Step Up Your Nail Game

Have you ever just looked at someone and noticed their perfect nails? (Maybe it’s just the stylist in me…) I love looking at all of the crazy, beautiful nails right now. If you go on Pinterest or Instagram, you almost can’t avoid these tiny works of art. There are so many different kinds of nails now it is hard to decide what is best. Let me walk you through a few options.

Gel Polish by @urbanhairbydanielle

If you have beautiful nails already, or want something low damage and low commitment, a basic polish or Gel polish (shellac) are going to be your best option. Basic will last you a few days to a week if you are lucky. It is a great option for an evening out. Gel Polish lasts about two weeks. It is cured under a LED or UV light. I remember when these came out. They were such a game changer. You can have beautiful polished nails that stay shiny for two weeks. Only catch with these is they have to be soaked off with acetone remover. You can do them at home with the right equipment. It’s just time consuming because they require 4-5 layers of product and about 30-60 seconds per coat. Totally worth it though.

If you are like me and don’t want the constant commitment of artificial nails but you love the look, you need to try press on nails. Now I’m not talking the barbie design nails with the stickers to attach them you got when you were a kid. I’m talking beautiful, you can’t tell they are press on nails. You can get the traditional plastic ones, or they have gel ones now that you can soak off. I am obsessed! These are amazing and so easy to do yourself. If you use enough glue they last about 10 days. Just match up the best size, shape the cuticle edge and glue it on. Beautiful. And you can get them in any color or design imaginable. One thing to note is these are not made for constant wear. You need to make sure to give it a little break in-between uses. If water gets trapped, you could get nail fungus and that is no fun. You can find these at almost any store now in the beauty section. Kiss nails make some gorgeous ones.

Now we are onto the Artificial Nails section. This encompases your acrylic, gel, polygel, dip powder and fiberglass enhancements. With these nails you will find yourself at the nail salon about every 2 weeks. You can do some of these at home if you get a kit but they can be messy and take a ton of practice to get right. These nails, if not done properly, can be damaging to your natural nail. One thing to watch for is the dremel. Quite often I see nail salons using a drill on the natural nails. This is unnecessary damage. The purpose of roughing up the nail bed is to prep the nail to remove oils and give the product something to adhere to. This can easily be done with a basic file. Now an exception would be a fine grit drill in the hands of an experienced Nail Tech. The dremel is generally used to shape the artificial nails once hardened, and this is usually fine. Check your state laws though, because in some states it is illegal to use it in salons. All of these nails have pros and cons. There are so many different ones, some may work well for you and others not.

Powder Dip Nails by @cosmo.summer

I currently love the Dip Powder nails. These can be used with tips for length. They go on easy, and when removed properly, they don’t leave your nails soft and torn up. Two weeks is a pretty average lifespan for these nails. Only downside is they have to be completely removed every time. But you don’t need polish with these because the color is in the dip, and that means no chipping! Yay!

Fiberglass is less popular now, but still makes my list. It is done with coats of resin with a layer of fiberglass in-between. These are super lightweight and can have tips added. They also are really clear when done right, so you can wear them without polish and it looks very natural. 

Powder Dip Nails by @cosmo.summer

Also less damaging than some of the heavier nails. If you find a salon that offers them, give it a try. They are pretty neat.

The last three kind of fall into a group for me. I have worn all three and they were similar. Acrylics are probably the most well known. They are very hard, zero flexibility — you know if you hit it on something. They are done with a powder and a liquid. Shaped with a brush and filed to suit your shape desire. (I love the ballerina shape!) Gels are pretty similar. Difference being the product is already in a gel state that has to be cured with either a light or a liquid. Polygel is pretty new on my radar. It falls right in-between these two. Lighter weight than acrylics. Goes on with a gel and liquid combo, but has to be cured with an LED light. All of these are amazing if you are going to try some nail art. They are thicker so you can put rhinestones or small deco directly in them. You can also use non-acetone remover on them to change your polish at home. These three can be very damaging if you don’t remove them properly. Your nail tech can do that for you. Trust me, it’s easier and less messy.

So many choices. So many ways of doing it. There is no right answer when it comes to nails. Just enjoy. Try something new. Wear that color your thought was too bright. Have those rhinestones put on. 

Life is short. Keep it beautiful!

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