(Get it? "Tips"?? Ha! Above: I got this manicure 8 days ago on April 25th. See photo below for today!)
My fingernails used to suck. When I was nine I remember holding my tiny hands, dirty from playing outside, up to my mothers’ hands.
Why are her nails shaped so much prettier than mine? I had square, short nails with tree grime in them. My mother and my twenty-year old sister had clean, oblong nails to match their long elegant fingers, wrapped around tall mugs of coffee that I wasn’t old enough to drink.
I will never have beautiful nails! I lamented to my stuffed panda. Pammy stared at my hands, disgusted.
And after decades of messing with tips and wraps and acrylics, I’ve finally achieved chip-free, photo-worthy nails. I’ve been complimented up, down, left and right, to the point where withholding this information seems a crime against humanity. So fine! I’ll tell you my secrets. You’re welcome.
One caveat before we proceed: I’m no expert. There are nail blogs that delve into techniques I’ve never even heard of or dared to try, and you can go there for all the in-depth knowledge. This is simply my recipe.
I dare you. Try it. If after three consecutive manicures your real nails haven’t grown out long and strong, I’ll take you to coffee so you can yell at me.
FIRST OF ALL…
FIND THE RIGHT SALON. DON’T CHEAT ON THEM. My salon knows me. They have the right tools, the right artists, and the right products. Keep looking until you find them, and learn everybody’s name.
MAKE SURE THEY HAVE DRILLS. Some places don’t use them—and it’s a huge mistake to sacrifice that precision and cleanliness. They blast away dirt, smooth out the nail beds and the back of the nail. In fact, if they don’t clean out the area under your fingernails with a drill pen, give THEM the finger and leave because what do you people think you’re doing up in here anyway??? They don’t care about you. It’s probably a front for money laundering, that’s what. The devil is in the details, people.
DITCH THE ACRYLICS. (Plug your ears so this doesn’t hurt:) WHY ARE YOU STILL DOING ACRYLICS??? That’s ten years ago AF. If they try to talk you into it, back out the front door slowly and mumble something about a “doctor’s appointment”.
Same with silk wraps. Gel color chips right off of silk wraps, so that combo is a complete waste of money if you want a lasting manicure. Remember the time I had to go to Israel for two weeks with chipped up nails because that dumbbunny in New York City talked me into putting gel color on top of a silk wrap? Of course you don’t. And it chaps my craw!
NOW FOR THE GOOD STUFF…
USE IBD GEL. FROM NOW UNTIL FOREVER, OR UNTIL TECHNOLOGY GETS EVEN BETTER. But how could it get better than this?? IBD gel is the perfect answer for anyone wanting strong, long-lasting, chip-free nails. A couple of coats of this clear, magical gel overtop of your natural nail bed creates a Superwoman version of your own nail.
My nails don’t break anymore. EVER. Somebody pinch me! Why aren’t women running around in the streets, screaming about how FREAKING GREAT IBD GEL IS??? Ok, fine. I will.
PUT GEL COLOR OVERTOP OF THE IBD BASE. I see you doing a silent tally of the dollars. Do you want perfect color, or not? And think about this: how much have you spent trying the WRONG things? If you're like me, you've spent more fixing mistakes than it costs to do it properly up front.
Also, make sure that you do at least two full drying cycles under the UV for each coat. Gel that isn’t cured properly can still chip, even if it’s on top of IBD. Check that they use a high-quality topcoat, too.
The only way these nails should find harm is either a kitchen knife snafu, or an accidental razor blade swipe in the shower. (Been there; done that).
WANT LONGER NAILS? DO A FULL SET OF TIPS ON YOUR FIRST VISIT. IT’S TEMPORARY! Do the tips, lady. You only have to do it once if you maintain your manicures! Your own nails will grow out strong as you go back for IBD gel fills, so after the tips grow out, it’s ALL YOU...and it’s a BEAUTIFUL THING!
MAINTAIN THEM. Yep, it’s a little costly, especially on the first visit. Also, you will always have gorgeous nails. Now I know ALL y’all are out there are getting organic tans, gluten free pet food and lash extensions. Get to the salon and pay the money, you princess! :)
INSTAGRAM IT. Do your lady friends a favor and tell them about the best places and the best artists. So many women reached out to me after I posted the photo above! It’s not bragging...think of it as a public service announcement!
(This photo: my manicure today, May 3rd!)