Archive for the ‘nails’ Category

Hi all– thanks for your patience with my long absence! I’ve missed you! I started graduate school this fall and life’s been mad. I’ll try my best to continue to post when I get the chance. Now to business: have you caught the new pictures of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan‘s daughter Aaradhya?

She’s a cutie.

But I couldn’t help but notice something else in this photo– Aishwarya’s pretty watermelon pink nail polish! Anything that keeps summer around a little longer works for me. To emulate, try OPI Nail Polish in Strawberry MargaritaMAC Nail Lacquer in Steamy, a summer 2012 release, is also a great option.

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For anyone who likes to have a little (or a lot) of fun with their nails, be sure to try Essie Luxeffects Glitter Top Coat Nail Polish. Above I am wearing the “Shine of the Times” version over a dark purple nailpolish (OPI Lincoln Park After Dark).

Photographs simply DO NOT do this exciting nail polish justice. It looks a million times more sexy in person than it does in my photo above. Angle your fingers one way in the light, the polish looks a metallic emerald; angle them another way, and they shift in color to a metallic blackish-bloody ruby. There are also hints of gold throughout. Not sure why, but the look reminds me of the velociraptors in “Jurassic Park”! Which in my books makes it totally cool. The top coat can be worn over any shade of nail polish, depending on your mood and the effect you’re going for!

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I am a nail polish aficionado.  I love trying new colors and am constantly giving myself manicures.  However, every once and a while I like to go to the professionals.  I’m pretty darn good at painting my nails, but I like having my cuticles taken care of by a manicurist.  When I have my nails professionally done I always have them do a french manicure – the only type of manicure that I’m not very good at doing for myself.  But, unfortunately,  most manicures don’t last for very long and my pretty french-manicured nails are usually gone in under a week.

Enter Shellac.  My manicurist suggested I try this new type of nail polish last week, and since I’m constantly curious about new products I immediately decided to give it ago.  She told me that Shellac is supposed to last for 2 weeks without any chipping, dulling, or fading.  I have to admit I was a little skeptical, but it’s been a week and my nails are still picture perfect.  (The picture below was taken today, a full week after my manicure).  And I wasn’t gentle with them – I cook and clean every day not to mention I’ve been moving boxes from my garage to my basement for the past two days.

So, what is Shellac?  

Shellac was developed by CND (Creative Nail Design) a few years ago.  It’s a celebrity favorite.  It will last for 2 weeks and takes less than 30 seconds to dry under a UV light.  It’s hypo-allergenic and feels exactly like normal nail polish.  It also comes in a multitude of colors.  Also, Shellac is easily removed with acetone-based nail polish removers.

The only downsides to Shellac (as far as I can tell) are the price and the fact that you probably need to go to a manicurist to have it applied.  However, the fact that it lasts so long balances out the higher price.

I would recommend Shellac for women who like having immaculate nails, but have a hard time maintaining their manicures or little patience for repeatedly doing their nails.  I would also recommend getting Shellac if you have a big event, like a wedding.  It’s not the right manicure for someone who likes to change their nail color a lot.  I personally would definitely get Shellac again, but probably only for a french manicure.  It’s the only type of manicure that I know I’ll want for 2 weeks!

Have any of you tried Shellac before?  What are your thoughts?

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Revlon Nail Enamel in "915 Creme Brulee"

I have tried a variety of nail polishes, from drugstore buys to “fancier” brands like OPI and Essie. The two brands I have been most impressed with are Revlon and Estee Lauder. Both offer the best color selection suitable for Indian skintones.

Indian women, fair, wheat complexion, or dark, look best wearing champagne colors. On our skin, champagne is classy, elegant, and wearable for day and night time looks. This is a great alternative for girls who have tried trendy pale pink nail polishes and have been unimpressed with how they looked against our olive, brown, or tan skin color.

Champagne colors are faintly gold, bronze, and silver, often with pink, peach or pearl undertones. They have a metallic shimmer that is not over-the-top, but still attracts attention. My favorite champagne nail polish is Revlon Nail Enamel in “915 Creme Brulee”, pictured above. The key to picking the right neutral color (read: versatile) for us is to choose a champagne that is closest to our skincolor; basically, you’ll look like you had a touch of King Midas’s magic!

My other favorite nail polish look for Indian women is of course the French manicure, but only on skin that is not ashy and dry! Check out my post on having soft, glowing hands to learn more.

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I apologize for the title, but unfortunately I can never resist a good (or bad) pun.  Anyway, moving on to one of my favorite topics: nails!  While there are many, and I repeat many, different aspects of nail care that every woman should know, in this post I’m going to focus color!

Before we get started, I have to confess that I’m a bit of a nail color elitist.  That is, the cheapest nail polish I’ll use is Essie.  I know many people, including Meg, are much less hoity about their nail color and will use less expensive brands, but personally I think that brands like Essie and OPI have better staying power and a much better selection of colors.  This isn’t to say that cheaper drug store brands don’t have good colors, but the fact is that these colors are hidden in a sea of ugly.  It’s hard to find your nice, simple dark red when it’s on a shelf amidst pearlescent corals, metallic lavender, and milky pinks.  So, I would urge everyone to invest in at least a couple nice Essies and OPIs, they’re only a few dollars more and they really are nicer.  Think of them as investment pieces, like a nice pair of black pumps.  You won’t regret it.  I’ll even provide you with a list of colors you should try in two clicks of a mouse!

I think of nail colors as shoes.  You need your ballet flats (your neutral color), your heels (red!), and your boots (dark dark dark).  You also need your socks (base coat) and waterproof spray (top coat).  The rest is gravy.  And, like shoes, when picking out colors you need to try them on!  There’s only one way to know if a color looks good against your skin tone, if you like the texture, if you like the opacity and that’s to give it a go!  And don’t go to your local Target, Walmart, or Meijer for your nail polish, unless you’d also go to those places for your shoes!  Yes, they might have a few bottles of Essie and OPI from a shipment three years ago, but they never, ever have the best colors.  I get almost all my nail polish at Ulta.  The selection is amazing.

As for more Asian specific tips, I have a few.  First and foremost, make sure the color your picking doesn’t blend into your skin.  That kind of destroys the point.  Secondly, unless you’re very pale (like geisha pale) avoid pastels.  Trust me.  For East Asians I would urge you to stay away from colors that make your skin look sallow, mainly colors with a green/blue base.  It brings out the yellow in Asian skin in a not-so-pleasant way.  For Indians I would avoid colors with too much of a pearl-y sheen, as it can make skin look a bit ashy.  And, finally, for the sake of my sanity, I would wish that all people would stay away from metallics that aren’t metal-colored.  They are just plain ugly.

Now, without further ado, my picks!  (unfortunately, I’m having trouble finding OPI shopping links.  Ulta definitely carries this brand, even if their website doesn’t have it  Also, keep in mind some of the colors look way different online)


Essie’s Ballet Slippers $8.00: this is the loveliest light pink color with the perfect amount of gloss and opacity.  Two coats of this and you’ll have the most ladylike nails in town!

OPI’s  Hopelessly in Love $8.50: one of my first (and favorite) expensive nail polish purchases.  It’s slightly peachy, slightly pink, and perfectly glossy.

Essie’s Jazz $8.00: my absolute favorite nail polish.  Ever.  The best light, neutral taupe.  I’m already on my second bottle.  It’s the perfect amount of neutral edgy-ness


Essie’s Really Red $8.00: the name says it all.  This is the most pure, most vibrant red around.  It’s not holding anything back, and I love it for that.

Nars’ Jungle Red $17.00: definitely on the expensive side, but this is the sexiest red around.  A little darker and a little more devious then Really Red, this color is like a coat Meg’s NYX Snow White lipstick for your nails.


OPI’s We’ll Always Have Paris $8.50: an elegant dark red, this nail polish is like red wine.  Plus, who doesn’t love the Casablanca reference?  P.S. this is definitely a color Ilsa would have worn.

OPI’s Lincoln Park After Dark $8.50: I give you a badass dark purple, for when you’re bored of red and looking for some edge.

OPI’s You Don’t Know Jacques $8.50: a dark taupe for when Jazz doesn’t give me enough oomph.  You know how Kate Moss makes smoking look oh so cool?  Well, forget that, instead of wrecking your lungs just put on a coat of this stuff.

Chanel’s Vamp $25.00: this is the original gangster, the one that started it all, the mother of all dark nail polishes.  It  has its own Wikipedia page.  It’s sexy, it’s chic, and it’s Chanel.  Need I say more?

Now, I have a confession to make.  The truth is, while I definitely believe you only need the basics, let’s just say I love love love the gravy (this is evidenced in both my shoe and nail polish collections).  But beware, this is not for the faint of heart and proceed with discretion.  And never forget that while gravy is delicious, one wrong turn and it can turn you  into Harry Potter’s Aunt Marge.

The Gravy

Essie’s Little Brown Dress $8.00:  brown is definitely not for everyone, but I love it.  I love to play little nail tricks with my darks because, well, most of the time people can’t tell.  Then suddenly, the light will hit your hands a certain way and BOOM they’ll see your nails aren’t some dark red, but brown!  How awesome is that?

Nars’ Versailles $17.00: I can’t find this color on the Nars website, but I’m sure you can still find it.  This color lives up to its name, which is saying a lot.  It’s a beautiful champagne-y gold and the best part is, it’s not gaudy at all!

Chanel’s Paradoxical $25.00: to me, this is the most unique and beautiful of shades.  Part purple, part grey, part gold, it’ll hit you a different way the every time.  I sound nuts with that description, but trust me, it’s beautiful.

For a base coat, I think that many brands work.  Look for something personally fitting (i.e. if you need to strengthen your nails, etc.)  For top coats, I use an OPI quick drying one and it’s amazing.  Your nails are dry in 15-20 minutes!

I hope this was helpful and that now you all can go out and nail it!

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