Girl of the 21st Century

Where You and the Future Collide

not just starry-eyed…starry-nailed

We all know the space girl fashion equation:  color + texture (sparkles?) = awesome.  But this equation has to be applied with moderation, because a lot of color is not always a good thing.  For instance, it’s bad enough when you’re walking down the street and notice an overly make-upped woman who is oblivious to the obvious fact that she’s trying too hard to look pretty.  Then you look down at her fingernails and see a nauseating shade of neon pink coating her 5″-long claws…and at that moment, you realize she’s got NO chance of looking attractive to anyone anymore.  She’s successfully plummeted to the lower levels of “people often ask me if I ‘work nights'” attractiveness.

To keep you protected from this kind of unwanted color combustion, I’ve done some research on how you can keep your nails space-age without them looking obnoxious.  As an added bonus, I’ve also kept my price range to $2 or less per nail color, so you can look stellar without breaking the bank.

First things first:  Keep your nails at a moderate length.  Not only are long nails more of a hassle (they take more effort to groom and get in the way more often), but they start to look more and more like self-defense weapons the longer you let them grow.  Space age fashion is glamour meeting practicality — you’ve got better things to do than attend to your nails 24/7, so make sure you keep them at a manageable length.

And if you’re a habitual biter — STOP THAT!  I know it’s hard habit to break, as I used to be a biter myself, but remember that the more you bite them, the more you’re feeding into a habit that is unhealthy for you and could lead to infections in your digestive tract.  It’s not a pleasant experience to have to go to the doctor for a throat infection and be told you’ve got jagged nail slivers sticking out of that sensitive larynx skin.  Yuck!  If you’re like I was and bite your nails because it bugs you when they grow in at different lengths or get too jagged, throw a 99-cent nail file in your back pocket before heading out the door.  Add a nail clipper to the list, if necessary.  Whenever you get the urge to go in for the kill, pull out the file instead.  Don’t fool yourself into thinking that biting them is the only problem — saliva is just as destructive to growth.  It weakens the nail and makes them too soft and flexible to grow properly.  Even if you’re not biting them, try to be conscious of when you unknowingly put your fingertips in your mouth or near your lips, and pull them away as soon as you realize it.  It’s not as hard as you think, once you become conscious of your bad habits.

In the interests of keeping everything simple while still glamorous, the first step is to find a base color

A must-have for every space-age fashionista.

Pure Ice's "First Love"

that’s relatively neutral.  Beiges and light tans are fine and easy to come by, but they’re just a tad bit on the boring side of life.  Instead, I opt for light pink tones with a light shimmer.  The best colors I’ve found for this are Pure Ice in “First Love” and the “Sheer Shimmer” paint that comes with the Sally Hansen Sheer Shimmer French Manicure Kit.  The Pure Ice color is a bit holographic, yielding a phosphorescent effect under direct light that makes the color more interesting and fun.  Sheer Shimmer is whiter and has a barely-there shimmer that might speak to the more cautious among us.  They both require two coats for really good coverage, but both also dry pretty quickly.  The only problem with the Sheer Shimmer is that it’s apparently not sold separately from its kit.  You can buy the French manicure kit if you think you’ll use it when aching for the more natural nail look.  If you don’t want it, look nearby for Sally Hansen polishes that match color.  “Bamboo Shoot” is a good pick that appears to have less shimmer, although I can’t account for price — it may very well be above my typical $2 limit.  Check your local Wal-Mart for exact prices, and don’t be afraid to look at other nail polish brands that might be cheaper.  Make sure it’s fairly thick, whatever it is, or you’ll be applying dozens of coats before it’s thick enough to get the desired effect.

After picking your base color, move on to the fun part — the shimmery finishes.  There are metric tons of mega-fun shades in the Petites line of polishes, although most of the ones I’m about to mention don’t

Truly Stellar Nails

Truly Stellar Nails

appear on the Wal-Mart website that I’m using as a reference.  They should show up in the actual store, however, and if they don’t, try the nearest pharmaceutical store like CVS or Walgreens who might have a wider selection (and different sizes of bottles, too, meaning you could get eensy-weensy micro-bottles for much less than a dollar).  My faves from Petites are “Jewel” and the appropriately spacey “Venus.”  The first gives you a pink glow that works well on natural nails or whiter base colors.  The second offers a yellowish color that does wonders on top of the aforementioned “First Love” tint, muting some of the pink tone while adding a dimension of light amber shimmer.  “Gold Star” is also a good choice if you want a warm, orangey glitter effect.  The glitter flakes are not large, but they’re more noticeable than either of the first two shimmer paints, so you should test out how many coats you can handle before it starts to become too mirror-looking.  Too much flash on the nail might actually make it look more dirty and “middle school” than most of us would like.

There are multiple other glitter effects with the Petites line that look amazing when paired with the right base coat.  There are some purple- and aquamarine-colored glitter paints that aren’t in any way obnoxious, and when used over a mostly colorless base coat like the Sheer Shimmer, give a nicely understated “star cluster” effect.  It’s harder to match these colors with all outfits, so if you want to use the more colorful paint effects, be prepared to do some scrubbing when you decide to remove it (yes, the glitter does stick rather stubbornly to the sides of the nail that dip downward and tuck under the skin — you have been warned).  The more “all-purpose” color choices talked about in the previous paragraph are usually more pleasing because they require so little upkeep.  You don’t have to change your nail color to coordinate with every day’s outfit…you can just paint it once and wear it for the rest of the week with little to no chipping.  After all, low-maintenance and stress-free cosmetics are the key to a naturally glamorous look.

These brands are available virtually everywhere.  I found mine at a local Wal-Mart, but you could just as

Hard as Nails Natural Tint

"Hard as Nails" Natural Tint

easily pick them up at a Walgreens, Kroger-Dillons, or any other pharmaceuticals or grocery store.  Just remember that you shouldn’t feel like spending less money is getting you a worse deal.  In my experience and the experiences of others, the Petites and Pure Ice lines are not only cheap but also more chip-resistant than some of the more expensive alternatives.  However, it might not hurt to invest in one really good bottle of nail hardener to put on top of the finished product so your nails stay strong and don’t flake on the ends.  Sally Hansen’s product line is known for not only growing short and flaked-out nails but also for keeping the already-grown nail nice and strong.  I swear by the natural tint in the “Hard as Nails” line…totally worth the extra coin.

Now, you’re equipped to rock those nails star style without overdoing it.  Whatever color combos you choose, make sure you pick the ones that express your personality the best — and you’ll know if you do it right by how often you admire your newly-beautified nails when no one’s looking.  Good luck!  😉

— G21C

November 7, 2008 Posted by | Health & Beauty | , , , | Leave a comment