In Defense Of Predictable Nail Polish Shades In The Summer (And A Magic Wand for Better At-Home Manicures)

If it’s 80 degrees and sunny outside but I’m stuck inside under fluorescent lights, you BET I want a reminder of that sunshine.

Jun 16, 2014 at 12:30pm | Leave a comment

It is very difficult for me to enter a drugstore without stopping by the nail polish section. I’m drawn to the displays like a moth to a backyard light -- it’s innate. Once in the presence of polish, I spend 10-to-20 minutes talking myself in and out of various shades for various prices. The internal monologue goes something like this:
 
I know, self, we only came to Walgreens for milk and birth control, but look at this shade of lavender! Yes, it IS totally worth the extra 10 bucks, because it’s a tinge grayer than the shade of lavender you bought last week. I know, they ARE similar, but last week’s lavender was matte and this one has a sheen sparkle. Put it in your basket. Do it. Do it now. No, don’t. It’s not worth it. Just grab that cheap brand of turquoise and see if you like it. You never know. Actually, get both. YOLO.
 
And it is for this reason that the whole, "You go wait in line and I’ll quickly grab whatever we came for" does not work with me. Ever.
 
I paint my nails at least twice a week, equating the number of chips to my overall self-worth. If I smudge one while drying, a moderate meltdown would not be out of the question. No, it’s not a healthy habit, but having a clean mani to look at as I type my life away at work and home keeps me, relatively, happy. It’s a small reminder that that one area of my life is free of existential crises. 
 
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Granny’s claddagh with nails in check.

 
But we’re here to talk about something specific: SUMMER NAILS! I am, personally, not huge on seasonal coloring in general -- like, I’m still wearing mostly black no matter what time of year it is -- but for my nails, I do like to get a little cliche. And I think that’s okay. If it’s 80 degrees and sunny outside, but I’m stuck inside under fluorescent lights, you BET I want a reminder of that sunshine. A favorite way to do that is to keep my nails bright. Orange has been a favorite lately:
 
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 Julep’s "Mariska," $14, topped with Spoiled Nail Color "Shrimp on the Barbie," $1.99.

 
Not big on orange? I’m also loving 50 shades of pink: anything from coral to bubblegum to a soft petal pink. Not feeling pink? How about something fun and bold like Essie’s "Mezmerised"? The possibilities are endless, folks.
 
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Some of my favorite colors for summer. From left to right: Julep’s "Mariska" and "Maren"; Clinique’s Different Nail Enamel in "Hot Date"; Cover Girl Outlast Nail Gloss in "Ever Reddy"; Sinful Colors in "Let’s Talk"; Essie in "Mezmerised"; Orly Nail Lacquer in "Gumdrop"; and Julep’s "Phoebe."

 
There is, of course, a discrepancy between DIY manis and professional manis, i.e., the salon makes you look extra fly and at home it’s just mostly fly. But working in nonprofit publishing, a professional mani twice a week just isn’t in the budget. So what have I been using to make my at-home nail polishing look just a little more awesome? Enter: the Plie Wand from Julep ($25)! Call it a sort of magic wand for your nails.
 
The wand attaches to various tools for your nails, whether it is a regular polish applicator, a design brush or a dotting tool. The longer wand is comfortable in your dominant hand, taking the stress off your fingers, and works even more wonders when you have to use your non-dominant hand to paint. You can bend the wand so that it rests on your hand in a way that gives you more balance and control, like so:
 
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Genuis-ness.

 
This tool ends the obnoxious shaking of my left hand as it tries to paint my right hand, because the long wand gives me a better grip, and something to balance on. The results? More even and neat polish application on my dominant hand, therefore less cleanup later.
 
You can use the various polish applicators on any nail color you have -- just clean with nail polish remover in between uses. 
 
How do you feel about summer nail polish colors? Or trying this Plie Wand? Or what you’re doing with your life, in general? I feel positively about two out of three. I’ll let you guess which.