How To Remove A Gel Manicure

So you got a gel manicure. It was great! Never have you maintained good-looking, growing nails for two-plus weeks without so much as an impulse filing session. But now you want it gone—and you’d rather not visit the salon again (unless maybe if they offer free Prosecco). The good news is you can do it yourself, at home, with stuff you already own. Here’s how:

Get a gritty nail file. Nothing gentle—almost sand-papery. Start to buff off the first shiny layer of polish so that the nail looks matte and a little sandy. (Remember that there are several layers of gel between your file and your actual nail, so don’t be afraid of scraping off your nail—that’s not going to happen.) Once your manicure has its first layer sanded off, you actually might want to keep it around for a day or two—very deconstructed, very Derelict-chic. Anyone?

For those who want to move ahead with the process, get out your 100 percent pure acetone, cotton rounds, and aluminum foil. No, this isn’t a student production of Breaking Bad, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to do this in a well-ventilated area.

Douse a cotton round in acetone—and I mean douse. The rounds are best because they don’t absorb too much acetone. I’ve tried this removal method with cotton balls, and it doesn’t seem to go as speedily. But if all you’ve got are cotton balls, it’ll work. It just might take longer.

Place the cotton round squarely on your fingernail. You can put a balm over your cuticles for a little protection if you want. Wrap that finger and pad about as tight as you can in aluminum foil (the foil relaxes a lot, so the tighter you can get it, the better). Do that to a whole hand. If you’re super dexterous, do it to both hands at once. If not (and you’re like me), just do one at a time.

Perhaps here’s a good place to mention: this is an ugly process. Please don’t mistake the polish flakes for flakes of your actual nail. That’s not going to happen. Stay calm and soak on.

After about 30 minutes, check to see how much you’re flaking. Some polish will flake right off. Others might require a little encouragement—I use my thumbnail, and it’s great. Push the polish off your nailbed horizontally and gently, and don’t dig in on stubborn spots—just douse another round in acetone and rub a little. Your nail is going to look dry and destroyed, but it’s really an illusion created by the residual polish and acetone. After a round of nourishing cuticle oil, your nails will be gleaming and healthy.

Now, to quote the Bard of our time, maybe if you’re reading this it’s too late—you likely already have a gel manicure you want to get off, and it’s too late to talk about initial pre-mani prep. (Just like one of those very unhelpful “how to get rid of a hangover” articles that starts with—and is almost solely comprised of—“Well, maybe you shouldn’t get so drunk, you know?” And you’re sitting there dying like, why did anyone ever bother writing this?) But it is worth mentioning for next time anyway: If you want to protect your nail (and actually make it stronger and better post-gel), you need a pre-gel treatment known buy the very Ian Fleming name of IBX. It strengthens the nail all while the gel atop is on. So, it’s really like doing your nails a favor every time you get a manicure. Ask for it at your friendly neighborhood salon.

And if you remember one thing from this, please for your sake and your nails, don’t peel the gel off. It’s so tempting. It’s occasionally satisfying, but it also can take off layers of your natural nail in the process. “I compare nails to hair a lot,” says Julia Kandelic, creative director at Paintbox, the salon where I got the initial mani you see in the post. “If your hair is damaged and you color your hair yourself, then it won’t look so great. If you have virgin hair and you color it yourself, then it’s fine. Same thing with gel nails. If you’re trying to take gel off a damaged nail then you’re going to have trouble with it yourself and you should let a professional do it. If you have healthy nails and you do it at home, it’s fine.” So there you have it. How to end a gel manicure the safe, at-home way. Try and report back please.

—Trace Barnhill

Photographed by Tom Newton.

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Pink Nail Polish Doesn’t Have To Be Precious

You may think you know pink nail polish. You may think you’ve found the perfect one (and stopped looking to see what else was out there), or you may have given up on the genre altogether. Either way, it’s time to reevaluate the state of the shade (anticipating the warmer weather and wedding season). Let’s see what else is out there.

For the most conservative among us (who don’t stray far from clear), there’s Essie’s sheers, mostly to give shine—you’d have to layer for color. Consider it a gateway polish—and of course, you’re familiar with the tried-and-true formal and nuptial standbys: those bubblegum and princess shades of opaque OPI polish. Your prom-night manicure choice wasn’t dated—it was classic.

But don’t think you’re limited strictly to shades whose names reference ballerinas and duchesses (lovely as those people are). Pink has Mariah Carey-level range. You can get as bold as you like with corals, raspberries, and the in-between pinky-mauves. Yes, mauve. The ’90s staple is back (even though arguably it never left, if the perennial popularity of Essie’s BBF Best Boyfriend is any indication) and more wearable and ladylike than ever in Burberry Beauty Nail Polish in No. 402 Hydrangea Pink. If you’re feeling the nostalgia factor, try a little opalescence found in Topshop Nails in Sweet and Elite.

And for the thoroughly modern pink-wearer, neon. Don’t think it’s unwearable just because it might glow in the dark. Any bright color can be made non-rave appropriate by overlaying a matte top coat overtop. Overpowering color becomes your new power color. Playfully feminine, yet forcefully present. That’s the power of pink.

Nail Polish in order of appearance: Top Shop Nails in Sweet and Elite, Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Xtreme Wear Nail Color in 178 All Bright, Chanel Le Vernis Nail Color in 575 Starlet, OPI Nail Lacquer in Kiss Me I’m Brazilian, Dolce & Gabbana The Nail Lacquer in Bouganville 233, Smith & Cult in City of Compton, Burberry Beauty Nail Polish in No. 402 Hydrangea Pink, China Glaze Nail Lacquer With Hardeners in Feel The Breeze, Essie Winter 2014 Nail Color in Back In The Limo, Face Stockholm Nail Enamel in 39 Flamingo, Milani Color Statement Nail Lacquer in Corrupted Coral, Deborah Lippmann Nail Lacquer Crème in Sexyback

Nails by Julie Kandalec (Paintbox). Photographed by Tom Newton.

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The 7-Day Manicure, Thanks To Rejuvacote

Over the weekend I ordered my second bottle of Duri Rejuvacote nail strengthener, recommended by my friend, the manicurist and Taylor Swift-approved female rapper. “It’s the best,” was all that she said. I’d dragged her to a licensed technician-only beauty supply shop in Queens so that I could buy bedroom essentials like an acrylic nail polish wall display and a wax warmer. I figured I’d make the most of our trip and dropped the extra $8.

She was right: Rejuvacote is the best. But not just as a nail strengthener, it’s the best base coat I’ve used—ever. Pair with a trusty layer of Seche Vite topcoat, and nail polish will last seven days on my fingers without chipping or peeling. SEVEN DAYS. Just be sure to not set it up for failure by lotioning or oiling up your bare nails before applying. They should be totally clean and dry. For my toes, we’re talking more like weeks—my nails grow faster than the polish wears off. Seriously, you’ll get bored of the color before it starts jumping ship, making a second bottle of Rejuvacote the one thing I bought this week. Though this time, I ordered the 3-free Rejuvacote 2 (on eBay)—we’ll see if the magic’s still there without the formaldehyde.

—Annie Kreighbaum

For more on my spending habits, read the rest of The One Thing series here

The post The 7-Day Manicure, Thanks To Rejuvacote appeared first on Into The Gloss.

The 7-Day Manicure, Thanks To Rejuvacote

Over the weekend I ordered my second bottle of Duri Rejuvacote nail strengthener, recommended by my friend, the manicurist and Taylor Swift-approved female rapper. “It’s the best,” was all that she said. I’d dragged her to a licensed technician-only beauty supply shop in Queens so that I could buy bedroom essentials like an acrylic nail polish wall display and a wax warmer. I figured I’d make the most of our trip and dropped the extra $8.

She was right: Rejuvacote is the best. But not just as a nail strengthener, it’s the best base coat I’ve used—ever. Pair with a trusty layer of Seche Vite topcoat, and nail polish will last seven days on my fingers without chipping or peeling. SEVEN DAYS. Just be sure to not set it up for failure by lotioning or oiling up your bare nails before applying. They should be totally clean and dry. For my toes, we’re talking more like weeks—my nails grow faster than the polish wears off. Seriously, you’ll get bored of the color before it starts jumping ship, making a second bottle of Rejuvacote the one thing I bought this week. Though this time, I ordered the 3-free Rejuvacote 2 (on eBay)—we’ll see if the magic’s still there without the formaldehyde.

—Annie Kreighbaum

For more on my spending habits, read the rest of The One Thing series here

The post The 7-Day Manicure, Thanks To Rejuvacote appeared first on Into The Gloss.

No-Polish Nail Polish

Here we are, nestled squarely in the well-documented and much-loved era of no-makeup makeup, wherein pretty much everyone except Dita Von Teese acts like they haven’t seen a magnifying mirror in the past six months. Sometimes, even when you mean to, it’s difficult to be honest about how much makeup you’re wearing. Can you really say you’re barefaced if you’re wearing BB cream? Can you claim you’re not wearing mascara and neglect to mention your eyelash tint? I’ve come to live under a general rule that, conversationally, you’re allowed to say you’re “not wearing makeup” if you’re wearing tint, concealer, mascara, balm, and powder. So, basically, just not color.

In this paradigm, there’s also no-makeup makeup for your nails—everything but color—namely cuticle remover, cuticle oil, nail primer, base coat, and top coat, brilliantly conceived and formulated by that best friend you haven’t met yet, Deborah Lippmann. And if you’re like me—part of the Collect-All-Five generation—you’ll appreciate that the set can be bought in installments.

The merits of the Cuticle Remover and Cuticle Oil I’ve lauded elsewhere. The 2 Second Nail Primer is the chemical lynchpin here—prepping, rinsing, scouring, and filling the nail all in two seconds. It does that invisible work that you think you can live without until you see how good the result is. The work you can see is done by the Fast Girls Base Coat. Need I even mention how laughably superfluous I used to think this was? “Scoff” is the word—I’ve scoffed. Not only did I think it was unnecessary altogether—let’s just slather on that glitter!—but I also couldn’t imagine a difference between this and the 99 cent Wet ‘n Wild offering. How wrong I was.

The subtlety of shine and thinness of the formula is what really makes DL’s base coat a no-makeup makeup product, just like a good tinted moisturizer. It’s healing and filling enough to even out your nails, but thin enough so you can still see your natural ridges and nail texture. Honestly, you could believe that you had buffed, (actually) bare nails. That’s the smooth, toned-down radiance you get—not that thick, glue-like 99 cent clear polish that globs on like melted plastic. Add the Addicted to Speed Top Coat, and this healthy shine is staying around all week.

Of course, I can’t be sure yet that my own set is complete. Maybe I’ll finally acquire The Cure, Lippmann’s super award-winning cuticle cream and start proselytizing about a nail makeup sextet. But for now, I’m doing these five steps. My whole routine takes about eight minutes—longer than necessary because I like to include a little nail bed massage with the Cuticle Oil. But this stuff dries super-fast. I don’t mean the kind where you think it’s dry but when you wake up you’ve got little ridge marks from your sheets imprinted on your nails. I mean that in 10 minutes you could be taking boxing class, assured your nails are solid.

And on top of it all, these bottles are a thing of beauty. No need to stash these away under the sink in that free beauty bag you got with-purchase in high school that houses the rest of your crusted, half-empty polishes. Leave these out on a mantle, jewel tones sparkling in the sunlight.

—Trace Barnhill

Photos by Tom Newton. Read more Nails here.

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