus, yes, commonly an early symptom is a white or yellow dot under your fingertip. But please keep in mind that nail fungi causes nails to have crumbly, ragged edges and that it occurs most commonly in moist environments and therefore targets feet/toenails the most. This is also why you want your nails to be free of moisture before you polish, because polish can trap unwanted moisture against your nails. Source & follow-up reading: The Mayo Clinic: Nail Fungus

So if it's not fungus, what are those funky, unattractive white dots? Everyone gets them! It's a common problem with a fancy name, leukonychia. The most common cause of this problem is trauma inflicted at the base of your nail, where your nail is formed. However, this condition may also be hereditary as well. Leukonychia can be caused by picking at or biting your nails too. Since I'm fairly clumsy, I have my fair share of white dots. They're not like bruises that appear right after injury, so it's hard to pinpoint an exact form of injury caused to the nails. If you think you're a generally safe person and not prone to self-injury as I am, it may also be a zinc deficiency. Use your best judgment and add a multivitamin to your daily routine. If the white dot is at the very base of your nail, I'm so sorry to say that it will only disappear in 8 months, the time it takes for nails to full grow out. Sources and follow-up reading: WebMD: What are These White Spots?, Wikipedia: Leukonychia

Ok, so what's with these ridges on my nails???
There are two types of ridges, horizontal and vertical, and both can be rid of by gently buffing. Vertical ridges are normal, and they happen as your age. Horizontal ridges could be because of trauma (like leukonychia!), or they could be an indication of an underlying health problem. Now, don't start panicking just yet. As always, use your best judgment. If you have a family history of thyroid problems, consult your family doctor because it's better to be safe than sorry. One way to tell if your horizontal ridges should be a cause of concern is if they come back after buffing them out. If they don't come back, it's probably trauma, but if they reappear within a week to a month after buffing them out, consult Google, WebMD, The Mayo Clinic and a doctor.

My polish stained my nails, the polish must be bad and I need to stop wearing polish
There are many different reasons why your nails may be stained. Often UV rays act negatively with polish, causing discoloration on your nails, particularly if you're not using base coat. Another reason for the "Cheeto Dust Yellow" stained nails can be the polish itself. Darker colors will have heavier pigmentations that can leave a mark on your nails no matter which base coat you use, because of chemical reactions between the pigmentations (particularly blue), the base coat, and the nail itself. The bottom line? While sometimes you can't help the way nail polish stains your nails, there are many remedies for it.
  1. Leave your nails naked for a long time until the color fades. Well, it's a very old-school method, but the ideas below are more ideal for those who can't bear to part with their beloved polishes.
  2. always use a basecoat. Even though sometimes basecoats won't help, there are some good ones that that can lessen the damage. Sally's Beauty has a good selection of 'stain-blocking basecoats.' Barielle Camouflage and Nailtek II Foundation are two good ridge-fillers that also lessen the damage of staining.
  3. soaking your nails in lemon juice with some water will help. This is a natural cure that definitely works. It doesn't take out all the stains, but it definitely helps (soak no longer than 2-3 mins). Another natural remedy is vinegar
  4. soaking your nails in water with a couple of drops of bleach may also help. Like with lemon juice, soak no longer than 2-3 minutes...the best way is to dip an old toothbrush in the mix and scrub a bit on each nail. With this way you could also use a bit more bleach in your bleach/water mixture. But not too much! (I also hear that hydrogen peroxide works!)
  5. denture cleaner in water. Hey, don't knock it until you've tried it. And it helps if you have an older relative.
  6. "Bubble White," a product from Sally's works about the same way that denture cleaner does apparently. Bubble White is pretty helpful, but not a miracle worker
  7. buffing your nails can definitely rid your nail of the physical stain. Be forewarned though, over-buffing can make your nails too weak. I like those cheap buffers, the ones at the drugstores for like 99 cents or $1.99, with the instructions printed on them. Those buffers tend to be on the weaker side, so they are good at removing stains and ridges without thinning your nails too much.
Since nails are basically dead proteins I can always put polish on them.
Well, yes. You can always put polish on your nails, there is certainly no rule that says you can't. Nails can essentially "breathe" around polish. However, I'm generally inclined to believe that it wouldn't hurt to let your nails be naked once in a while. After all, we came into this world without polish on! Though imagine if we could....ok, I'm digressing. My point is, sometimes even with all the cuticle oil and hand lotions in the world, the routine of harsh chemicals like acetone can severely dry out your nails and especially the areas around your nails. Nails naturally have a balance of oils and moisture. In my opinion, a crucial step in having healthy nails is letting them be naked sometimes. So if it's a lazy Sunday and no one is going to see you nails, if you can stand it just take off your polish, kick back with a nice book and a refreshing drink, and just let your nails be nails! After all, nails can also be an indication of your health. On the TV show House, M.D. (awesome show by the way), there's an episode where House diagnoses a woman with scurvy (Vitamin C deficiency) after her toenail polish has been taken off and he notices discoloration. If you think that something about your nails isn't right, definitely consult your physician.

Well, I think I covered just about everything. Let me know if I've missed something and there'll be a part two!

Nail Polish to the Rescue!

Polish is a lot more than just for beauty, it's very versatile! Check out some ways polish can be of use around the house from ThrifyFun:
  1. Secure A Screw: Tighten loose screws on cabinets or pot handles by brushing some clear nail polish on screw threads. Insert the screw and let dry before using again.
  2. Stop Tarnish: Keep costume jewelry from turning black with a coat of clear polish.
  3. Seal An Envelope: Brush polish on the underside of the flap.
  4. Mend A Screen: Stop a small hole from getting any bigger by brushing a little clear nail polish over the spot.
  5. Smooth A Hanger: Don't throw out hangers, just brush polish over the rough edges on wooden or plastic hangers.
  6. Stop A Pantyhose Run: Put a small run with clear nail polish, this will stop the run until you can replace them.
There are some other uses that I've heard of, such as marking different containers with nail polish for little kids and dabbing some clear polish over the threads of a button so that the button will stay on...I've actually done this on some of my shorts over the weekend!

Most of these practical uses call for clear polish though. Topcoats and basecoats will work fine, but if you can't bear the thought of wasting a precious drop of your favorite topcoat/basecoat on something as trivial as a button, both NYC and Wet n Wild sell clear polishes for 99 cents.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Feels Like Spring!

Even though winter has been over for a while, I've been reluctant to give up my beloved vampy shades because it just hasn't felt like spring, but today we actually had a full day of sunshine! It really made me want to put on a shade like this one:
Essie is universally known for their well.....practical colors, so to speak. Their collections have many sheers, pink, and neutrals. However, Funships is a great color for spring. It's a slightly bright pink with leanings towards coral in real life, and as you can see above, it's a great color to pair with mint green.

Funships was part of Essie's Cruise Collection a few years back but it should still be relatively easy to find wherever Essies are sold since it's a fairly popular color. If you're interested in the Rimmel Royal Mint color, I found it at Big Lots for $1.

Template Issues

Apologies for the lack of color right now, I realized my old template was cutting off my pictures so I switched it for another one. It's rather boring, but I'm searching for a better free template so hopefully I'll have a better one up by the end of the weekend!

Simple and Classic

I'm a huge fan of the UK pop band, Girls Aloud. I have a soft spot in my heart for British singers in general...Spice Girls, Beatles, Keane, Coldplay, Leona Lewis, Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen, Artic Monkeys, Westlife... What can I say? As someone who was classically trained in singing, I just like the way their music sounds and the way they sing. It's more "proper" to my ears (anyone who's taken singing lessons knows what I'm talking about, right?).

Anyway, the girls of Girls Aloud are a pretty big fan of having french manicures on their tips. In the earlier days it was really obvious and had that really blatant fake look. However, in this picture, while all the girls are sporting french manicures, it looks really simple, clean and fresh:
L-R: Sarah Harding, Kimberley Walsh, Cheryl Tweedy-Cole, Nicola Roberts. Not pictured: Nadine Coyle, but she probably would have been sporting french tips too.

The french manicure is a timeless look. Lately it's gotten a lot of flack because it seems like everyone and their mothers sport fake french nails, the ones with very white and very rectangular tips. However, technology has improved, and this applies to nails as well. It's most likely that the nails the girls are sporting are fake, but you can see that it still looks pretty natural. There are different sorts of fake nails now that can look a lot more natural than the thick, cartoony acrylic french tip ones.

If you want to try doing your own french nails, there are lots of different tips and tricks. One of the easiest things for beginners are those french manicure strips you can get at any store that sells nail polish. Another way is freehanding. This can be very difficult, but there are definitely ways to accomplish this without making it look like your white polish exploded on you.

For both ways, the white tip is applied first, and then a sheerer color is applied over it as the base color. Note though that if you're using the french guides, the opposite is true (base applied first, then use the stickers for the tips). One way is to carefully trace the natural tip outline of your nail where it grows out and then correcting any mistakes with a qtip and nail polish remover or a correcting pen. Another way is to be sloppy and paint the white tip unevenly, and then use a small brush (it doesn't have to be a specific brush, I know people who use old paintbrushes) dipped in remover to form the outline. The second way is more preferred by beginners but the former is more suited to perfectionists and experts, I think. The only drawback of the second way, though it sounds faster and easier, is that if you're in too much of a rush then all your outlines may be different, as opposed to tracing your natural outlines.

There are also some great instructional videos on Youtube that you can look at for inspiration. When done right, the french manicure can look natural and perfect.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Celebrity Polish Watch

It's always refreshing to see gorgeous people with lots of money who are also humble and supporting of charities and human rights issues. Take for example the two lovely ladies below:
Left: Bar Rafaeli
Right: Petra Nemcova

These two famous models (Bar is a gorgeous Israeli supermodel, Petra is a very well-known Czech model and founder of the Happy Hearts Fund) came out Tuesday night for the Somaly Mam Benefit at NYC’s Tribeca Rooftop Grill. While Petra's nails look polished but bare, Bar sports bright red, almost orange, tips. This is a great way to spice up an outfit that is just one color (as spotted here) and is an especially nice contrast to black. Notice too how Bar's nails aren't too long either. I have nothing against long nails, but her length in this picture is perfect considering the circumstances. Longer nails, with that color, would have been flashier and distracting.

Colors similar to what Bar is wearing: Color Club Neon Red Orange, Creative Nail Design Tabloid, Essie E! Live at the Red Carpet, Orly One Night Stand, OPI Vodka & Caviar, NYC Big Apple Red Creme.

Picture source: Just Jared
Charity: Somaly Mam Foundation

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

OPI Light My Sapphire

Black polish has been around for a while but it was always tabooed by mainstream America. In the last couple of years however, the powers that be (fashion industry, media, the general consumer) have decided that vampy colors are chic and "in." Now colors that normally would be reserved for emo, punk, or gothic social groups (I hate branding, but what can ya do?) are no longer looked down upon.

If you're like me though, I was a little hesitant to make the jump from all pinks to straight black. There's where OPI Light My Sapphire comes in. Affectionately abbreviated as LMS, this polish will always have a place in my heart as my first OPI and first vampy shade. I think it's a very versatile shade, great for all skin tones because of its abundance of very fine microshimmer. This shade is a very blackened blue. Indoors, it looks black unless you look closely. Outside, in the sun, you can see that it looks like a very dark navy.

See how gorgeous it is? In reality the very fine shimmer is what makes it so special, it keeps the polish from looking flat and uninteresting

As you can see from my pinky, it looks different in the shade compared to in the sun. It's quite a gorgeous color though, don't you think?

Light My Sapphire is a pretty easy-to-find color. It's available at online etailers, Ulta stores, and most local beauty supplies that carry OPI.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Back to Basics: Applying nail polish

This ongoing series will tackle basic nail health, but since this is my first REAL post, let's talk polish, ok?

  • start with clean nails, to help your polish adhere better. Lots of people have different methods of getting all the oil off your nail so that a base coat sticks better. Here are some ways:
    • swiping the nail with some vinegar
    • swiping the nail with your nail polish remover
    • applying some hand sanitizer
  • apply a coat of base coat. This helps your polish color stays on longer, and most protect your natural nail from the staining that the polish color and the sun can cause. Some base coats are also treatments to strengthen your nails, others help fill in natural ridges so that the polish goes on smoothly
  • apply polish. Many companies will advise you to do only 1-2 coats, but to be honest it all depends on the type of polish. Most will require more than 1 coat. Do however many coats you want, though as a warning, past 5 coats makes a polish harder to dry, harder to remove, and may be thick and look bad because of dragging.
  • apply top coat. Top coats also help your color stay on longer by sealing in your color and making it less susceptible to chipping. It also brightens a dull finish, making it shiny and pretty.
**Remember to always apply your polish in well-ventilated areas. Keep your door open, have a window open, or turn on some small table fans/standing fans to encourage circulation of air in the room (ceiling fans can make your polish dry funky sometimes)**

I will definitely go more in depth about top coats and base coats later, don't you fret (there's a lot of ground to cover!). This is just the tip of the iceberg, but if you're not a die-hard polish fan, I will also include lots in my back to basics series to make your nails look fabulous without having to get a professional manicure every week. So stick around!


If you've chanced upon this website, you're either a polish fanatic or looking to learn more about nail maintenence and nail polish. Well congratulations, you're in the right place! When I was little, I would always bite my nails. Nail polish cured my bad habit and I haven't bitten in 1.5 years! Well, ok, I've slipped once or twice. But it's a vicious cycle to break. Anyway, there aren't many blogs out there about polishes, the most comprehensive and dedicated one so far is All Lacquered Up . But if there are a zillion makeup blogs out there, why not another one dedicated specifically to nail polish, right? It's pretty, yes, but it also brings joy to people and makes people happy (like me, since I no longer have to be self-conscious about my nails). In the end though, it's more than a superficial aspect, it's a statement and a lifestyle.

*please note that I started this blog on blog.com, but I was stupid and signed up using the wrong e-mail address. Since I'm too impatient for the support staff at blog.com to help me and I'm more familiar with blogger anyway, I decided to move this over to blogspot. But please don't accuse me of ripping off another site because I did actually start this on another site.*
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