The Case For Getting Engaged With A Hideous Manicure

Great news! It’s no longer necessary to keep up with the time-honored tradition of hoping your best friends break their backs to get you into a nail salon for a totally inconspicuous manicure before you get engaged. And no, it’s not because the planet is literally on fire and we’re probably just a few short years away from never having to worry about Instagram ever again. It’s because I just accidentally stumbled upon the greatest life hack of all time, and am pleased to report that getting engaged with an ugly manicure is the best thing you can do for your relationship and your personal brand. 

Now, I know that every little girl dreams of the day she’ll be able to post a photo of an engagement ring on her hand, writing “I said yes!” as the caption, leaving her loved ones (read: group chats of sorority sisters she no longer speaks to) wondering how she knew to get her claws perfectly groomed for the surprise occasion. But after recently getting engaged with a manicure that was the exact same color as Shrek, I’m here to challenge that standard. If the nail technician isn’t palpably disturbed by the color chip you’ve presented upon sitting in the chair, you’re not doing enough. Hear me out.

You’ll Immediately Have A Unique Instagram Caption

Second only to which engagement ring style you will choose to send your significant other subliminal messages about until they’re finally forced into popping the question, the most important decision you can make as a future bride is the caption you will choose to announce the fact that it’s time for your followers to buckle down for your official shift to wedding content. If you’re hard-pressed to think of something smarter than “Today, I said yes to forever with my best friend,” let your ugly manicure do the heavy lifting. For example, I went with: Do you think there’s anything on Etsy that says “she said, ‘OH MY GOD MY NAILS ARE GREEN, BUT YES!’” 

There’s An Easy Answer To The Dreaded ‘Were You Surprised?’ Question

If there’s one thing I’ve quickly learned as a newly-engaged person, it’s that people ask a lot of the same ridiculous questions, one of which being, “Did you know?” While everyone sporting a rock on their left ring finger probably had some inkling that the day would come eventually, it would be truly unhinged to expect your partner to drop down on one knee every time you enter a remotely photo-worthy space. Although I did not wake up thinking, “Might f*ck around and get engaged today,” convincing nosy people that this particular life event caught me by surprise has proven to be difficult. 

Luckily, if you have unsightly nails when it happens, you won’t ever have to waste your breath explaining why you just so happened to be having an incredible hair day and wearing an actual bra when you said yes. You can simply point to the messy heap of slime green SNS powder that was slopped upon your nail beds and quip, “Did you see my nails? I obviously wasn’t expecting it.” 

You’ll Seem Like A Quirky Risk-Taker

Nothing signals that you are the antithesis of cheugy quite like a bold manicure. Sure, the words “dog mom” are in your IG bio and you’ve purchased Tory Burch Miller sandals as recently as last month, but a calculated shellac color choice can really cancel that out if you play your cards right. This will also dupe people into thinking that you’ll be making some similarly wild decisions for your wedding, motivating your followers to prioritize watching your Stories every time they open the app. Not to mention, a scared bridesmaid is a loyal bridesmaid. If your girls can be tricked into thinking you’re reckless enough to select a heinous color for your wedding, they’ll be so relieved when you tell them they’re wearing blush dresses, that they’ll hardly bat an eyelash when you reveal how much they’re expected to cough up for hair and makeup. 

It’s An Excuse To Post At Least One More Ring Photo

Engagement rings beg to be photographed, but the last thing you want to do is clog the timeline with too many photos from the same occasion. (Although this used to fly… you can thank photo dumps for destroying your right to double post.) The simple fix for this, of course, is to get a redemption manicure, which would technically qualify as a separate posting event from the proposal. “Don’t worry guys, I have a pretty manicure now!” just might be the new “So a lot of you have been asking about my skincare routine…” in the sense that both statements require the speaker to hold quite a bit of naivety in regards to how much other people actually care. 

Next time a friend invites you on a trip to the salon or you find yourself torn between two manicure options, my advice for you is: choose the worst option. Reach for that weird yellow bottle of polish that looks like it’s never been opened. Say yes to the nude that clashes most with your skin tone. Visit the spa with over a dozen horrible Yelp reviews. It’s the number one best thing you can do for your engagement. (Your Instagram engagement, by the way. Not your relationship status.) 

Images: Lyuba Burakova /Stocksy.com

The Best & Worst 2000s Trends Making A Comeback

2020 fashion seems to be one big mashup of years past, and I mean, who can really blame us? This year is nightmare fuel, to put it nicely, and I for one am here for the return of most of the 2000s trends that have come creeping back into our lives. The 2000s were an easier time, you know? Where your biggest stress was which CD you were going to purchase from FYE (My Chemical Romance for me, always) or if the cute salesperson model in front of Abercrombie was going to notice you. Like I said, easier times.

So let me take you down memory lane, 2020 reboot style, with the best and worst 2000s trends to return this year.

The Best

Velour

I’m just going to start here with velour, because it feels really relevant to current times, and I am absolutely on board with this comeback. Obviously, we’re in a time where comfy clothes have never been more relevant, and it feels like the perfect opportunity for velour tracksuits to be a thing again. If you haven’t been on social media in the past few weeks, Kim Kardashian’s SKIMS dropped a collaboration with the president of velour sets, none other than Paris Hilton. That’s hot. I’m going to be honest, I bought a set myself after telling everyone around me how I couldn’t wait for the affordable Target knock-off to launch. I simply had no self control, and I am not even sure why. Let us pray that $80 sweatpants are in fact worth it.

Juicy Couture’s Limited-Edition 25th Anniversary Collection in partnership with New York City Alliance

On the topic of overpriced velour sets, we also have the comeback of the absolute OG velour sweatsuit brand, Juicy Couture. Personally, I am not ready to see “JUICY” slapped across the behind of my peers, but like, I’m still glad the brand is back and thriving. The brand is actually now celebrating its 25th year, to make you feel super f*cking old, and announced a bunch of new collabs, so it’s going to feel like middle school all over again with everyone you know sporting a Juicy tracksuit. That being said, Juicy obviously has a place in the best comebacks category, because I dare not disrespect a brand that influenced a generation of fabulous middle schoolers.

Tie-Dye

 

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@oliviiapalermo in the pastel set 🌈 now available!

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At this point, there’s not much to say about tie-dye, except that it was the biggest trend of 2020. It was like a summer camp in every person on the planet’s living room, tie-dying anything we could get our hands on. Eventually we all gave up and brands like BrownDyedGirl (who I found from Hannah B. Who even am I anymore?) came to our rescue bringing tie-dye sets to our doorsteps without the hassle of actually hand-dying pieces. I’m putting this in the best category for a few reasons. It hits all the Cs: cute, comfortable, cozy, casual, classic. If I’m being real, I’m not sure how long this trend will actually last, but for 2020 it has served its purpose.

Color-Tinted Sunglasses

VO4166S

Vogue Eyewear VO4166S

Everyone who was someone rocked color-tinted sunglasses in the 2000s, and when they came back to life I was all in. Now, disclaimer, I literally look like Mrs. Potato Head in ALL sunglasses, but that simply did not stop me from hopping on the bandwagon. The pastel colors hit different and make me feel like a pop star. I shamelessly bought a pair from Vogue Eyewear (taking Watermelon Sugar to new levels here). I hope to see this trend live on for a few years, but if not, I’m glad it had its comeback moment.

Press-On Nails

ManiMe Sweet Thing

I mean… come on. These things are so convenient. When I was younger I freakin’ LOVED press-on nails and my mom thought I was pure trash. Now we’ve upgraded from the CVS claws to brands that actually are custom printed to fit your nail, and I really think this is the hack that we all need. I personally have been using ManiMe as my go-to, but there are multiple brands with similar concepts that are doing it right. This is great for my people who are feeling lazy, and also great for those not comfortable and ready to go back to a nail salon.

Glasses Chains

 

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Pucker up, there’s only a few days left to get the @newbeauty September testtube before we roll out November’s at the end of the week! Always 8 full size beauty products for $29.95, And curated by us, the editors, Septembers is valued at $255!!!!!!! And features: * @anteageskin Home Multineedling roller Kit – $120 * @aquagehaircare Aquage Dry Shampoo – $24 * @cobigelow Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer – $6 * @gloskinbeauty Suede Matte Crayon – $24 * @goodsciencebeauty Skincare – $48 * @loccitaneusa Cleansing Oil-to-Milk – $24 * @masqueology Pucker Up! – $4 *@afterspa Exfoliating Wash Cloth – $7 Total Value: $255, details on prettyconnected.com and testtube.newbeauty.com . #newbeauty #beautyeditor #beautysubscriptionbox #nbtesttube #cobigelow #loccitane

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In 2020, glasses chains DID make a comeback, and it was a chic one at that. Early 2000s glasses chains were strictly for grandmothers who lost their reading glasses if they weren’t literally tied around their neck, but 2020 glasses chains were a cute accessory just because. It also influenced a much bigger and more important trend, the mask chain. The first time I saw a mask chain was on Lara Eurdolian’s Instagram (@prettyconnected), and then I blinked and everyone had one. They’re convenient for the same reason a glasses chain would be, but also spruce up your mask in the most needed way. If you told me in January that this would be the best accessory of 2020 I’d laugh, but here we are… and that’s on pandemic fashion.

Vests

ASOS Neon Rose relaxed sweater vest in marble knit

2000s vest fashion consisted of diamond checkered sweater vests that could only be rocked by Avril Lavigne. If said vests returned in the same style, this would be at the top of my “worst” list, but now they’ve come back in a cute and fun way, and I’m obsessed. The oversized sweater vest and button-up shirt dress combo is currently the vibe I’m enjoying, and if there wasn’t a pandemic, you bet I’d be seeking fall activities weekly to rock this look. Instead, I’ll be ordering this outfit and asking my mom to snap a pic of me in the yard, because that’s 2020 in a nutshell.

Flavored Lip Balm

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask

If you didn’t have EVERY flavored Lip Smacker balm, were you even alive in the 2000s? I don’t even recall if these actually hydrated your lips or just made them more chapped, but I do know that the sweeter the smell, the happier I was. While I would not opt for an actual Lip Smacker in 2020, I have noticed the rise of candy flavored lip products returning. My personal favorite is the Laneige Lip Mask, because it makes my lips feel super hydrated for long periods of time and the flavors are real good. Sweet Candy, Gummy Bear, and Vanilla are my top three, but really they’re all delicious. As someone whose lips are literally always chapped (no amount of water can save me, I’ve tried), this is a trend I am here for today and every day.

Furry Sweaters

Tobi Dream of Me Fuzzy Lavender Sweater

#WinterIsComing and as someone who is ALWAYS cold, this is the type of sweater that never left my closet. That being said, I am well aware that a furry fluffy sweater hasn’t always remained on trend, but this year, they’re back. I picture a young Mary-Kate and/or Ashley rocking this with some pigtails, and that is the energy I am trying to bring back this winter. This sweater in particular is from Tobi (calling all my sorority girls), but it’s safe to assume you can find this staple at any store.

G-Shock

G-Shock MSGS500G-7A2

Honorable Mention goes to G-Shock. I NEVER saw this comeback coming, but given the fact that these watches fashionable now must be acknowledged. What’s next, Etnies?

The Worst

Visible G String

 

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WOW @matthewmwilliams ✨ Congratulations on your first @givenchyofficial collection! It is such a beautiful collection. I can’t wait to wear all of the looks you’ve sent!!! 🖤

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I don’t think I have to go too deep into an explanation as to why this trend is falling under my worst comebacks. The first time this trend existed, I was seven years old, so I didn’t really understand it. Now, I am 27 years old and still don’t really understand it. The wedgie-but-make-it-fashion look is not for me, and while it might be done tastefully by Hailey Bieber and Kim Kardashian, it most certainly does not suit the average human.

Butterfly Clips

I’m kind of torn on this one, so don’t hate me for putting it in the worst comeback category. That being said, I need to be a little realistic here. Butterfly clips were cute AF when we were young, but they were never practical. They never actually held my hair back (granted I have frizzy, curly hair that pre-heat iron days could literally not be tamed) but even worse, the fancy ones would get tangled and lost in my lion’s mane and hurt. Now, seeing adults wear them in 2020, I am just wondering… why? Is it for the looks? Is it to test your detangling skills? Again, I see this trend fizzling out quickly, but if you can rock it and make them look as chic as above—all the power to you.

Low Rise Jeans

 

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Not much to say here. I thought low rise jeans were dead and gone, and I was happy about that. Low rise jeans flatter no one, and I thought we all accepted that we just don’t need our jeans to expose our pubic bones? I’m just not here for it. So yeah, let’s keep these bad boys in the past, please and thank you.

Money Piece

 

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✂️ @justinemarjan

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So let me start this bit by saying I myself currently am rocking a money piece, and a thick one at that. But, I am well aware that this trend will be over in no time, and I’ll look back and wonder wtf I was thinking. I have physical reactions to how strongly I dislike chunky highlights, so I assume my views will be similar in a few months. I do think they are cute and fun at the moment (when done correctly), but the upkeep sucks, and when the roots start creeping in it goes from funky to disaster real quick. Let’s mark this under “worst comebacks that I am currently enjoying but can still acknowledge are the worst.”

And there you have it sk8er bois and girls. 2020 has been a fun blast from the past (even the roaring 20s are making an appearance!!!) but the trends remain sharper than ever.

Betches may receive a portion of revenue if you click a link and purchase a product or service. The links are independently placed and do not influence editorial content. 

Images: Jun Sato/ WireImage; Provided by Tobi; GIPHY; SKIMS, Juicy Couture, BrownDyedGirl, DoYouLoveThe2000s, ManiMe.Co, PrettyConnected, TheFrankieShop, Laneige, G Shock, NewBalanceLifestyle, Bella Hadid, Brittany Xavier / Instagram

A Step-By-Step Guide To Giving Yourself An At-Home Gel Manicure

The longer we stay home, the more we must improvise. I, like many others, quite enjoyed my biweekly routine of getting my nails done. Aside from the obvious relaxation aspect, there is something about a fresh manicure that adds a little sparkle to my look. For obvious reasons, that hasn’t and likely won’t be something on our radar anytime soon, so I turned to the internet to find the best at-home gel manicure kit a gal could buy.

Cue ZOYA’s Gelie-Cure Foundation Pro Kit. This set retails for only $65 (approximately how much I spend on one single gel manicure at the salon) and contains EVERYTHING you could possibly need: cuticle serum, all the gel goodies, foils to make you feel legit, and even a travel LED light so you can do your nails on the go (but please, STAY HOME). 

Obviously, I needed to put this kit to the test, because you can’t believe everything you read on the internet.

*Spoiler alert* it actually worked really well overall. We may have hit some minor speed bumps along the road, but this was definitely a step up from my regular DIY manicures that chip within the first five minutes of being dry. 

Here is my step-by-step guide to get your nails looking fab with an at-home gel manicure, regardless of which brand or kit you so choose to proceed with.

Step 1: Prep What You’re Working With

I have somehow managed to keep my nails in good condition throughout this quarantine, but if that isn’t the case for you, that is OK. First things first, you’ve got to shape your nail. I personally chose a “square with rounded edges” look, which is so easy to do on some nails, and a challenge on others. But, as long as the nails look semi-related, it works. I used the nail file from the kit, but obviously you can use any nail file that works for you.

Pro tip: After shaping, be sure to buff the edges to prevent cracking/breaking, because let’s be real, there is nothing more annoying. 

Step 2: Apply Treatment

After you’re ~ feeling good ~ with your nail base, it’s time to treat the nail and cuticle area. I am guilty of always having janky cuticles, so this step is everything, IMO. Unsure of what I did to deserve such a thing, but just thankful there is a solution. I apply a small amount of ZOYA’s Rescue Serum to my index finger (again, you can use your serum of choice) and then place a tiny little bit to each finger and massage into the nail. A little goes a long way here, so follow directions. If your cuticles are fine, let them be, but if they need a little loving, that’s ok too. Take a cuticle pusher, and GENTLY push cuticles back. And… then leave them alone. 

Pro tip: Don’t cut them, don’t pick them, just push back and let it be

Step 3: Base Coat

This is essentially common knowledge, but I’ll walk you through it anyway. Apply a gel base coat—I’m using ZOYA’s Repair Base, you’re using the base you so choose to proceed with. Cover your entire nail, and seal the free edge to avoid peeling/cracking. This is most applicable to those with longer nails, but if you’ve got short stubby nails (as I typically do), then just make sure you’ve covered what you’ve got. Easy enough? Yes. Moving on. 

Step 4: Foundation

Once you’ve got your base coat to protect your nails from all harm that gel causes, you’ll need your gel foundation. If you’re confused as to why you need two “base coats”, think of Repair Base as your SPF, and Naked Gelie as your makeup foundation. One layer to protect, one layer to work as a foundation for all of the following steps, if you may. For this step, you’ll actively avoid the cuticles and skin surrounding your nail (leave a small gap), but you will want to seal the free edge again. You can do a quick check under your nail light to ensure that the nail is properly covered, glowing, and not messy. I’d be lying if I said I did this flawlessly in one step. My left hand was easy, because I’m a righty, but my right hand was a bit of a struggle because my left hand has a mind of its own. 

Pro tip: Less is more, because the gel slides around the finger. One swipe down the center of each finger (with the brush fanned) will do.

Step 5: Go Glow Time

So now is when things get *serious* because we are locking in the gel coat and making moves!!

This step is important, but simple. You’ll turn on your light and bake. Put your fingers under the light for the allotted time, and make sure your nails do not stick out and have full exposure to the light. I have long fingers so I wish this light was a bit bigger, but most gals aren’t 6 feet tall like I am, so I guess I’ll take the L for this one. Once you’ve done this for all nails, it is safe to move on.

Pro tip: Repeat step four and five twice for a stronger gel coat. They typically do this at the salon as well, and it’s for a reason.

Step 6: The Grand Finale

This title is misleading if you want to add color, but if you want to keep it simple with no polish and just a fresh clear gel look, listen up. You’ll need any after-gel cure spray to remove residue from the nail. Use a lint free nail pad to ensure that no little fuzzies attack and mess up your perfect manicure. Speaking from experience, there is nothing worse. And voilà, you’ve got yourself a pair of fresh nails. 

(Optional) Step 7: Polish The Nails

SO if you’re mad at me for leaving colored polish out of the equation, relax, it’s here. We have two options from this point on:

Option 1: If you’d like the option of removing polish as you please like a regular manicure, you can simply paint any color over your gel manicure (regular polish, not that special “no light gel” BS that destroys your nails). This gives you the ability to change colors as you please, and the base should last 2-3 weeks under the color(s) of your choice (this is true for any brand’s at-home gel kit if done properly). If you’re afraid of commitment, this move is for you. This is what I decided to do in the photo above, and I ask that you please refrain from judging how shaky I am with my dominant hand. I TRIED, I really did, but as you can see, this is where the manicure went south. If I was going out in public, I’d probably have started over, but I’m living in a bubble and I only exit my apartment in gloves… so I said f*ck it and left them as they were.

Option 2: If you’re the girl that has been wearing Ballet Slippers on her nails for the last 10 years and nothing can change that, then we switch gears to the “sandwich technique”. No I did not come up with this name in a fit of hunger, but yes, I would love a sandwich. You’ll start this method the same as you would option one, and paint a thin layer of your favorite regular polish over the gel foundation. Wait two minutes (if you have the patience) and apply a second thin coat of polish to the nails. After this second coat is applied, wait 10 more minutes (sorry not sorry) for the coat to be semi-dried. *Trust the process* and once the 10 minutes are up, apply a layer of gel polish to the nail again. They don’t need to be completely dry, hence my “semi-dried” statement one sentence ago. 

Pro tip: Once applied, you’ll need to clean up the edges all around—this is actually important, because if the gel spreads to cuticles or corners, it can result in an incorrect cure. I KNOW you don’t want any mistakes at this point, so do as I say. Pop the nails back under the light and repeat steps five and six. 

And there you have it, an at-home gel manicure, pretty and perfect without having to go to a salon.

Is it as relaxing as an in-spa experience? Absolutely not. It’s actually stressful, because it’s easy to mess up and I am simply not as artistic as the nail technicians that I go to. I made my boyfriend massage my shoulders while my nails were under the light, but the experience was not the same.

Quality-wise, the gel is better than I expected and hasn’t peeled yet *knock on wood* so being that we are trapped inside for an indefinite amount of time, I would recommend going the gel kit route for the time being. But will this kit replace my nail salon forever? Probably not.

OH. I almost forgot. I feel it is important to include the removal process here too, and it’s sooo easy (this was the only step I was confident that I could conquer). If you’ve been to a salon, you probably know the deal, but if you pick off your gel nails (cringe) then follow these steps to avoid doing such a thing:

Step 1: Soak cotton ball with polish remover and place on nail

Step 2: Wrap nail in tin foil and shape to nail/finger

Step 3: Wait two minutes if you are removing just base, and four minutes if you are removing “sandwich nails”

Step 4: Open foil, and use cotton to wipe the nail clean. This is where we differ from the salon, who would typically use a file to remove the hard gel. The at-home nail systems make for easier, safer removal and for that, I am thankful. 

Please tag me in all of your nail photos and LMK what kit is your favorite, so I can see how much more talented the world is than me/see if I am doing it right. And if all else fails, find yourself a cute pair of press on nails and call it a damn day. THANKS and happy manicuring. 

Images: Toa Heftiba / Unsplash; Dylan Rubinstein (9); Courtesy of ZOYA

This Bride Put Her Dad’s Ashes Into Her Wedding Nails

I know what you’re thinking—that title has got to be clickbait, right? Nope, it’s not. In fact, it’s exactly as you read it. And, as bizarre as it sounds, it’s actually kind of sweet once you hear the story. Now, don’t get me wrong, putting a loved one’s ashes in your wedding nails is not something you see every day, and I’m not totally sure it’s something I would personally do, but I’m still in full support of this bride’s decision.

So the story is that this English bride, Charlotte Watson, tragically lost her father, Mick, to cancer just a few months before her wedding. Given her father’s cancer diagnosis, Charlotte and her then-fiancé, Nick, had even moved up their wedding date in hopes that Charlotte’s father could be there to walk her down the aisle. But unfortunately, he did not end up making it.

After Mick’s passing, Charlotte’s cousin, Kirsty Meakin, a popular nail artist with a big YouTube following, suggested that they use Mick’s ashes in the creation of the design of Charlotte’s wedding nails so that he could still be there with Charlotte on her special day. According to Fox News, they used “tiny bits of bone fragment” found in Mick’s ashes in the design of the nails, resulting in a glittery snowglobe-esque look that you really couldn’t even tell contained ashes unless someone told you.

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The full tutorial is up on my YouTube channel (link in bio) These nails were made with love. I created these wedding nails for my cousin Charlotte. Her father (my uncle Mick) sadly passed away at the end of April this year. He was an absolute legend, patient, kind and loved by so many. It was so sad that he couldn't be there to walk his daughter down the aisle on her big day. This got me thinking….. I wanted Charlotte to have her Father with her is some way or another . I came up with the idea to use Micks ashes in her nails. This way he would be there holding her hand as she walks down the aisle. This was an emotional day for us both and we are so please with how they turned out. I'm going to remove the nails for Charlotte after they have grown out for around 4 weeks so they will be preserved and kept in a keep sake box as a beautiful memory of the day. What better way to have used a tiny amount of ashes to bring such happiness. Rest in peace uncle Mick we love you dearly Thanks for the support beautiful people Kirsty Meakin

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Not only did the nails turn out incredible, the whole sentiment behind them is really sweet. As Meakin said of her own creation, “It was only when it was completed it sank in what it was. That her dad would be holding her hand on her wedding day.”

Charlotte said, “Having the ashes attached to my nails felt like he was holding my hand. I knew it wasn’t the same as him really being there, but it was as close as we could get.” She added, “It felt like he was there.”

Mick’s memory was included in other ways on the wedding day, BBC reports, such as pictures on the back of Charlotte’s shoes, in a pendant attached to her flowers, and a teddy made from some of his clothing, but the nails are definitely the most out-of-the-box element. And for those of you wondering, after the wedding, the nails were framed to still preserve the ashes and her father’s memory. All in all, it may sound strange on the surface, but it was a creative tribute that the bride and her family found moving—the bride said, “everyone loved the nails”—and clearly it made for a good story.

Images: @kirstymeakin / Instagram; Nick Karvounis / Unsplash

Powder Dip, Acrylic, Or Gel? Which Type Of Manicure Is Worth It

As someone who has identified as a chronic nail-biter for most of her life, I am (arguably) too invested in manicure culture. And I’m not talking about like, which mosaic design should I spend 4 hours and $98 getting licked on by kittens at Paintbox. I’m talking about the heavy-duty tools that transform my fingers from shredded nubs into somewhat respectable lady hands. In college, it was more about getting cool, claw-like nails for marking my territory the backdrop of latte art Instas. But at this point in my series of increasingly random jobs career, I’ve realized it’s a little gross to go in for a handshake when your nails look what can only be described as “freshly chewed.” Whatever reason you’re doing it, here are the pros and cons of various high-tech manicures.

SNS Powder Dip

SNS powder dip is not an artificial nail. It’s a different way of applying polish. Instead of painting on a liquid, the color comes from pigmented powder. Your nails will either be dipped into small containers of powder or the powder is painted directly on. You’re finished off with a top coat, and then—and this is my favorite part—you’re done. Totally dry, no UV light or 20 minutes under the regular dryers that still end with you ruining a nail as you walk out. This is meant to last up to three weeks (longer than gel), and it’s meant to promote nail growth. (The powder itself apparently has various vitamins or nutrients that do that; who knows what I believe.)

The biggest issue with powder dip right now seems to be that it’s only recently come back in style. So it’s hard to find a place that does it, and almost impossible to find a place that does it well. As for whether it’s better/worse for you than gels? While it’s promoted as a healthy alternative, most experts agree that it probably does the same amount of damage—just a different kind. Ultimately, my results were pretty good in some ways, and awful in others. Cons: it cost $45, they dipped my nails directly into the jars, and the color peeled off after a week and a half. Pros: the peeling process was super satisfying, I had zero chips, and my nails did grow back longer than ever. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat—but only at a different salon.

Acrylic Nails

Acrylic nails are nothing new, but their popularity in mainstream culture has changed a lot in the time I’ve been alive. As a 90s baby, I spent my teenage years thinking acrylics were tacky. I spent my college years clicking “Follow” on every Kardashian’s IG and getting acrylics once a month. Ah, how times change. While acrylics have many cons that I will outline in a minute, I can tell you right now that if you want Kardashian nails, you are going to need to get acrylics. Full stop. I don’t care how naturally long your nails are already (and did I mention I hate you?). If you want that long, skinny “stiletto nail” shape preferred by our unofficial royal family, you shouldn’t try to impose that on your natural nails. They will break, one at a time, and your nails will not grow back evenly for six months.

Acrylics, on the other hand, are pieces of plastic glued on to your natural nail and then filed into whatever the f*ck you want by what I think of as a miniature power drill (and what probably has a different, real name). The process will be very long, especially if you want the acrylics to be a feasibly human length (think 90 minutes minimum). Acrylics will also kind of shred your real nails underneath, as in they’ll look terrifying and swamp thing-y when the nails first come off. I’ve found it’s nothing a strengthening clear coat and some cuticle oil won’t fix, but I wouldn’t recommend months of back-to-back acrylics with no break. So, cons: time-consuming, often pricey, requires fills every 2-3 weeks, and will have an unpleasant effect on your nails. Pros: this is the best your nails will ever look.

Gel Extensions

I’m assuming most of you know what gel manicures are. They’re the more expensive option to regular manicures, with the bonus of walking out with dry nails that will (allegedly) last longer than regular polish. Gel extensions, on the other hand, are an alternative to acrylics. The extensions themselves (the thing that is not your nail that you are attaching to your nail) are made of the same gel as gel polish, and you pick a size and shape to have attached to your natural nail, same as acrylics. Rather than being glued on, the gel extension is bonded to your nail using (surprise!) more gel. LED light then apparently bonds all this together, and voilà, you have a gel nail addition to your nail.

I’ve never personally tried gel extensions, because (con #1) I’ve found it even more difficult to track down than powder dip. However, I’ve seen it on friends and I think this has potential to be the best nail trend yet. I’ve never been crazy about the process of acrylics (the chemicals are good for no one involved, least of all the nail technicians). And somehow putting glue and plastic on top of my natural nails feels like something I should’ve left behind in middle school. That being said, I’m not about to give up the dream of having long nails I can loudly drum on countertops when I’m annoyed. That’s the right of every American. So, if gel extensions actually cause less damage to all involved? I’m on board.

(Sidenote that gel extensions are certainly the most expensive option on this list, since you will actually have to go to a bougie place to get them and pay bougie prices.)

And that’s all my wisdom! If you prefer natural-looking nails and yours are in need of some rehab, powder dip is the best investment you can make. If you’re looking for long-term glam that won’t shred your existing nails, write your congressman and tell him we need more nail salons that do gel extensions. (I kid! But not really.) And if you need Insta-worthy claws for an event this week and can’t afford to ball out on experimental new trends, acrylics all the way. Your friends who still call it tacky will eat their words when they see how f*cking good it can look.

Images: Luis Reynoso / Unsplash; Giphy (3)

The Prettiest Spring Nail Trends You’ll Want To Try Right Now

The last few weeks of winter have been v dreary, dark, and like, seriously fucking depressing. It doesn’t help that it only matches my daily mood, chronic RBF, and go-to outfit of black leggings with a dark oversize sweater. To help fast forward to spring and brighten up my boring-ass life, I’ve decided to treat myself (as per usual) to a much-needed manicure that resembles a cheery spring. Prepare to think twice before grabbing your usual black polish, because these are the spring nail trends and colors you’ll want to try right now.

1. Metallic

Chrome is like, super trendy rn, so in addition to a flashy phone case, metallic colors will look just as cute on your nails. Rose gold is def the best metal to choose (fucking duh), so feel free to contrast an accent finger with a millennial pink or rosy mauve.

✨ REPOST – – • – – Mauve, Rose-Gold and Glitter on long Square Nails ✨???? – – • – – ???? Picture and Nail Design by @nailsby_niava ???? Follow her for more gorgeous nail art designs! ???? @nailsby_niava @nailsby_niava – – • – – ????Products used: @madam_glam Metallic Gel “Rose Gold”, Gel Polish “You’re so Vain”, Glitter – – • – – #rosegoldnails #glitternails #squarenails #nailart #nailswag #naildesigns #nailartaddict #nailartwow #nailartjunkie #nailsdesign

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2. Iridescent

I’m not one for having my nails look like an acid trip, but a simple iridescent or pearlescent top coat can be just the right extra touch if you’re looking to add a little more to a basic mani. Stick to light shades like summer white or pale pink for a shiny au naturale set you can match with everything.

We have officially fallen head over heels for these nails! ????

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3. Pastels

Pastels for spring are nothing special. Surprise, sur-fucking-prise. The pastel version of literally any color will be a good option for bright, cheery nails that basically make you look somehow tanner and all-around a better person. The most popular spring nail trends will def be baby blue, bright orange, pale pink, and mint green. You’re welcs.

#spring? #nails #pastel #pastelnails #passion #love #lovemanicure #lovenails #lovely #beauty #beautiful #shine #shortnails #change #nailsart #nailstyle #instamani #instalove

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4. Soft Yellow

Yellow nails are typically thought of as the equivalent to brown leggings. Just a downright, flat-out, hard no. Both are disgusting and totally unflattering. But IDK, this is 2018 and things are changing pretty fast, so honestly, a soft pale yellow is considered kinda cute on your nails now. I guess it doesn’t hurt to spice up your Snapchat nailfies for warmer weather to come.

#nailsbytriciapierce #nails #nailsinstg #stgnails #southernutahnails #435nails #nailsinstgeorgeut #washingtoncountynailtech #utahnailtech #uncnailtech #almondnails #nailpro #nailpromagazine #nail it mag #nailsofinstagram #nailstagram #nailsonfleek #yellownails

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5. Black AF

Just because it’s day drinking season pretty soon, doesn’t mean our devotion to black is going away anytime soon. Break up an all black manicure with nude or neutral nail art to add some ~pizzazz~ and contrast to your nails with a color block. Stick to changing up at least one accent finger, so you don’t look like a goth freak in 70 degree weather.

???????????? #blackmanicure #nailart #naildesign #squerenails #happyclient #happyme

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Images: Alehandra13 / Pixabay; Instagram (5)

The Winter Nail Art Trends That Will Be All Over Instagram In 2018

For the most part, nail trends are pretty predictable: red for fall, black for winter, florals for spring, and white for summer. However, each year seems to bring at least one surprising trend we couldn’t have possibly seen coming, such as 2017’s half-painted nails or pierced nails. Yeah, 2017 was a pretty shitty year for all of us, and maybe it’s just my lame attempt to be positive, but I’m just going to go out on a whim and say with 2018 right around the corner (no, literally, it’s like, in 6 days), we can only go up from here. I mean that in every way possible—by upgrading our definition of music (mumbling “Gucci Gang” over a beat does not count), getting a new president (plz), and bringing new nail trends that aren’t cringeworthy for once. Here are five nail trends we’re all about to want as soon as the new year begins.

1. Marble Nails

We couldn’t let our new iPhone X be the only one looking cute in its marble case from Shop Betches. The design looks just as good on nails as you’d think. Accent the ring finger (or multiple fingers) with a solid color.

Marble Nails

2. Holiday-Inspired Nails All Year Round

The holiday season calls for everything to look as though glitter just vommed everywhere. Despite how much of a bitch it is to get off, holiday-inspired glitter nails are surprisingly a thing, snow or no snow. Feel free to keep your glitter polish on long after the New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Glitter Nails

3. Contrasting Shades Of The Same Color

For those who are the most indecisive and torn between two or even three shades of the same nude, luckily for you, it’s not tacky to choose all three. Whether it’s with different shades of blues, pinks, or grays, create your own ombre effect across your nails.

Blue Nails

4. Simple Strokes

Simplicity is key when it comes to nail art, because despite contrary belief, we are really not in the ‘90s anymore. Opt for random lines, an array of small dots, or zig-zags on select fingers for a sophisticated design that looks harder than it probably really was.

Nail Art

5. Black-Tie Nails

Obviously, black will never, ever, ever (say ever again) go out of style, so long as I’m living. However, even the biggest fan of black will eventually grow bored it, so to glam up your basic manicure, incorporate a black and white theme that’s incredibly simple, but oh-so-classy—two words I probably would not use to describe my personality, but whatever.

Black Nails

Nail Polishes That Last As Long As A Manicure And Don’t Chip

We’re in full-on holiday mode, which means that instead of spending my hard-earned money on getting shitfaced at happy hour things I actually like to do, I’m spending it on the people I love. Those fucking bitches. And it’s hard to always choose the right gift for people. I mean, sometimes it’s not as easy as buying deodorant for Smelly Melly Melissa in accounting, ya know? Sometimes you have to put a little bit more thought into it. Like, what do I get the friend in my life who’s been with me through all of my blackouts thick and thin? The friend who texts me “drinks later? ;)” at 10am on a Tuesday and who I can always count on to start shit with that bitch who just gave me side-eye? I would try and get her some good sense but, like, where’s the fun in that? Nah. I’ll stick with something she actually needs, like nail polish that doesn’t chip, no matter how shitty she gets at bars. So here are five nail polishes that make the perfect gift for every ratchet bitch you know (including yourself).

1. Vinylux Weekly Polish

While this brand might seem more random than the girl you exchanged numbers with in line for the bathroom last weekend, it’s actually pretty top-notch as far as polishes go. When applied with the weekly top coat, nails can last for a solid 10 days or until it’s socially acceptable to start peeling off your nails out of boredom.

Vinylux Weekly Polish

2. OPI Infinite Shine

Remember when everyone lost their shit because Essie was coming out with a gel manicure that you could do at home while binge watching shitty reality TV and drinking your weight in Chardonnay? Well, OPI Infinite Shine is even better. It looks, feels, and acts like a gel mani, but you don’t have to go through that annoying AF process of taking it off, because it can easily be removed with regular old nail polish remover. BLESS UP, people.

OPI Infinite Shine

3. Essie Gel Couture Nail Polish

Speaking of Essie, if you don’t mind torturing yourself the upkeep of a gel manicure, then by all means, invest in Essie’s Gel Couture Nail Polish. It’s been one of the leading brands in nail polish and for good fucking reason. They have lots of color options, plus their whole thing is you can stay at home and do your own manicure instead of having to put on pants deal with trying to impress people at the nail salon.

Essie Gel Couture Nail Polish

4. CoverGirl Outlast Stay Brilliant Nail Gloss

If you want to say fuck all the bullshit and buy a product that does the work of three in one, then you should def invest in the latest nail polish from CoverGirl. Not only does this brand have a shitton of color options, but they also combine base coat, nail color, and topcoat into ONE PRODUCT. It’s like there is a God and She’s been watching me waste my paycheck at happy hour and knows how much I love an easy way out saving my dollars where I can. 

CoverGirl Outlast Stay Brilliant Nail Gloss

5. Deborah Lippmann Nail Color

Get this for the friend who is constantly lecturing you on her journey to veganism and her new “healthy” lifestyle but then gorges on Big Macs when she’s blackout. Deborah Lippmann is formaldehyde-, toluene-, and dibutyl-free so it’s, like, good for you and shit. Plus it’s supposed to be chip-free and last a little over a week. 

Deborah Lippmann

Read: 5 Holiday Nail Art Ideas That Will Have You Feeling Festive AF