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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Beauty fail: flame nails (with tips on how to totally screw up your manicure!)


If you follow me on Twitter, you might have noticed me mentioning that the number of years it's been since I painted my nails is ... well, it's in the double digits. This week I came back to the fold — hurray!

...Sort of. Maybe it was inevitable that after so long, my first at-home manicure of the century would be a bit of a mangled mess. And so it was. Et voila:

Kindly ignore my short pointer finger nail (which I managed to break like ten seconds before getting out the polish) and the slight chipping (which betrays the dirty little un-secret that I walked around in public with bubbly nails for a couple of days before taking this photograph).

OK, so the edges could use work — but it's been a while. The flames, though? Love them. I'm especially cool with the fact that I painted them free-form with the brush that comes in the bottle. (I mean, if I get a brush made for painting thin lines, maybe they'll actually look really cool next time...) They're not The Best Thing Evar, but they're good enough for me, taking into account that I've probably painted flames maybe twice in my whole life.



The colors? Also loving them. The opalescent white and the slightly sparkly orange were made for each other as far as I'm concerned. Polishes used:

From right to left: Sally Hansen Smooth & Perfect Color + Care in Fog. Essie nail polish in Braziliant. Sally Hansen Diamond Strength Diamond Shine Base & Top Coat.

Now, we come to the whole point of my writing this beauty fail post: the heinous polish bubbles you can see if you look at the enlarged manicure photo. Not cool at all. Possibly the uncoolest thing is that I don't know for sure what caused them.

A quick Google search brings up a ton of recommendations on how to avoid nail polish bubbles. The most useful information I found was from Sally Beauty and The Beauty Department. Of course, I didn't control my variables ahead of time, so I fell afoul of a bunch of nail-painting no-nos, and now I have no clue which one (or ones?) caused the evil bubbling. So I present to you...

How NOT to Have Awesome Nails: Maximize Your Chances of Getting Bubbly Nail Polish!


Follow these tips and you could have awesome toad-skin nails with no effort at all.

  • Don't wash your hands or make sure your nails are clean before painting.
  • Paint your nails in a hot, breezy, humid room.
  • Shake your nail polish vigorously right before you use it.
  • Layer on the nail polish as thickly as you can.
  • Use really old nail polish.
  • Leave the caps off your nail polish bottles whenever possible.
  • Don't let the polish dry between coats.
  • Use short, uneven strokes to paint your nails.

OK, I didn't actually do all of the above things, but I did do a few. I also did a couple of other things that could have been behind the atrocious bubble action:

(a) I cleaned my nails before painting with a moisturizing nail polish remover. If moisture or oils on your nails can make the polish bubble, then a moisturizing polish remover might do the same thing, right? Maybe?

(b) I used Sally Hansen Diamond Strength Diamond Shine top coat. Yeah. When trying to avoid nail polish bubbles, it's probably not a good idea to use a top coat that gets a rating of 2.2 out of 5 on Makeup Alley specifically because it's transformed tons of perfectly lovely home manicures into horrid bubblefests.

I so, so wish Target had had Sally Hansen Double Duty, which gets a 3.8 out of 5 rating on Makeup Alley (and possibly only scores that low because it's better as a top coat than a base coat). This beauty fail may be the price I pay for settling for something other than what I really wanted. Live and learn!

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