Acts of beautifying have long provided me comfort during difficult times. Painting my nails, especially, has been my go-to way to unwind, feel polished (no pun intended!), and experiment with color. While it’s true that manicures probably won’t save the world anytime soon (le sigh), they’re a fun way to spend your time at home, be a little creative (without making a huge investment of time or money), and, well, I don’t think we’ll be going to salons anytime soon, unfortunately.
The following is a round-up of tips and inspiration for a defiantly optimistic mani in quarantine. Enjoy!
Getting Started—The Mani in Quarantine Basics
The No-Polish Manicure
Not every manicure needs polish or color! If you’d like to give your nails a break or just want an ultra-clean and healthy look, try this natural manicure to freshen nails and reduce old stains caused by dark-colored polish. The ingredients required for this DIY are all things you likely have in your fridge or pantry.
The Basic Manicure
If you’d like to master the basic manicure (with polish), follow these steps for cleans lines, even coverage, and long-lasting wear. The process is a bit lengthier than simply slapping down some polish, but the prep involved is worth it! The more you practice, the better you will get at holding the brush and painting, even clean lines. The photo below is from 2014 (another era, indeed!).
How to Choose a Color
The beauty of doing one’s nails is that nothing is permanent or seriously long-lasting, which frees us to choose trendy, bold, wacky, or wild colors with impunity. In sum, when choosing a color, follow your whims! Now that most of us are quarantined at home, we can choose a color based solely on how it makes us feel (vs. will this go with my work attire?, etc).
The simplest thing to do is rifle through your own collection, of course, but if you’re in the mood to support a small business, consider shopping online for one of these toxin-free, cruelty-free polish brands. Also, not listed here is Sundays, another super neat small nail polish business that’s committed to continuing to support its employees even though its salon doors are closed for the time being.
Help! What if I have a gel manicure, but I can’t go to the salon!?
A few weeks ago, in some parts of the country, people were still out and about, so it’s quite possible that some folks have a gel manicure that needs safe removal. Here is a comprehensive guide to removing gel polish without damaging your nails too much. Also, you may want to consider the Sundays Non-Toxic At-Home Gel Remover Kit.
Festive color ideas, please!
Warmer weather is around the corner! Channel the joy of summer with these celeb-approved hues—from Jessica Alba’s classy sandy color to Alessandra Ambrosio’s deep blue.
DIY Your Own Cuticle Oil
Feeling stronger DIY urges these days? Try this simple recipe to make your own cuticle oil. This nourishing blend features myrrh essential oil, a resinous essential oil with antibacterial and soothing qualities. Apply cuticle oil after washing your hands or anytime your cuticles feel dry.
Try a Different Nail Shape
Experiment with a new nail shapes—you may be surprised by how something different really suits you! Such was the case when I tried almond-shaped nails, a shaped that surprisingly made my nails more resistant to breakage and peeling. Here’s a guide to all the different nail shapes!
Experiment with Simple Nail Art
If you’re not very experienced doing nail art, start by keeping things simple and sticking to only two shades. Aim for larger, more basic designs rather than designs that require detail work (unless you have some serious skillz). Here are a few fun ideas!
Have you tried giving yourself a mani in quarantine?
Related: How To Spend Your Stimulus Check The Right Way
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Photo: Mary Hood Luttrell, Peaceful Dumpling