Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cute ideas for Christmas nails...without the cost of a manicure.

Via Refinery 29, Holiday Nail DIY

As you all know, I am all about the most bang for my buck.  When I do splurge, it is almost always on travel or on fun things for my apartment.  Most of my clothes come from H&M and when my best friend/hairdresser in California isn't doing my hair, the German version of Super Cuts is (which probably drives my best friend/hairdresser, who is actually amazing, crazy...especially when she has to fix unfixable botched bangs).

I almost never get manicures or pedicures, but when I do, I reserve them for a special occasion, like girl time with my sister or a birthday gift for a friend.  In my opinion, the only time it pays off to have someone else do something you can do to yourself is when there is some larger purpose to it.  (Unless of course, you hate travel and your big pleasure in life is a manicure and a pedicure, in which case it is money well spent.)

I do love soft, lovely feet and hands, though, so I tend to do manicures and pedicures on myself (when I have time).  Here are my tricks along with a link to a great slideshow of ideas for holiday nails.


1) Soak

I soak my feet and hands in a pot or tub of warm water and Dead Sea Salts.  A box of 3 huge packets of salt (enough for about 6 regular baths and 12 or more foot baths) costs about 2 EUROS at the drug store here.  I would add a little essential oil or bath oil for an extra special treat.  

2) Exfoliate

For feet, use a pumice stone.  Use it on wet feet directly after soaking.  This loosens the dead skin.  Focus on the heels, balls of the feet and outer corners of toes

For hands, my favorite scrub to make at home is an olive oil (or butter) and brown sugar scrub.  I mix just a teaspoon or so of olive oil or butter with about three table spoons of brown sugar and scrub.  If it is too scratchy, add more olive oil until it is comfortable. 

3) Moisturize 

Layer a thick moisturizer onto your feet and hands (I prefer one with at least 5 % Urea) and put cuticle or nail oil on your nails (OPI makes a good avocado oil based one).  Tie plastic bags around your feet and hands and sit around on the computer or reading a book for about an hour while it soaks in (you can sleep like this too).  

4) Paint

Base coat, two coats of pretty polish and top coat.  Let your nails dry completely between each coat.  This is the best thing I ever learned.  It really prevents smudging.  I never used to have the patience but then got so frustrated when my nails were wet for an hour and smudged.  Now I wait and sometimes come back hours later to finish.  It takes longer to get an end result but my nails almost never smudge and there is less down time waiting for them to dry.  

5) Moisturize constantly

It is my secret to soft hands and feet.  I moisturize my feet and hands every night before bed and my hands whenever they feel dry.  I also always wear gloves when I do the dishes.  There is nothing worse for nails or skin than constant exposure to drying dish soap.  

Check out these beautiful ideas for Christmassy nails.  I also love this idea.  Do it with a darker color (like red or forest green) to make it more Christmassy. You could also do a french tip in sparkles using the same method. 

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