Un-Manic Manicure

I stopped dead while flipping through a mag recently, upon discovering the ad for Tom Ford’s latest beauty collection. It wasn’t the gorgeous face (those are everywhere!) but the simply (and I really mean simply) amazing manicure featured on the page.

main1_021813I mean, is that not just so striking in its neutral simplicity? So elegant, feminine and strong at once? We’ve all had our Ballet Slippers and other bare and creamy Essie moments, but a nude this gorgeous is something I haven’t come across before. I became obsessed.

Unfortunately, I initially decided that on a bridal budget I don’t have much of an excuse to shell out $30 for a bottle of polish right now. But if you do, please hop over to Nordstrom right now and buy yourself a bottle of Toasted Sugar. I hunted the racks and was unable to find a suitable replacement. So, scratch what I said above. I now plan to buy the polish when my next paycheck lands. In the meantime though, I’m being tided over by Essie’s Sand Tropez, which is much paler than the Tom Ford but a truly delightful beige. Have you found one you love?

For more inspiration on getting nude nails right, check out the glorious article in this month’s Vogue. Eva Chen takes the reader on a wild ride from New York Fashion Week to China, focused on those subtly sexy, sheerly brilliant new nudes.

Easy Tip: Tint your Talons

Today, I actually self-inspired (ugh, aren’t writers the worst?) after working on a piece for ATC. It’s about spring nail trends and should be up in a few days. In any case, I was feeling out the whole ombre concept and I came across some really cool images around the Web. I’ve long adored the individual ombre in which each nail fades from dark to light within one color spectrum, but I had yet to experience the nail-to-nail ombre in which each nail is different color but from afar they appear to fade from one end of the hand to the other.

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This was my inspiration, but I didn't quite have my color act together.

I tried the look with a variety of shelved iridescent pinks from Chanel, Dior, and Essie that have accumulated over the past several beauty seasons. But I just didn’t have the perfect five to create the effect I wanted, so I ended up doing a less-than-perfect, still quite pretty fade that goes from deep purplish rose to creamy pearlescent citrus. As pretty as the nail colors looked together, something was missing and they seemed sort of disjointed. Another problem? My top coat was nowhere to be found. Solution?

I applied Essie’s “Petal Pink,” a very sheer light pink polish in lieu of top coat. When added on top of the nails, it served as a great unifier that sort of brought everything into the same palette while toning down the excess iridescence in some colors and warming up the flatness of others. I think I might be onto something here. The next time you paint your nails, why not warm them up or cool them off with the addition of a great tinted sheer instead of your standard top coat? You might just find this creative color mixing to be your best new plan!

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Excuse my French

Has anyone else noticed that the new French manicure could not be farther than that traditional, stuffy look with little white caps and a pink base? Well, I’m personally quite relieved. But I wasn’t sure how the actual French felt about this turn of the trends until I ran into one at work the other day and she literally raced through her minimal English vocabulary to compliment me.

Love this! Trying it next week...

I was sporting Essie’s “Mink Muffs” on all ten fingers and then capped off two of them with a hot pink Chanel “Riviera” French-ing. I thought the look was cool and funky but just subtle enough to keep me from making a tsk-worthy faux pas at work. Never did I expect a French stranger in Helmut Lang pants, a Chanel bag and Ferragamo flats to stop me in my tracks and declare, “Your nails! So chic, so French!”

Does anyone know how to say “yay!” en français?

So, after that little foray into the new French manicure received raves, I decided to move on to new territory. A friend told me of a mani she’d seen that involved two different blacks–matte on the majority of the nail with super-glossy at the tips. Oh, I thought. Texture. Of course. So, today I did my own little experiment with texture and I promise you can do it at home. I whipped out my trusty Essie “Really Red” and applied three glossy coats. Then I swept my Luxeffects across just the top in one fluid motion on each nail for a glittery faux-French.

Subtle, yet sparkling. You get the idea--though they look much cuter in person!

If you’re super anal, you can hold your hands up to a lamp so the light will shine through your nail creating a little stencil to follow. Or, like me, you can just wing it. And pat yourself on your very chic back for breaking with convention and having some fun.

Cream and black is a total conversation-starter, and so classic.