I am proud, very proud, to let you all know that I haven’t bitten my nails in over a month. Yes. Thank you, thank you. I can now pick coins off the floor, clack my fingertips on a counter when I’m waiting for something, and peel the backs off of stickers! Oh! Thank you, thank you, PLEASE stop all this applause and cheering, though, I have to get on with my article. So, yeah, it’s great. But, a lot of upkeep. If they aren’t strong and looking perfect, I start to fuss with them and when I fuss with them, I inevitably start to bite. So. Constant upkeep it is! And after so much practice, I can execute a pretty damn profesh at home manicure. Here are my essential tips for makin’ that manicure pop!

  • Clear your schedule for at least an hour. Or the length of one of your favorites movies. Or the length of two Property Brothers. You don’t want chores to ruin your manicure, do you? Nah! Don’t let it. Prepare for your manicure time. Or put stuff off, if you like to live on the edge. I like to do it all before hand because I feel guilty being leisurely when I know I have chores or homework.
  • Set up a li’l station. Get your base coat, top coat and polish all together with the caps already loosened. Grab Q-tips, nail polish remover, nail file, and clippers. Pop the cap off the cuticle cream. Lay down a paper towel. And get to work.

    OPI's Nail Envy ($19, CVS but it's cheaper on Amazon)

    OPI’s Nail Envy ($19, CVS but it’s cheaper on Amazon)

  • Use a nail strengthener. I love OPI’s Nail Envy and have been using it for years. It’s not a super viscous formula like other nail strengtheners, so it’s a great base coat. It won’t add to the layers of polish on top and make your nails fat with product. Plus, it’ll make your nails crazy strong. Your nails will be able to pull a semi truck. Your nails will be the next heavyweight champion of the world.
  • Take your time. With polish, taking your time and getting it right the first time will save you time in the end. Being extra careful and especially making sure I don’t paint my cuticles on accident is where I spend the bulk of my manicure time.

    Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat ($10, CVS)

    Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat ($10, CVS)

  • SECHE VITE DRY FAST TOP COAT. I cannot stress this enough. My at home manicures before this must’ve taken, like, at minimum, five hours. This is the fastest drying top coat ever. Not quite in the blink of an eye, but pretty goddamn close. If you’re the most impatient human in the universe and even this doesn’t dry your nails fast enough, you can also dip your fingertips in ice water for five minutes.

    Nicole High Shine Top Coat ($8, CVS)

    Nicole High Shine Top Coat ($8, CVS)

  • High shine. No one likes dull nails. Well, okay, fine, I’m sure someone is into that. But, most peeps aren’t into dull polished nails. I just started using Nicole’s High Shine Top Coat and it’s great! Again, like Nail Envy, the formula — goddamnit, I keep spelling formula “formular” which reminds me of that one Spongebob episode…you know…”Ravioli ravioli give me the formuoli”? Wow. Anyway, the formula isn’t viscous so it’s a quick last step that you don’t have to think too hard about.

    Bag Balm ($5, drugstore.com)

    Bag Balm ($5, drugstore.com)

  • Care for your cuticles. I like to do this last while my nails are drying. Gives me something to do with my hands that won’t ruin my manicure so I don’t get bored waiting for them to dry. I switch between using Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream and Bag Balm. They’re both great. But, Burt’s Bees smells better (that sentence was alliteration porn).

    Essie "Style Cartel" and "Partner in Crime"

    It was really difficult getting my hands to do the Check-Out-My-Sweetass-Nail-Polish pose. Essie “Style Cartel” and “Partner in Crime”

Check out Essie’s Fall 2014 collection. My two favorites are “Style Cartel” (lovin’ that deep cobalt) and “Partner in Crime” (who doesn’t want fingertips that look like chocolate?!). OPI’s Fall 2014 collection is great too! Cool pastels a earth tones.

And, if all else fails, and you are still super terrible executing at home manicures, get yourself down to Jack London Square’s Rock and Polish and get ready to be pampered! Check it out!

And now, “What I Should’ve Said”

These were just the two messages from this 54 year-old man (I am 24...just to put it in perspective) that could fit in the frame. There were others...good grief.

These were just the two messages from this dude in his mid-fifties (I am 24…just to put it in perspective). But, oh, there were others…