Sunday, April 15, 2012

Naked Nails No More

OPI nail polish, starting at the pinkie: Break a Leg-Warmer,
Frankly I Don't Give a Damn, Caught With My Khaki's Down,
 Illamasqua's DWS, then on my thumb, OPI's Metro Chic.

When I notice a woman's beautifully manicured nails and then I look down at my often unkempt ones, I feel a pang of envy. Silly, because I know it's within my abilities to do something about it. My nails are usually short, naked of polish, carelessly filed and with cuticles that could be neater. My excuse is that I use my hands a lot cooking and gardening, but truthfully there's some laziness and disinterest. 

To get a professional manicure takes time, effort and another appointment to make. And some of my cheapness; it's hard to part with 50 smackers for something that I'll probably chip or ding in a couple days. San Francisco is rife with cheap nail salons, which hubby Matt calls chop shops. On Cortland Street, our closest neighborhood shopping area, there are three chop shops within a block and a half of each other. Occasionally, I go to one where it's 18 bucks for a mani-pedi. My nails come out looking better than when they went in, but for me the experience is tedious and less than satisfying.  There's the intense smell of acetone, the fluorescent lighting and the annoying distraction of an overhead TV constantly flickering and flashing. 

Jules wearing OPI's Suzi Takes the Wheel.

But lately, some new nail polish shades have caught my eye. I like the new greys; they're trendy and neutral at the same time. I first noticed the new grey on my well-manicured colleague, Jules. And yes, I felt a twinge of envy. I've learned to pay attention to that twinge. Envy is a call-to-action for me. So, I started a personal nail campaign, giving myself a home manicure and dutifully moisturizing my cuticles before I went to bed. After a week or so, my hands and nails looked good enough that I could experiment with color. Sephora is the best place for that. The staff was indulgent and helpful one lunch hour at the Powell Street store as I applied five different shades to my left hand. When I got back to work, no one said a word about my multi-colored left hand, but I was entertained!

Teal is big too. From the April issue of "W", starting at the top, OPI's Fly,
Estee Lauder's Teal Topaz, Julep's Diane, and Essie's Mesmerize. 

Another colleague, Jessie, always shows up Monday morning with beautifully manicured nails. I asked her about it and this is what she said:

"Getting a manicure and pedicure is my weekly therapy. It's all about me for the next hour and being in that moment; reading People magazine, enjoying the massage chair, closing my eyes and relishing in a hand and foot massage. Any outfit no matter how gorgeous can be ruined with unslightly hands. I think having nicely groomed nails is a quiet statement of caring for yourself... it's like taking the tip of your finger and straightening the picture ever so slightly. Aaaah, perfect." 

It's Sunday, and I think I have some picture straightening to do.


  1. You totally read my mind - in addition to my love for the new grey shades it's an issue that's risen to the surface many times for me and you can mentor me through this in my quest to glamour up! What do you moisturize your cuticles with?

  2. Hilary, it would be fun and an honor to mentor you on a glamour up campaign! You're off to a great start. To moisturize my cuticles, I've been using Air Repair Rescue Balm ( The company is based in San Francisco and the products have good ingredients and are reasonably priced.

  3. Thanks Lesa! I have always wanted one of those little bottles of Vit E oil with the nail polish brush - you are inspiring me to try that out. I love the multi-color look too - kinda like the biz card variety pack!

  4. I love this post, Lesa. First of all, envy IS a call to action. Secondly, nails do say a lot about a person. My nails are often a mess and then I go get a manicure and they look wonderful for about five days and then the polish chips off and I go around with chipped polish for the next three weeks and the nails look worse than they did to begin with. It's almost like a nail care regimen (or lack thereof) is a metaphor for how we go through life. . . in my case, a big burst of energy and enthusiasm and then no follow-through, no meticulous upkeep. Actually, it's a lot like my gardening.
    I love that gray color.

  5. I love the post Lesa. While I don't wear color I still do have to pay $50 for a mani/pedi with no polish. Always kinda grinds my nerves as I think there should be a men's price for mani/pedi given that there is less work. Although, maybe this is one place where the guys need to pay more given how much more women have to spend on their style and grooming. Jose does wear color and we have recently been going to a salon called Studio M here in Palm Springs and their polish is all eco-friendly and organic (no smells). Check them out Thanks for the post. Love the color by the way - Lesa take the wheel.

  6. It's true, the condition of your hands broadcasts a lot about your personal grooming--people notice hands just like they notice shoes! I treat myself to a monthly pedi but eschew the mani because I, like you, do a lot of cooking. Every night while watching the boob tube I massage in a little Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream and follow up with Burt's Hand Salve (a farmer's friend). Love those new colors, but I'd look like death warmed over if I tried a blue shade!