Looking cute after 10 hours on a stuffy flight or a walking tour in a heat advisory is tough. Especially when you have bed head and a bit of drool on your chin from the little nap you took. Or you have pit stains down to your hips and a nice “glisten” working through your foundation. While choosing the right garb to strut Michigan Avenue is absolutely essential (look here for some tips!), another easy thing that will bring your outfit from 0 to 100 in a snap is a manicure. Well groomed hands make you look more polished (literally) and professional, and it adds a piece of interest to your look. But you won’t lose it at the bottom of your suitcase or get it tangled with your favorite necklace unlike other beauty boosters–it’s a simple built-in accessory! Whether you spend the money at a salon or the time painting them yourself, here are several ideas to ensure that you’re the most glamorous gal on your next adventure.
1. Solid color
I used to think a simple color was boring and dull but have found just the opposite. Choosing bright, fun colors will help you avoid blah. I love Toucan Do It If You Try by OPI. Having just one simple color on your nails may also be a good idea so that your outfit isn’t too overwhelming. And when picking a color for your weeklong trip to the DC, think about what you’re packing and the types of environments you’ll visit. It may not be wise to pick neon lime if you’ll be in business meetings all day. (But hey, that’s just me.) I went with Thinking of Blue by Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure for my tour across Europe because it was somewhat of a neutral and lasted well.
Okay, before you keep scrolling because nightmares of Justice and My Little Pony popped into your head, pause. Sparkles can add a new dimension to your outfit and are definitely a great option if a solid color is too boring for you. Sparkles don’t have to mean the same sparkles 7 year old girls wear. For Christmas my sister gave me Twilight Twinkles by Sinful Colors which is basically a more professional, big girl kind of sparkle. With a black base coat these glitter flakes made a statement. And if sparkles, glitter and flakes still aren’t your bottle of polish, consider a shimmer–a muted yet interesting take on sparkly. I’ve found that if I wear sparkly nail polish, chips are less noticeable which may be extremely important for you if you don’t foresee any manicures between snapping shots of the Statue of Liberty and maxing your credit card out through finding a fabulous new wardrobe on the town.
If Paris is always a good idea (s/o to Audrey Hepburn), I’m pretty sure a French manicure is, too! This would definitely be the most versatile in terms of matching with your outfits, and it adds a nice touch of elegance to your look as well. But I’d recommend going to a salon or getting some practice for this one.
For the more advanced readers! Once you have standard painting down, it may be time to step it up a notch. While your second coat of your base color is still wet, grab some tweezers and place a jewel on your nail or place some nail beads on your wet nail. (And if you want to get fancy, use a dot tool to put small dots of polish around the jewel to make it look like a flower). For decals I would recommend waiting until your nails are thoroughly dry.
For the crafty DIY and brave readers! This takes a great deal of patience (which I rarely have!). For me personally I would usually have to wait several hours after my base coat dried to even start any type of design; I’d typically wait till the next day. But once you have dry nails try putting some masking tape in cool designs or a stencil to add some interest to your fingers. Pinterest is perfect for looking up nail ideas that suit your inner diva best!
You’re mind may jump to big, buff guys eating protein powder straight from the container. But think again! Nail protein is basically just a big girl top coat. It helps make your nails stronger and less brittle. I use either Nailtiques Nail Protein Formula 1 or Nail Envy Nail Strengthener by OPI as a base coat and a top coat. For the girl on the go, this is absolute must so that your nails stay strong, healthy and unbreakable.
The 20 minutes or $20 for a nice manicure is definitely worth it. It works as a built-in accessory that you can’t misplace (I sure hope) on your next trip.