2022 SU General Election Full Supplement

Manicures for you — and maybe your boo

By Gurman Sahota, February 14 2019 —

Valentine’s Day can be expensive. But one thing that you don’t have to sacrifice if you’re short on cash is a decent manicure. You can easily give one to yourself — or, better yet, to your boo. Follow these steps for an affordable alternative to getting your nails done that will work with your limited schedule.

Remove old polish:

Even if you’re already wearing your favourite colour, take that chipped excuse for polish off. Don’t just paint the patches in — it looks tacky and people can tell.

Clip and/or file nails:

My nails look the best when they are slightly shorter than my finger. If I can see the faint tip of my finger while looking down at my hands, that’s the perfect nail length. To get there, I clip my nails and then reach that perfect length with a nail file. I usually only file my nails if they haven’t grown out enough that clipping would be useful. Clipping your nails also allows you to get a rough outline of how you’d like to shape your nails before using the file to smooth the edges.

Wash your hands:

Once you’re free from the previous colour, wash your paws. That’s it — don’t be gross.

Lotion up:

Calgary is dry, cold and, quite frankly, a weather hellscape. Your skin suffers because of that, especially your hands. Hand creams are designed to be thicker than your average lotion, so you don’t need a lot to get the job done. Start with the backs of your hands and work around to the palm and fingers. A quick hand massage is helpful too — with a thumb in the middle of the opposing palm, use your fingers to gently massage the knuckles, working your way up each finger. It’s a quick and easy way to release any tension built up by hours at the keyboard writing papers.

Cuticle cutting/pushing or whatever:

I’m of the opinion that if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. That’s why I don’t ever cut my cuticles. If anything, when I’m moisturizing my hands, I try to dab a little bit of lotion on the cuticle and massage it in.

Prepare your nails:

Pour some nail polish remover on a cotton pad — or a crunched up a ball of toilet paper — and swipe it over each nail to dry out any hand cream. If you’re not in a hurry, you can skip this step and let the lotion soak in thoroughly. But you’re probably working on being cutesy in between midterm prep and group project co-ordination, so this step helps the nail be as smooth as possible for a great polish application.

Base coat:

The point of the base coat is to set the stage for your polish as well as to protect your nail beds from polishes that may leave a yellowy tinge after removal. So with a thin layer of base, you’re ready for polish.

Nail polish:

The best way to apply polish — as well as a base and top coat, for that matter — is the three-stroke method. Opening the polish bottle, wipe one side of the brush against the inside of the bottle. This gives you more control of the product and helps you get thin layers, which will dry more evenly than goopy, thick layers. You may see that the side of the brush that has product has a slight bump at the tip — that’s okay. Just slightly dab that bump against the bottle to make sure you have a uniform amount of product on the brush. Now, take the brush and swipe it over the middle of the nail in one smooth motion from the base of the nail to the tip, using gentle pressure only. Your second stroke will start at the base of the nail colour and curve up and around the side of the nail filling two-thirds of the nail bed in product. Do the same on the last and final section of bare nail bed.

Typically, I do two layers of colour, depending on how opaque the polish is. For some formulas that are more streaky or transparent, I do an additional coat, but three is the maximum for this step.

Top coat:

If you mess up on any of the other layers, a good top coat will absolve any of your nail sins. Some formulas smooth out bumps and dry quickly, which is just what you need from a top coat. This seals all your previous steps in place, while leaving a glossy shine. I don’t look beyond a fast-drying top coat because I require something quick and something that will smooth any imperfections as it dries.

That’s it. It may seem like a lot of steps but each one is relatively quick. If your manicure adventure gets a little messy, you can use a little paint brush and some polish remover to clean up mistakes. Or, wait until your manicure is dry and hop into the shower to pick off any mistakes. The heat of the shower warms up your skin and makes it easier to peel off any stray polish to tidy up the whole thing.

Also, my manicure usually lasts about a week before chipping, which is a great time to switch up the colour or even go bare. Folks who prefer a more subtle look can stop after applying the base coat or even just skip to the top coat to get that shine. The specifics aren’t vital — it’s all about spending some time with yourself or with your boo.

Hiring | Staff | Advertising | Contact | PDF version | Archive | Volunteer | SU

The Gauntlet