If mermaids and unicorns frolicked wildly in pixie-sprinkled waters, AND I dipped my nails into the aftermath, the results would be stunning. In fact, I’d venture to say that they’d be very similar to the effect you see on my nails here, in this photo:
No, I didn’t get a professional manicure. I did my own “unprofessional” manicure in the “comfort” of my own bathroom. It was not a relaxing experience because I was also trying to simultaneously do laundry and answer questions about how long it takes to microwave a frozen burrito. However, it was totally worth it just to see the look on Nate’s face when I was finished.
“Wow!” he said. “In the 18 years that we’ve been married, I don’t think I’ve ever seen your nails looking so nice. Did you file them? It looks like you filed them.”
“Yes, I did.”
“Please tell me you did the toenails too,” he said.
I didn’t answer. I just changed the subject, because no one will ever see my toes, except for the people in my Aqua Fit class at LA Fitness, but I’m planning on distracting them with my fabulous fingernails. I’ll add “jazz hands” to the “rocking horse move” and I’ll be the star of the class. I just know it. In any case, that’s how I changed the subject. I just randomly did the “rocking horse move” and waved my jazz hands around. Nate went back to watching television, so I guess it worked.
Though it’s not my first time giving myself a manicure, it has been so long ago that I had to do some research first. My earliest attempts at a manicure began when I was about eight years old. Someone gave me a “Tinkerbelle” manicure set for Christmas and it came with nail tools and directions. I followed the directions every night before bed for at least a year I think. Obviously, I lost those directions long ago, so I had to find new ones on the Internet. I couldn’t find the exact Tinkerbelle set I used when I was eight, so I had to settle for sources and steps put forth by organizations such as the American Academy of Dermatology Association:
1) Wash hands/nails in warm, sudsy water: The following AADA site on “Tips for Healthy Nails” suggested that I wash my nails first, but I really needed some kind of scrubbing brush to get at some of the dirt trapped under the nails. The following article from the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, suggests a nailbrush or a brand new toothbrush. I’ve never owned a nailbrush—not since my Tinkerbelle set days. However, I happened to have an extra, new toothbrush on hand, which I used to gently lift the dirt out from underneath my nails.
2) Cut the nails straight across with manicure scissors or nail clippers. (I skipped this step from the AADA and used an Emory board to just shape my nails instead.)
3) Never remove the cuticle, according to the AADA. Apparently, removing cuticles can cause them to become tough and nails could get damaged.
4) Use a moisturizing cream on the hands and nails. In a separate article by the AADA titled “Manicure and Pedicure Safety,” moisturizing cream is a must, especially if you’ve used nail polish remover, which can be harsh. (For more information about harsh chemicals and other hazards manicurists and clients may face in a salon, here is a link to a booklet from OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration).)
5) Apply a base coat first and, if you are planning on visiting a salon, you could also supply the technician with your own manicure tools to ensure safety, according to the AADA. (The AADA does not offer “troubleshooting” advice if you get strange looks from the nail technician when you bring your own supplies.)
Finally, the AADA warns the public that artificial nails could encourage fungus growth, so they are not recommended. (Artificial nails also can sometimes just come unglued at awkward moments, such as during a handshake. Not that I would know anything about that.)
Once my nails were dried, I took a picture because I knew this polished, magical look wouldn’t last long. Sure enough, within seconds, I had nicked the polish just a bit while transferring the laundry, but my real goal was to impress my Aqua-Fit class, not the laundry. I’m sure no one in my class will notice the slight imperfection. They’ll be too distracted by the sparkly and glittering bits in the polish. In fact, I’m thinking my razzle dazzled jazz hands may be just enough to revolutionize BOTH the “rocking horse” AND the “swirling tornado” moves.
“I’m a mermaid!” “I’m a mermaid!” I shouted, while twirling before a mirror. And, while sparks flew from my fingertips, for just one moment, I could imagine myself winning a water aerobics showdown with a perfect 10/10 for “style” and “grooming.”
Your Turn: What are your experiences with manicures/pedicures? Do you go to a salon or do you do them yourself? Share your manicure tips and stories below.