Monday, November 21, 2016

{HOW TO} At Home Gel Manicure

I've always envied girls with good natural nails and even more so those who rock flawless manicures. My nails aren't naturally strong nor have I ever been one with long nails; they just don't grow that way! But as I've gotten older I've put my time and effort into my nail game. At home manicures have been my "new thing". Instead of spending $30 at the salon for a gel manicure, I treat myself to one from the comfort of home.

I often do my nails at night while watching TV. It's just about the only time I'm still enough. In 5 steps and 25 minutes I go from naked nails to a nice manicure that doesn't break the bank. I use the following products and have a 10 day wear challenge shown below.

Step #1
Shape your nails to your length preference and push back your cuticles with an orange stick. Wash and dry your hands, giving attention to your nails making sure they are nice and clean.

Step #2
Using Orly Color Care Polish Bond coat each nail with the liquid bond. This is my favorite base coat. Not only does it dry quickly but it keeps nails from chipping. A base coat is a must. I didn't always use one because of dry time but this brand removes the need to wait for dry nails and keeps the polish "bonded" to my nails.

Step #3
Paint your nails with your polish of choice. I usually apply 2 coats. I am obsessed with Essie polishes and now only use them. I used to wear just OPI but I've discovered that Essie goes on smoother, is less likely to chip and I just love the colors available. What you see in the photo above and in my Day 1 and 10 photos is Essie's Now and Zen Polish. This is a new color in their 2016 collection. It's a fun blueish gray color.

Step #4
Once I've painted all 10 nails I top with Essie Gel Setter Top Coat. This and the base coat mentioned above is what made me a fan of home manicures. This gel coat goes on smoothly and dries in no time. I don't have time to wait for my nails to dry and smudges set me off. The best part? No fancy lamp or light needed. Your nails dry within seconds. Additionally this gel coat does not have to used with gel polish for it to set. It works with basic polishes as well.

Step #5
My hands and nails get really dry thanks to being in water often. Between giving Connor a bath to bathing myself to doing dishes and cleaning to just normal hand washing, I feel as if my hands and nails are just drier than usually. To combat that I use Nuxe Multi-purpose Dry Oil for Face, Body and Hair. I apply it once my nails are completely dry and rub it into my cuticles. I actually received this oil in my Ispy bag. It's a big pricey ($29) so when I run out, I'll buy something more affordable for every day use.

Unlike the gel set you would have applied at a nail salon this polish can be removed easily with regular fingernail polish remover. Your nails are completely damage free.

While some may think that's a lot of chipping for 10 days, I am perfectly okay with doing my nails again at day 10. At this point this polish had been through the ringer: 6 baths for Connor, 10 showers for myself, 9 sinks full of dirty dishes, cleaning the house 2 times which included mopping and access to harsh cleaning chemicals and finally approximately 175 hand-washings.

My nail polish collection has grown over the last year. I am a fan of colors that can be worn year around. I typically pick one seasonal color and wear it till I run out and then pick up a new color the next season. For example I picked up the Now and Zen polish this Fall for today's $10 at Target purchase. Here is my complete Essie collection.

This collection of polishes will last me a while. It seems like a lot of polishes and it is but thanks to clearance deals at Target and and clearance prices paired with coupons at Ulta, I only paid full price for 3 of these plus my top coat. 

Are you a fan of polish like me? What's your favorite color? Mine are Mademoiseele, In Stitches and Cabana Boy. 

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