Perfect Manicures: The Essentials

I love a good manicure. There is nothing better than a fresh mani in the perfect color (and nothing worse than picking a bad polish). For years I was a huge fan of dark shades in the deep red and plum families. I still love those colors, but I always find dark colors chip faster and the chipping is much more noticeable. Dark colors also take longer to dry because they are more pigmented which leaves you at greater risk of smudging too. For the past 6 months or so I have gravitated towards pretty neutrals. Lighter shades are also easier to apply yourself for the perfect at home manicure. I find Essie polishes to be thinner than OPI polishes which makes for faster dry time. Here are my favorite Essie polishes that I think everyone should have in their collection.

Good to Go

Everyone NEEDS this quick dry polish in their collection. It dries your polish super fast and gives it a great shine. This polish costs $10, but is totally worth the splurge. I bring this with me to my nail salon and ask them to use it as my top coat. Most nail salons will charge extra for a quick dry polish. I usually keep a bottle of this polish at home and in my bag for spur of the moment mani/pedis.

Protein Base Coat

Although I am only in my mid twenties, I have noticed my nail beds becoming dry and slightly ridged. When I do my own nails I use this base coat to strengthen and smooth out my nails. It is a bit opaque which seems to serve as a good base for your polish (kind of like an eye shadow primer).


Favorite Light Shades

Shop Till I Drop – A sheer coral

Spaghetti Strap – A light bubble gum pink

Vanity Fairest – A light pink/white with a touch of shimmer

East Hampton Cottage – A light, shimmery white with a touch of pink

Ballet Slippers – A very pale pink; good for French manicures

Sand Tropez – (Not pictured) A light beige with a hint of lilac and grey

Hubby for Dessert – (Pictured Below) A beautiful sheer lilac

Chiffon My Mind – OPI (Not pictured) A pearly semi-sheer white

DIY Mani/Pedi Tips

I love getting my nails done. Sometimes I don’t have the time to stop at the salon or when I am trying to watch my spending I skip salon manicures. Here are a few tips for a great DIY mani/pedi.

  1. Do not leave your nail polish on for longer than a week.
  2. Regularly moisturize your hands and cuticles. I love using extra virgin organic coconut oil and OPI Avojuice lotion. I keep both on my desk at work.
  3. Do not cut your cuticles regularly. Cutting causes your cuticles to become thick. Instead, keep them moisturized and push them back. I will get my cuticles cut once a month or once every other month.
  4. Use a nail file more than a nail clipper. As my nails have gotten more dry, they have also become a bit weak. I find that nail clippers sometimes put too much pressure on my nail better causing white, horizontal bruising. I try to spend the time filing my nails.
  5. Exfoliate your feet in the shower with a pumice stone, apply heavy moisturizer and socks before bed.
  6. Use one a lighter shade for quick, neat application.
  7. Eat healthy and take your vitamins! I have found that taking biotin and multi vitamins daily have greatly improved my nail health. Also, I noticed a HUGE improvement in my nail health when I stopped taking prescription acid reflux medicine.

 What are you favorite polish colors?

xo Miss Alyss

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