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Friday, February 27, 2009

Professional manicures no longer fit your budget? Here’s how to pay less or to do-it-yourself like a pro.

Abandon acrylics: Foregoing fake nails is a real money saver, but removing acrylics is tricky, time consuming and best left to a pro.

Reduce your manicure budget: every other manicure, get a polish change instead.

Picking polish: Essie,($8) Opi,($8.50) and Creative Nail Design,($6) cost twice as much as Maybelline, but these brands brush on smoother and stay on longer than others, which is why professional manicurists use them.

Color cues: light shades are most forgiving and the finish looks better, longer. With fashionable dark colors, smudges, sloppy application and chips are obvious.

Do it yourself:
1. Shape: With an emery board, file nails across the tips, in one direction. Only file sides or corners to smooth nicks.
2. Condition: Massage cuticle conditioner into cuticles and nail beds. Next, gently nudge cuticles down using a cotton swab or an orangewood stick. Wash and dry hands. Best bets: Creative Nail Solar Oil,(½ oz, $5.50), prevents cuticles and nails from becoming brittle and promotes healthy nail growth. Cheapie petroleum jelly also works well.
3. Color: Apply a ridge-filling base coat, so color has a flawless surface to adhere to. Follow with two coats of color, then clear top coat. To do, apply enamel up the center--from cuticle to nail tip--and then up each side of the nail; let dry a few minutes between coats and thirty minutes after top coat has been applied.
4. Maintain: Every few days, apply a fresh layer of top coat so your manicure lasts longer.

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