Posts Tagged ‘nail care’

The Answer to My Nail-Biting Habit

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

I confess: I have a bad habit that I’ve been trying to kick to the curb for about…15 years now. No, it’s not smoking, but I consider it just as bad. My nails, cuticles and the surrounding skin tend to be picked and bitten until they are red, swollen and bloody. Yes, it’s terrible, but the worst part? I don’t even realize I’m doing it until I look at my nails and see the damages I’ve done! Talk about a high (and weird) pain tolerance.

Anyway, before I make myself feel guilty about it, or find a way to make it stop, I figured I needed to know the root of the problem first. I realized that I only bite or pick my nails when they become too dry, brittle or too long (“too long” for me is still considered very short by a non-biter’s standard). Enter Nailtiques Hand Conditioner. Right off the bat I knew this product was going to show some killer results. When I was younger my mom bought Nailtiques polish to harden the heck out of my nails to make biting nearly IMPOSSIBLE! Their products worked exceptionally well then, so I knew that this hand conditioner was going to bring me beautiful hands and natural nail beauty.

I religiously used Nailtiques Hand Conditioner three times a day for about two weeks. I applied it as if it were any other hand lotion – all over my fingers, cuticles, nail beds and hands. Whenever I do an at-home manicure session, I would massage this onto my cuticles just like the salon pros! The smell was kind of interesting – not my favorite, but not unbearable either. It almost smelled like sour plumeria (I’m not sure how I know what sour plumeria smells like) but it went away fairly fast without lingering on my hands all afternoon. The lotion was pretty thick, but it was absorbed after about 10 minutes, and left my hand thoroughly moisturized without being excessively greasy, thanks to aloe and jojoba oil, the product’s main ingredients. The jojoba oil actually acts as a fungicide too, which is fantastic since hands and nails are susceptible to infections!

Within just 4 days, I saw dramatic results. Two people actually complimented my nails (I don’t believe this has EVER occurred in my 24 years) and were genuinely impressed with how healthy and strong they looked. After 2 weeks, my hands felt really hydrated and smooth and looked really good with my fresh, strong nails.

I would like to think my habit has been kicked – but I don’t want to jump the gun as it’s only been 2 weeks. However, I am going to continue using Nailtiques Hand Conditioner to keep my hands soft and my nails healthy-looking and bite marks-free. Hopefully, in time I’ll be able to kick this habit for good! Wish me luck!

The Horrors of Gel Manicures!

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

By Jenna

On one foggy October morning, I could hear the eerie sound of a faint rip in fabric. Upon looking down I realized… it was a chipped nail ripping my pillowcase! Did I mention that I got a gel manicure about 4 days before this incident? KILL. ME. NOW. I have been iffy on gel manicures since this point, but that just sent me over the edge. Isn’t the entire point of the gel manicure to stay intact for at least a week? Isn’t the entire point of putting your hands in and out of a UV machine so that you don’t have chips? This gel manicure trend has been replacing nail polish since 2009 and until this year, I’ve kept quiet about my indecisiveness for quite some time. By far, the cons of the gel manicure totally outweigh the benefits – if there ARE really any benefits. Here we go!

1. They say its ‘safe’ and not as damaging to your nails as acrylic. LIES! Manicurists still have to grind down your nail to get the right texture for the gel to stick better. Grinding down until your nail is raw— which doesn’t take much by a hand or electric file— can cause weak, brittle nails that will allow the chemicals to seep in and potentially cause nerve damage. What chemicals you say? Some of the gel nail polishes contain a chemical called methyl acrylate which doesn’t really get along with your skin. This chemical can cause contact dermatitis or an allergic skin reaction where a rash may develop along with annoying itching throughout the day. Because we are always touching our faces, this rash can spread to our eyelids or other places. Already spend $40 on that gel manicure? How about an extra $10 for some cortisone cream to go along with your sexy rash. One more thing on chemicals, remember that one linked to cancer called butylated hydroxyanisol or BHA? Yup, that one is found in some gel polishes too.

2.  The removal process is horrible. Since when have you ever had to soak wrap your nails in pure acetone and foil for 20 minutes with regular nail polish? To remove gel polish, the nail salon will help you soak your nails in acetone for a while or they can grind it off (most manicurists are not able to be so delicate to grind off only the gel part – chances are they will get your actual nail during this at least 6 times). Acetone is an extremely drying chemical on your nails, not to mention it can wreak havoc on your delicate skin. After repeated removal processes your nails can become very brittle and even start peeling. All it took was once for me and my nails have never been in a worse condition. If you’re not an acetone fan, you can always start peeling them off. Once you do that, take a look at the underside of the gel polish and see what you find. The top of your natural nails you say? OH that’s strange, I wonder how that happened. (See #1 for nail filing)

3. Because the removal process is horrendous and you can’t do it yourself unless you have access to pure acetone, you’re stuck with not only the color you picked but the grown out look on your digits for a few weeks. Need to change your polish color for an important event? (Shakes head up and down yes) March right on over to the same nail salon for another gel application where you can get even weaker nail beds. Acetone, 10 minutes later, file down a little more, feel the pain, another 10 minutes of UV light exposure on your hands and VOILA! You have a new nail color that you’re stuck with for another few weeks. By that way, that’ll be another $40 plus tip. Not to mention, they may chip if you aren’t careful.

I’m on to you gel polish….

From this moment forward, I’m saying no to gel manicures. I’m also re-uniting with my massive collection of nail polish and asking them for forgiveness while I nurse my poor nails back to health. I do hope for your sake though that I’m not the only one that sees through these deceptive manicures.

The Secret to a Flawless Manicure

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011


If you’ve ever left a nail salon and been less than pleased with the outcome, you’re not alone.  Nail shops are as ubiquitous as McDonalds these days and many times, they feel just like a fast food joint as most manicurists want to get you in and out of their chair as quickly as possible so they can start on their next client. While it’s convenient to get your nails done cheap and quick, you may leave feeling unsatisfied.  From afar, your manicure may look perfectly lacquered and shiny, but upon closer inspection, you may notice that your nail polish doesn’t cover the entire nail bed (the rounded sides can be difficult to reach!) or you end up nicking them on something and will inevitably live with the imperfection for a week or two.

So what can you do to fix your manicure or preserve it so you don’t have to head back to your corner nail salon sooner than you have to?  Celebrity manicurist, Michelle Saunders has a few nail tips to help you maintain your manicure, in-between manicures.

 Dealing With Nicks

Don’t leave before your nails dry!  The most important thing you can do is not do anything for 10 minutes after your nails are polished and the top coat has been applied.  Waiting 10 minutes will set up your manicure and you will not only prevent nicks, but your manicure will last three times longer than if you just leave right away.

Your Polish Chips Prematurely

If your nail polish chips within a day or two after your manicure, your nail plate wasn’t prepared as well as it could have been, or the polish you used wasn’t a quality polish.  Make sure your nails are completely dry before applying polish.  A good manicure should last at least five days.

 Wear Gloves

You don’t have to be a hand model to wear gloves (Seinfeld anyone?). If you do anything rugged — if you’re moving boxes or washing the dishes — it’s important to protect your hands with gloves.

 Moisturize Daily

Right after you wash your hands, apply lotion.  Washing your hands with soap and water dries out your hands and cuticles, and that can cause hang nails and prematurely make your hands look old and unsightly.  Foregoing the lotion after washing your hands is the equivalent of washing your hair with shampoo and foregoing conditioner.  Cuticle oil should also be used daily.  Keeping your cuticles hydrated prevents hang nails and dry skin that can cause nails to break easily.

 Carry A Nail File

If you break a nail, file it as soon as you can so the jagged end doesn’t catch on anything and break further up the nail.

 Top Coat

After a few days, apply a top coat to make your nails shine.  A top coat will refresh dull polish and keep your manicure going for a couple more days.


Michelle Saunders is a celebrity manicurist in Los Angeles.  Her roster of clients includes, Jennifer Lopez, Kate Beckinsale, Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman.  She’s also the go-to manicurist on the West Coast for dozens of high-fashion magazines including Vogue, Elle, W, Harpers Bazaar, and Vanity Fair. Along with being a manicure superstar, she’s also on the coveted Beautyfix Panel.

Glam it up with Holiday Nail Color

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

By Jenna

It’s so exciting that another year has flown by and we’re at the time of year that we can stuff our faces, dress up and spread holiday cheer. This season, your best accessory for any holiday outfit will be your nails. This year’s winter/holiday nail polish trends are sexy, vivacious and festive. There’s nothing that could make my holiday season complete quite like dipping my digits in gorgeous holiday nail color.

There’s a treasure trove of new colors for the winter 2010 season made just for the occasions. There are a few things that we can take from last year’s nail polish trends. Jewel tones are still here, just a little darker this time. Glitter is always great for the holidays, but think chunkier and messier (big specks of actual glitter pieces on your nails) for a not-so-prim-and-proper look. Also, I’ve wanted to say this for a long time: I’m so bored with black nails! Instead of going boring black, spice it up with something saucy. These stand out nail trends for 2010 will glam up your hands perfectly for any holiday soiree.

Gold is still glamorous and versatile enough to go with many color scheme—and something copper-tinged is what you want this season. If you are going for the gold, Dior Vernis is the shade to check out—it’s gorgeous! It matches with just about every skin tone and looks fabulous with any outfit.

As for jewel and gem-toned nail polish colors, those are still in! This season, the best greens to go for are deep shades of emerald with a hint of metallic. And the ‘it’ purple has evolved into a dark plum.

As for the classic red, that will never go away. I’m actually hoping it will make a big comeback to reclaim its position as the nail color. Cranberry red, as well as sparkling, glittering crimsons are so perfect for this season I can’t even begin. My absolute favorite holiday red is SpaRitual’s Nail Lacquer in Spellbound. It’s a riveting shade reminiscent of Dorothy’s ruby slippers. It’s also a cute gift to give, because the festive color is sure to dazzle any holiday party.

Source: Flickr User @ly$ in wonderland

We can’t forget about glitter and winter whites. For the perfect pearly white, grab an iridescent shade and mix in a little pearly blue. On to the glitter: I don’t care who you are, glitter should be your guilty pleasure. Picture Frosty the Snowman, with his hat and carrot nose, nice and pleasant on a snowy day. Now take a leaf blower filled with festive glitter and chunky confetti and douse him in it. That’s what your nails should look like. Don’t try to be neat or discreet with glitter. Take a color that you love, like a frosty white or orange and use CND’s Silver and Gold Sparkling Effects silver AND gold over the color. This will give a festive finish to any of your favorite nail polish colors. You can also go the easy route and use OPI’s Show It & Glow It or Sparkle-icious for New Years. Have fun!

What color route will you take your nails this season?

Fall 2010 Nail Trends

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

By Jenna

Hard to believe, but fall is right around the corner. We know nail polish is always a great accessory, and by now you’re no novice when it comes to putting it on. Summer’s bright colors were chic and attention-grabbing, but fall’s nail trends are all about taking a turn for the dark side with a twist of texture. (Plus, OPI’s Swiss Collection is here! You’ve been waiting all summer—I know I have!)

Your Guide To Fall 2010 Nail Trends

The vibe to go with this season when choosing your nail color? Definitely dark and provocative. Autumn’s nail polish trends include jewel tones, neutrals, chromes and even some brights. And the season’s glitter-infused multi-chromatic polishes will spark up your nails in a second. This nail trend is everywhere—in fact, Orly’s Fall 2010 Cosmic FX collection is dedicated to it, with each shade showcasing multiple colors and multi-dimensional levels. I also really like Zoya’s Edyta nail polish, from the line’s Wicked and Wonderful collection. This dramatic nail color is a mix of olive, gold, smoky grey and blue-green, all wrapped up with a sparkling metallic finish.

Source: Flickr user Andrew Starwarz

Jewel tones have been around before, but this season they’re getting a little deeper. To brighten up your week, try infusing your beauty routine with a saucy gem-inspired nail polish. These nail colors are not only fashion-forward, but will make for a smooth transition into fall if you’re still in a summer state of mind. OPI’s Swiss Collection for Fall 2010 offers brilliant jewel tones, of which my top picks are Ski Teal We Drop, From A to Z-urich, Cuckoo for this Color and William Tell Me About OPI.

Army neutrals, as well as peachy-toned beiges, are also hot this season—and they’re great choices if you’re looking for something a little more low-key than fall’s flashier nail polish trends. If uber-chic on the low is what you’re going for, greige is your go-to shade. Yup, greige! That’s a blend of grey and beige, a la Lady Gaga on the latest issue of Vanity Fair.

Finally, the must have nail color for fall 2010 is a deep, gorgeous plum. On the runways, it was seen frequently on nails and as a key makeup color trend. A satin-finish makes this shade perfect for any special occasion. Plus, it complements nearly any skin tone. For the perfect plum nail this fall, go glamorous with Yves Saint Laurent’s limited edition Belle De Nuit.

Nail Trends: Gelish Gel Nail Polish

Thursday, July 1st, 2010
By Michelle Saunders
A recent cover of Vanity Fair. Nails by Michelle Saunders

A recent cover of Vanity Fair. Nails by Michelle Saunders

Nails! It’s all about nails in 2010, and everything goes! From green to gold, manicurists are applying all kinds of color, texture and art to nails. The best part? Aside from all the fun nail trends, there are now new innovative ways to keep that manicure looking its best. I was recently introduced to a new product hot off the nail market called Gelish. The name describes it – a gel that is a polish. It comes in every hip color you can imagine. It’s not the first gel nail product of its kind, but so far it’s the best I have used.

Using Gelish is a four-coat process similar to polishing nails. There is a base coat, two coats of color, and a top coat. All of which must be cured under a lamp – but it’s no ordinary lamp. Nail Harmony, the company that created Gelish, created an LCD lamp that cures the product in 30 seconds! Once applied, it dries instantly and can last up to 3 weeks. And if you want your manicure to look perfect always, all you have to do is visit your manicurist at least every other week to have a fill or a fresh coat applied. I predict a gel polish like this will replace old-fashioned acrylic nails and maybe even nail polish some day.

Recently on fashion editorials, the art directors have been asking for a longer, oval nail. The resurgence of oval shaped nails has required the use of nail tips again. Working with models and celebrities who request their nails stay in-tact, we as manicurists have had to come up with new, safe and innovative ways to extend nails. The new process is temporary, and it’s similar to Lee Press-On nails but so much better and a lot more current.

Twilight Eclipse stars with oval shaped nails.

Twilight Eclipse stars with oval shaped nails.


Michelle Saunders is a Los Angeles-based celebrity manicurist. Michelle is on the forefront of nail trends and innovations. Celeb clients include Taylor Swift, Katie Holmes, Zoe Saldana, Kate Beckinsale, Mila Kunis and Kim Cattrall. Her work regularly graces the covers of magazines including Life, Glamour, Vanity Fair and Vogue. Click here to see Michelle’s portfolio.

Minx Manicure for Must-Have Metallic Nails

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

By Liz W

Kim Cattrall with Minx nails

“Photo of Kim Cattrall with Minx. Although I did not do her nails for this Sex and the City, I enjoyed working with her on the first movie!”

Metallic nails are at an all-time popularity high right now, and recently, there have been women walking around with such smooth and flawless manis and pedis, it almost looks like they have foil nails! This new trend in nail art has been all over the glamorous hands of Hollywood for the past year, and now it is available to everyone!

Beautyfix Panelist Michelle Saunders has been loving Minx nails since she discovered them last year. Here is what she has to say about the Minx Manicure:

“Let me tell you about Minx Nail Coverings. Every so often something is created in the nail industry that is truly innovative and gets me asking, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Minx co-founders Janice Jordan and Dawn Lynch-Goodwin created this revolutionary product and I started using it in 2009.

Minx nails deliver the most unique nail art to your fingertips and is applied by a professional manicurist who is trained. The artwork is designed graphically so anything can be transferred to a Minx covering. The product itself is a pre-cut covering that sticks to the nail after the adhesive has been heated with a heat lamp.

Minx Nails

Photo of Michelle wearing Minx Nails - Grey with silver fishnet

Zoe Salanda Minx Nails

Zoe Salanda with Minx Nails

A pro is that these coverings last longer than just an old fashioned polish – up to two weeks on hands and up to 6 weeks on toes! My favorite is the chrome in gold lighting and <a href=”grey with silver fishnet (the ones I have on in the photo). They are eye-catching and beautiful and I see why celebrities were the first to use them. But today, anyone can have them applied – you just have to find a Minx Nail Salon in your area that can put them on.
Go to for salon locations and be sure to peek at the design gallery.

Cost can be anywhere from $55-$85. I applied the gold lightning minx to Zoe Saldana, star of the movie Avatar for the April, 2010 cover of Glamour. Happy Minxing!” – Michelle>

Spring 2010 Nail Trends

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

By Jenna

Nothing makes me more excited for the seasons changing than the latest nail color trends. I have to say that I will wear EVERY single color in the latest OPI collection all year long. It’s absolutely important that the hottest 2010 spring nail trends are on my fingers in the next few months. Not only is it fun and keeps my nails in tip top shape, but it makes you feel good when you look down and see such a beautiful color like Lucky Lucky Lavender or Hot & Spicy. As a self proclaimed nail connoisseur, here are my picks for the most fabulous nail trend colors for spring.

SpaRitual’s “I believe in you” from their Believe collection is an electric orange reminiscent of a tangerine. Melon colors are definitely “in” this season and don’t just sweep this trend under the rug yet. This color is perfect for the transition of spring to summer and adds a little more anticipation to the warmer months. This color is lively and perfect to match with a peach lip and a cute sundress.  If that orange is too electric for you, you can tone it down for a perfect peach from Chanel in Innatendu.

OPI Spring 2010 Hong Kong Collection Colors

Source: Flickr User Infilmity

Jade nail polish has been a hit even in fall and I love to see that it’s carrying over into spring. “Jade is the new black” by OPI is a dream color. Its fashion forward and goes with just about everything, hence that it’s the new black. I’ll probably be wearing this more than a few times on both the hands and toes. Another gorgeous color to watch out for in OPI’s Hong Kong collection is Lucky Lucky Lavender, which I happen to be enjoying at the moment. Periwinkle and lavender are gorgeous colors to be rocking for spring from your clothes all the way to your toes.

Another color trend to jump on is uniform blue. Deep, rich blues just shades shy from navy blue are fabulous and appropriate for spring. Remember, we’re just getting over winter but not yet ready for summer, so spring’s colors can be just a shade different than the last trend. Refinery 29’s top 10 nail picks for Spring explains these genius blues and where you can get them.

What’s a collection without something red? Spring 2010’s fiery red is a bright, orangey red. It’s the perfect color and shade to match your orange toned lipstick. Red is always a fun and spicy color to put on so be sure to enjoy and have those nails ready to be noticed.

There you have it! Now go and explore the world of color and nails. Your nail beds are a palette and make sure to take care of them and paint away. The best part about every season’s nail colors are the stories behind the color line. Learning each little bottle’s story brings a bit of fantasy and imagination, making your manicure and pedicure that much more special. Don’t just get it done for maintenance, but appreciate the wonderful world of nail color.

Must Haves: Hot Nail Colors for New Years Eve 2009

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

So you have the perfect look picked out for New Year’s Eve: the dress, the shoes, the hair, the makeup all done and set in stone. What’s missing? Those little piggies. Having a manicure to match brings your entire outfit together and gives your look some extra pizzazz while you’re dancing the night away. After scouring the planet for the hottest nail color trends, I’ve picked out some trendy nail colors that’ll make you sizzle and ready for the big 2010 kick off.

Silver and gold are always a trend for the holidays and celebrating New Year’s Eve, but who wants to be repetitive? Opi’s Holiday Wishes line has the perfect pairing of this season’s hottest colors and glitter to give your fingers a stunning glow. This collection has 6 “wish-upon-a-star reds” and 6 “most-wanted-for” dark and neutral tones. To keep my outfit current, I’ve chosen to go with Shim-Merry Chic. It has the perfect bronzy-gold color with a dash of gold flecks in it to be the perfect color to compliment my skin, outfit and hands without going overboard. For a darker color, Holiday glow or Merry Midnight are exquisite choices as well.

Matte colors have been a nail color trend for 2009 and we’ve seen it on celebrities and friends alike. Experimenting with this trend, I’ve found that these matte colors have to be dead on and applied very well otherwise it can get a little sloppy. Trying out a few colors like jade green, bubblegum pink, dark emerald and navy, I found that the colors that looked good on my nails were the darker shades.  A great line of colors to try for your New Year’s party is Zoya’s MatteVelvet Winter Collection. I absolutely LOVE all three of these colors and Savita looks exceptional with mostly every skin tone. Veruschka is also another gem to try and the darker green is elegant and festive.

If you’re looking for a more natural look for the big countdown, colors like nude and taupe would be a good choice. SpaRitual’s Forbidden Fall/Winter collection has gorgeous colors like Mystic and Inner Sanctum to give your fingers a classic, simple look. Another way to go is choosing a lighter color that has an iridescent look. She’s A River and It’s Raining Men are also good colors from SpaRitual.

2010 is only hours away, so make sure that you make the night one to remember and give your fingers some extra love. Remember, one key thing that people look at are your hands, and they always tell your age. If keeping them cute isn’t reason enough, keep your mitts youthful and give them some extra love and care. Most importantly, after making your extremities beautiful: Have fun its New Year’s!

Source: Flickr User Carbonated

Source: Flickr User Carbonated

Happy celebrating!

Winter skin care: Advice on How To Handle Hangnails from Celebrity Manicurist Michelle Saunders

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

By Jenna

This week has been a little difficult because I’ve been getting these terribly awful hangnails and I think it’s time to talk about winter skin care – starting with our hands. Not only are hangnails annoying, but being the vain person that I am, nail care is important and I hate to walk around with my cuticles all over the place. Yuck! Since I can’t get a manicure once a week like I’d like to, I asked our dear panelist and celebrity manicurist Michelle Saunders what beauty tips she can give to take care of hangnails. Here’s what she had to say about what we can do to save our cuticles.

Celebrity Manicurist Michelle Saunders

Celebrity Manicurist Michelle Saunders

“There are several reasons one gets hangnails. The most common reason they occur is due to the climate change from summer to fall/winter -the colder weather dehydrates the hands and cuticles. In addition, people tend to wash their hands more often because of the cold and flu season. Most of my clients will say during this time, “Why are my cuticles so dry and sore lately? I’m not doing anything different!” But because the skin is dryer, normal things like our hands going in and out of drawers, washing dishes, doing laundry – all of those every day things we do pull and tear on our dry skin which causes the cuticles to detach and pull away. So, there are two things that one can do to help in this situation. One, get a professional manicure – this will offer the opportunity for all of the hangnails to be removed properly, (kind of like going to the dentist for a cleaning so it’s easier to keep the teeth plaque free). Second, use hand cream and cuticle oil everyday and often, especially after hand washing! For home care, if you get a really bad cuticle that needs to be trimmed use a small nail clipper or cuticle nipper and gently remove hangnails and then immediately apply cuticle oil, or an antibiotic ointment (like Neosporin) if it is red and angry. And whatever you do – don’t tear them! This only makes them worse.”

So let’s recap:

To get rid of and prevent hangnails

  1. Get a professional manicure
  2. Use hand cream and cuticle oil often!
  3. Use a small nail clipper/cuticle nipper to remove hangnails gently
    1. Use cuticle oil or Neosporin immediately after!

    Pretty nails

    Flickr user: Maria Clara de melo

So after taking Michelle’s brilliant advice, not only did I make time in my busy schedule to get a professional manicure, but decided to pick up some really good hand cream (love the Jaqua Pink Champagne smell) for dry skin. No matter where you are in the country, winter is almost here to dry your skin out and dry skin care is imperative, especially for your hands and feet. So yes ladies, this is your excuse to pamper yourself with many manis and pedis. J

About Michelle Saunders:

Michelle’s celebrity clients include Amber Heard, Amber Valetta, Angie Harmon, Devon Aoki, Eva Longoria Parker, Kate Beckinsale, Katie Holmes, Kim Cattrall, Lady Ga Ga, Melissa George, Megan Fox, Mila Kunis, Pamela Anderson and Shannon Elizabeth. Her work has graced many fabulous publications including Vogue, W, Elle, Flaunt, Maxim, In Style, Glamour and Bazaar.

Michelle kept Kim Cattrall’s hands hangnail-free for the Sex and the City movie.

Michelle kept Kim Cattrall’s hands hangnail-free for the Sex and the City movie.