A Closeted Goth Girl Trying to Make it in the Professional World

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mission Impossible: Decent Nails

Nice nails.....I've never had them. I must confess that I've been a nail-biter for as long as I can remember. I apologize for mentioning this as it is not polite to mention such a disgusting habit! Anyway, I used to perform this awful habit most often when studying. I vowed that when I was done university I would attempt to try to take care of my nails and take pride in their appearance. Therein lies the problem: I know nothing about nail care or nail polish. Sure, I paint my nails and toenails for special occasions, but most of the time I just slapped on a couple of coats of whatever and was done with it. I am not knowledgeable about brands, how to care for cuticles, how to file one's nails into shape, what types of base and top coats to use, or anything else for that matter. I've always been obsessed with makeup, but nail polish was never a huge interest of mine. I've been trying out some brands and I thought I'd share my nail progress and show some of the colours that I've tried.


2 coats with no base coat. Top coat: Nicole By OPI Topcoat Plus.

These pictures are from when I first started my nail quest. I found this Sinful Colours polish in Let's Talk on sale for $3.00 at Rexall. I love how bright this blue-based purple is. I found that I experienced a lot of tip wear in the first few days of wearing this one.


2 coats with no base coat and Nicole By OPI Topcoat Plus on top.

This polish was given to me as a gift so I am not sure about the pricing on this one.  It is a dark, gunmetal grey colour that is ALMOST black with lots of tiny silver sparkles in it to give it a nice sheen. I experienced a fair bit of chipping within 2 orr 3 days with this one.


3 coats with no base coat and Nicole By OPI Topcoat Plus on top.
 I REALLY love the colour of this one, it's kind of a blackened wine type of a colour. I really didn't like this nail polish at all. I found that it applied unevenly, which you can see in the picture. This may be due to my own inexperience, however. I also found that it chipped within 2 days.


2 coats, no base coat, and Nicole By OPI Topcoat Plus.

Well OF COURSE I have this one! The name is just fantastic and the colour is, too! It is a blackened purple with large copper "flakies" in it which the picture does not show very well. This is one of my all-time favourites! This one is not my favourite to apply, but it held up a lot better than any of the other three above.

I have also found a product that helps me to do a better job of my nails. In the past when I did my nails, I often wrecked them before they were dry due to my own impatience. I found these things called "Nicole Drying Drops" and I thought I'd try them out. They claim to dry your nail polish completely within 5 minutes after applying one drop. I have to say that these work very well for me! I didn't know such a product existed until now and I'm quite pleased!

My nails are currently the longest I have ever had them, which is just sad, really. Even so, I'm not used to them and I'm having trouble typing!

If anyone has any "tips" in regards to nail filing, nail care, cuticle care, top coats, base coats, or anything else nail related, please share in the comments. I have already had some helpful suggestions regarding good brands from ladies who do awesome nails in my comments. This is one of the things I love about makeup blogging: if you don't know how to do something, there is always someone out there who does!


  1. I used to think using a base was a waste of time but I have been using China Glaze first and last for a base coat and it has nearly been doubling my wear time! :o My fav long wearing top coat is Sally Hansen megashine but if you want your nail polish to dry fast you should use Seche Vite ;)
    oh also use one of those crytal glass files, not a gross cardboard board stick things!

    The more you practice the better you will get at application, I have only been doing my nails for about 3 years now and I am so much better than when I started

  2. I love the Sinful color and the baby goth one :D Using a base coat and top coat is absolutely necessary , in my opinion. I use Orly Bonder as base and China Glaze Fast Forward as top. Sometime i use ORLY primetime before the bonder . And for my cuticles and nails i use ORLY Cuticle Care Complex , i love this product ! Nail file : i use a cardboard one right now , but i must say that a crystal glass file is much better !

  3. I love baby goth girl! I also own that one and it is one of my favorite dark colors!

  4. You are very brave for talking about it and posting photos! I was also a nail biter, and every time I'm under lots of stress I'm afraid I will go back to it.. but so far so good. Yet I still haven't posted any photos of my nails.....

    I would recommend using cuticle oils or special creams, especially one by Sally Hansen (Apricot something, in a little jar). It definitely helps with your cuticles, which as result helps your nails look great too :)

  5. I'm not a nail expert by any means, but I do feel like I'm getting better. For top coat, I love love Seche Vite. You can get it at Sally's for not toooo much money, it's fast drying and it makes any polish feel nice and smooth (even chunky glitter!) I also picked up a rubber orange stick and push back my cuticles now and again. I don't use any oils or anything, but find this little step helps my nails look so much longer/bigger. As far goes a shape, I'm a cheater. I go for a manicure every few months and then just keep copying the shape they make for me.

  6. Looooooove Wicked! Its such a beautiful shade! I actually did a course in makeup and nails and it made me a little bit psycho about my nails lol like everyone else said, base coat is really necessary to stop your nails getting stained (I remember when I just got into nail polish and I got this grass green polish and put it on with no base coat, my nails were a very nasty shade of greeny-yellow for weeks), if you're like me and love the dark nail polish or any polish with a lot of pigment in it (looks to me like you do lol). As for cuticles, using a hoof stick to push them back helps them to look a lot neater! One tool that I have that I couldn't live without is my cuticle trimmers, they look like this: http://m2.sourcingmap.com/smapimg/en/n/06b/professional-nail-cuticle-clipper-cutter-1949n.jpg
    You know sometimes how you get those bits of skin on the side of your nails that you usually have to try and pull off or bite off and then it goes down further and gets really sore and starts to bleed?? This is perfect for that, and also for getting rid of dead skin around the nail, some people even remove some of their cuticle around the base with it but I'd recommend having a light hand if you're doing that! I only do that when my cuticles have grown completely out of order! A lot of people use cuticle oil which is fine, but I prefer cuticle cream as it soaks in a lot easier and quicker. Exact same concept anyway, just without the greasy fingertips! Regarding shape, everyone has a personal preference but if you're not sure, the best thing to do is usually follow your cuticle shape, is it rounded? Is it more square? I have to say though, the shape of your nails in the last two pictures is perfect! Stuff like you were saying, quick drying drops and top coats make life easier, less chance of smudging them when you get up to do something 10 minutes later! Last thing (I promise!!) a really good product that I used to get my nails to superhuman length and strength was China Glaze's Nail Strengthener and Growth Formula - absolute miracle product! I used it differently to what it suggests though (I think it was to put it on two coats every other day), because its one of those polishes that peels off easily, but I used to put multiple coats on every single day! I got really good results from it! Aaaaaaand I think that's all I can think of right now, sorry for the suuuuuuper long comment! xx

  7. I have zilch in terms of nail tips, but I can tell you your nails look fine to me. I really like Illamasqua's base coat, if you're looking for one!

  8. My only other "nail secret" beyond the Rose Salve I posted about is just plain lotion. Did the dishes? Lotion. Washed your hands? Lotion. Picked your nose? LOTION, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. Erm. Point being, if your are exposed to any sort of prolonged wetness, they will start to get dry, flaky and breaky - same as your skin will start to dry out if you take too many baths (at least mine does, cos my skin is crap). So lotion.

    Ok, I lied, one other thing I know about nails is that clippers generally suck. If you need to clip your nails, just file them. It's less of a stress on the nails.

  9. My biggest tip would be a base coat. I know it's a pain but not only does it protect your nails from damage that the chemicals in the polish can cause, it helps polish to last longer and go on more smoothly. My favorite base coat is Gelous (you can get it from Sally's, I know you're in Canada... I'll send you one if you can't find it!), it's a gel base so the polish flows on like butter! You may also want to try a better topcoat... I use China Glaze Fast Forward but I'm not in love with it, so I don't know what to suggest. I find that keeping my nails painted prevents me from biting them, as well!

  10. I'm not a big nail buff, but my first stop for anything nail-related would be Andrea from Evil Shades ^^

  11. Pretty colors! I have terrible nails, they peel and split like crazy, and then will re-split and peel as soon as they grow out since the splits often go past the quick... Lately I've been using Sally Hansen's Nail Nutrition Green Tea + Olive Growth, not sure if it's available in Canada or not... Anyway, it came in a blister package and is a pale green frosted bottle with a brighter metallic green cap. This has been working wonders to help me grow my nails out, and works well as a basic base coat, too. If you're trying to grow your nails out, it might be worth using this for a couple of months, and then switching to the fancier, high-performance base coats that will help your polish wear better/longer. I always use Seche Vite top coat, too; it dries really fast, is super glossy, and gives me at least an extra day of wear over other top coats I've tried. You'd never know from my posts on nail polish, since my nails always look so messy, but I am a nail polish freak! Still haven't found a method I like for keeping my cuticles in good shape, and I refuse to pay for manicures, so blaaaaarghh!

  12. Oh God I wish I had Baby Goth Girl, it's AWESOME! Lets talk looks lovely on you too.

    I'm terrible with my nails, I bit them up until a year ago, now I've stopped (though if I can't find a file and i think my nails are too long or have a hangnail I'll just bite them) but I still bite and destroy my cuticles and all the skin around my nails. I don't have any great tips, but I've heard glass or crystal nail files are actually good for your nails (I've personally always found them a bit rubbish but other people swear by them).

  13. i love the MAC nail polish!!! It's so goth and wicked and cool at the same time!!! I think it would look awesome on any skin tone too :)) great post!!

  14. I totally feel your pain, my nails are absolutely laughable they're in such bad shape. Unfortunately I haven't found any products that make them NOT paper thin so I rarely bother with polish but these are all very pretty colors. I like that black one. Is it matte?

  15. Do I qualify as a nail expert? lol

    Your nails are not bad at all love...I've seen some baaaaad nails!

    Base coat...don't go cheap as you get what you pay for! If your nails are thin and fragile try Barielle or Seche in a strengthening base coat. If they are dry and peely get a good hydrating base coat like Barielle hydrating, Essie has a good hydrating base also. Personally I think most color brands base coats are junk...just clear polish labeled as base, Essie and my new sticky base love Best nail treatments are my only exceptions to that rule.

    Next- Glass file...I can send you a good one, I have extras. Use nothing else! (I will kick your tiny tooshy)

    Moisture- lotion constantly!

    Cuticles don't mess with them at all if they are in nice shape! If they are dry or a bit botchy get a "cuticle remover" product like blue cross or any simple cuticle remover creme. Use this as directed and gentle push cuticles back.....never cut or clip them!

    And email me any questions I haven't answered.
    P.S. You can check out my nail tutorial vids on YT for tips on filing and clean-up.


  16. Gah, you have fabulous taste in np! Wicked looks just delicious! What makes Sinful Colors np last on me is a base coat. I use Sally Hansen Insta Dri anti chip top coat as both a base and a top coat. I also find my np lasts longer when I don't use the computer and type up a storm.

  17. I used to bite my nails alot and my nails have suffered from it. They are weak now and i use a conditioning base coat to give them strength without making them brittle. Any strengthener with Formaldehyde will wreck your nails....I avoid it in anything on the nails.

    I use Seche Recondition as a base coat and Seche Vite as a top coat. The Vite is a fast drying topcoat that works best on creams and shimmers, tho can shrink flakies and anything with glitter or flecks. But its amazing at spead drying a varnish.

  18. I know what you mean about lack of knowledge when it comes to nail care! I've only started getting into nail painting and all I do is slap on a few coats on my nails and call it a day. I have been reluctant to do anything with my nails before because they are squarish and short. Yours, on the other hand, are pretty!