Q My nails are over-nail-arted and need a rest. What are some good treatments/polishes for a cleaner look that will help them grow/strengthen? And is it cool to go barely-there these days with nail color? —Tierney
A Dear Tierney,
Nails have gone so anything-goes that a neat, clean, near-colorless manicure is probably the freshest-looking option of all. If you’re serious about the “need a rest” aspect, I’d get a manicure where they buff your nails, as opposed to polishing them. It’s amazing how shiny and perfect-looking a buffed nail is—and the look lasts as long as most manicures (you can also buy a buffer at the drugstore and do it yourself). My mother has always maintained that long fingers mean your ancestors were aristocrats. The Lucky fact-checking department may take issue with this claim, but they cannot deny that pale or no nail polish makes any finger, high-born or otherwise, look longer.
Beyond shocking everyone with your minimalism, it’s good to take a break every once in a while anyway—colored polish can stain your nails a bit, so they look yellower. Plus, nail polish remover can dry and/or irritate your cuticles. A few weeks of just buffing should get you back in shape. Strengtheners (most brands make one) look just like clear polish, and that’s another minimalist option. A handsome guitar player (a broken nail, no good for a guitar player; who knew?) I know swears by something called Quimica Alemana ($12, amazon.com), which reportedly stings when you put it on but is so outstanding in the strengthening department that it’s worth it. (The guitar player scoffs at reports of stinging, as does the company.) Oils—CND Solar Oil ($11, cnd.com for stores) is the classic—keep the whole nail area healthy. You can’t go wrong.
You can also use the strengthener as a base coat, then do color over the top—I like a short classic fire engine red like OPI The Thrill of Brazil ($8, ulta.com) or the deep, dark Chanel Vamp ($27, chanel.com) manicure for a nail-art vacation. And for barely-there, Essie Ballet Slippers ($9, essie.com) remains the ultimate!
Tommy Ton/Trunk Archive.