Ah, the price of beauty: When it’s time to remove our lustrous gel manicure, we’re left with scraggly nail beds. Yikes! Before brittle nails turned us off from gel lacquer for good, we asked Julie Kandalec, a celebrity manicurist in New York City for the 4-1-1 on preventing shredded beds and keeping tips in top shape.
Survey the salon “Going to a reputable salon is most important for a safe gel experience,” she says. “When the product is improperly applied or removed, it can compromise the top layer of the nail.” CND Shellac and GelColor by OPI let you search for a trustworthy location near you.
Remove wisely “Be sure the gel polish is being removed properly to preserve the health of your nails,” Kandalec says. “Most brands should come off with soaking. Never, ever pick it or let someone file gels off!”
Take a break She recommends doing two to three sessions of gel polish for no more than two weeks per manicure (the longer you leave them on, the more time the molecules have to crosslink, making the gel more difficult to remove). Then remove the polish and do regular manicures for at least a month before going back to gels.
Heap on hydration Be sure to properly moisturize nails and cuticles both during and after the removal process. Kandalec recommends applying cuticle oil at least once a day to keep nails strong between appointments.
—By Cody Marick, beauty intern
When Senior Editor Bethany Gumper came by our desk showing off her DIY nail art, we had to share: The dual-toned mint green and purple manicure is perfect for late spring/early summer, and looks intricate but is super-easy to do. She modified these simple instructions from Julie Kandalec, a celebrity manicurist in New York City in our May 2012 “Nail It!” feature:
- Paint on two coats of a base color, like mint green, and let your nails dry.
- Using an accent color, such as lilac, swipe two more coats over half of your nail.
- Finish with a topcoat for shine and staying power.
When the Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour in April arrived at my desk a few months back, I couldn’t help but be delighted: A nail polish with my name on it— literally! I instantly fell in love with the rich rose hue, but have used it only once so I can preserve the limited-edition lacquer.
Tell us: Have you found a beauty product with your name on it? If so, what was it, and did you save it?
Manicures are my guilty little pleasure– they never fail to make me feel clean and polished (pun intended)! To celebrate the season and spice up my nails, I chose OPI Nail Lacquer in Big Apple Red for my most recent mani. I love pairing the polish with a vibrant red lipstick because it adds a little extra holiday cheer to my style. The classic crimson will last you through the season’s parties and is a chic way to punctuate your look all year long.
Tell us: What’s your favorite nail color for the holidays?
—By Leah Cayson, beauty intern
Last week, I was lucky enough to get to mix my very own shade of nail polish with lacquer queen Deborah Lippmann herself, who’s famous for her stunning, outside-the-box shades and chunky glitter finishes. She and her talented staff very patiently guided me as I blended tiny drops of saturated yellow-red, black, yellow, white, and ruby pigments in a lacquer base to create a dusty lilac hue. Here’s a peek at my workstation (before and after!):
Below, the finished product, which I named Tough Love, since it took so much time and effort to get just right. I now have a profound appreciation for the skill it takes to create something as deceivingly simple-sounding as a nail polish!
To coincide with this week’s U.S. Open Tennis Tournament, nail polish brand OPI is launching the last set of lacquers in the Serena Williams Glam Slam! Collection: Pros & Bronze, a sparkly pinkish-gold (below, left), and Love is a Racket, a shimmery red/fuchsia hybrid (below, right). We had the privilege of having lunch with Serena herself last week when she introduced the collection—she’s absolutely gorgeous in person and has incredible style. See above for a (slightly blurry) shot of us together. Here’s what the nail enthusiast—she went to school to become a manicurist!—had to say at the lunch:
“Once I narrow down the color family that I want, I choose a nail shades based on their names—one of the reasons I love OPI is because they have the best names! I love nails because on the court I don’t always feel attractive with all the grunting and sweating that comes with playing, so I use nail polish to make myself feel pretty and confident. You can be glamorous and strong at the same time!”
We usually stick to solid polish on our nails, but these funky new trends may inspire us to expand our horizons:
This twist on the classic French manicure has been hot since it appeared on the runway at numerous shows this spring, and the likes of fashion risk-takers such as Rihanna and Lady Gaga have been seen wearing it.
When we saw this outside-the-box nail trend, we couldn’t help think of a little spring ladybug (admit it – you see it too!) The flirty and feminine split nail is a fresh way to wear your favorite spring hues. While this, and the half moon above, are styles better left to nail technicians, we think the split nail is definitely worth a salon splurge.
A matte finish is a cool switch from the traditionally glossy nail. A product like Butter London’s Matte Finish gives any polish a matte look in one coat.
We usually try to avoid chipping our polish, but the new crackle lacquers actually add a textured, chipped look to nails. We’d layer a crackle top coat like OPI Black Shatter over our regular hue for a fun night out with friends. Which of these nail trends will you try?
—By Lindsay Richardson, beauty intern