Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The French Manicure, my latest rediscovery

As a teenager, my pursuit of sophistication and glamour one day led me to purchase one of those drugstore French manicure sets, complete with the guide-strips, white polish, and nude topcoat. After much trial and error, I finally perfected what I thought was a darn good-looking French manicure. I was so excited to show off my handiwork to my beautiful and chic Swiss exchange student friend.

'That's not a French manicure', she informed me. 'For a real French manicure you need the white pencil'. And so it's been Revlon's Nail Whitener pencil ever since.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago when I was cleaning out my manicure box and came across a white pencil. It had been a few years, but now this simple, quick manicure technique suddenly made all the more sense to me now that I'm a mom with limited self-care time.

Here's my French manicure how-to:

1. Apply a rich scrub to your hands and nails, focusing on the cuticles. Massage and rinse off. One Minute Manicure is a nice product, but Sally Hansen and some other less expensive drugstore brands make good scrubs too.

2. While rinsing hands, use the tip of a nail file to clean under the tips of your nails.

3. After drying hands, but while they're still damp, apply the pencil under the tips of the nails. I find a little moisture helps the pencil go on more smoothly. I usually do a touch up with the pencil every couple of days or so.

4. Finish by buffing your nails to a high shine, or remove any scrub residue from the nail bed with polish remover, and paint on your favourite clear polish. These days I am loving Duri Rejuvacote (super-shiny and long lasting) or if you want a product that is free of formaldehyde and toluene, Ecrinal Durcisseur Vernis Brillant is excellent.

Quick, easy, pretty, youthful, clean, classic.

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