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GEMs Of Beauty: Nailing It

Woman with beautifully manicured nails


GEMs Of Beauty:
Nailing It


Moms on the go tend to be moms who neglect their beauty routines. There are simple solutions for the sleep-and-time-deprived, and that means streamlining your routine so it’s flawlessly grab and go. For me, that means sunscreen, a swipe of a neutral eye shadow and another of mascara, lipstick or tinted lip balm, and a voluminizing product on my hair. Total time: 3-4 minutes tops. Oh, and brightly colored nails. Having a manicure—whether a do-it-yourself or in a salon—is guaranteed to make you look like you’ve got your beauty basics under control, even if your hair looks so bed-heady that your daughter’s baseball hat (you know, the mangy one she left on the floor of the car) is your new BFF.

Nail polish takes time to dry, of course, so you need a little bit of planning—but it’s so worth it. There are a gazillion colors to choose from, and nearly every bottle is so inexpensive (especially when compared to many of the other items on your shelves) and lasts so long that you don’t have to break the bank to switch it up. And what’s especially wonderful is that playing around with color is now not only acceptable for anyone over the age of 10, but a beauty trend that shows no sign of abating.

So go ahead and be a nail adventurer. Banish the boring French manicure and try a deep burgundy with golden or bronze or any kind of metallic tips. Go black with white trim or vice versa, or pink/red or blue/green on a diagonal. If you need to have conventional, classic nails for work, then go crazy on your toes. These colors will help get you going:

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1. Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Color And Top Coat




Although gel manicures are glossy and durable, I’ve never gone for a salon treatment for several reasons: the cost, the time, the LED lights, and the chemicals needed to application and removal that wreak havoc on your nails. And now we’re in luck, because Sally Hansen has released their Miracle Gel Color Coat and Top Coat. It’s part-lacquer and part gel, and it’s super-easy to do yourself. Simply apply two coats of color (you don’t need a base coat) and then one of top coat, and your manicure should last for up to two weeks and look amazing. Available in 47 different shades.

Buy the base and top coat kit for $14.99 at


2. Nails Inc. The NailKale Illuminator And Superfood Base Coat




Kale is the it-food for trendies. It’s healthy, it’s green, it has almost no calories, and even your kids will eat it if you cut it into strips, toss with a bit of olive oil, and roast in a very hot oven till crunchy. But I never thought I’d be putting kale and nails in the same sentence until I started using this terrific new line from Nails Inc., supercharged with kale extract that’s packed with high levels of vitamins A, C, and K to stimulate advanced keratin production, hydrate, and nourish nails. Try the NailKale Illuminator to improve yellow or stained nails, or the NailKale Superfood Base Coat before your regular polish, which will harden and hydrate. Once your nails look fab, choose from one of the 9 NailKale polishes—I adore the dusty pink Westbourne Park Road or the Bruton Mews forest green.

Buy the Illuminator for $14 and the Base Coat or Polish for $15 each at


3. NYC New York Color




When you’re really in the mood to play around with color, you can’t go wrong with NYC New York Color, because these polishes are so inexpensive you’ll have a blast trying all of them. Their latest Fashion Queen collection features metallics and jewel tones (like ruby, purple, gold, and emerald), and these vibrant and sparkly hues not only make you feel like royalty, but make gloomy fall days a whole lot brighter.

Buy it for $1.99 at


4. Pure Ice Nail Color




Equally inexpensive and perfect for playing around is Pure ice, which has an enormous range of colors in every possible hue. They’re especially good with metallics, so stock up for some holiday fun.

Buy it for $1.97 at


5. Christian Louboutin




No story on nail color would be complete without at least a mention of the most insane bottle in the history of nails to ever to hold a color. Christian Louboutin, he of the high, high heels and infamous red lacquered soles, has concocted deeply hued polishes in a wide range of colors, launching with his beloved Rouge Louboutin. Also insane is the price: a whopping $50! Is it worth it? If you collect nail polish and love the stiletto-inspired top so sharp you could use it as a lethal weapon, sure. If you’re a beauty junkie with the disposable income, why not. If you’re me, no freaking way! But it sure is cool.

Buy it for $50 at

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TIP: When doing manicures at home, give yourself enough time. It’s so frustrating to apply color and then see it smudged a few minutes later. What helps is to allow a few minutes between coats. I’ll put on a base coat (which tends to dry very quickly), then one coat of color. I’ll read or doing something that doesn’t involve my fingertips for a few minutes, then apply the second color. Wait another few minutes and do the top coat.

This makes your manicures last a lot longer, too!

Share your tips for making your manicure lovely in the comments below!

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