Friday, May 7, 2010

BUDGET BELLE: Get a Polished Look

It's time for our regularly scheduled confession time, people. You know, the time where I admit to you certain beauty rituals/staples that I absolutely hate and then in turn disqualify myself as a beauty expert. Yayyy. Well, this one's a bit of a doozy. I, Budget Belle, dislike the vast majority of spa treatments. In fact, I'd venture to say that I dislike going to spas entirely. *Gasp* I know, I know. Here's the rundown of my neuroses. I don't like random people touching me, let alone MASSAGING me. Yeah, not gonna happen. Facials? Nope. I can make my face look red and splotchy all by my lonesome. Mud/seaweed/saran wraps of sorts? I don't think so. Oddly enough, my mother feels the same way - problematic when it comes to Mother's Day/birthday/Christmas presents, but that's a horse of a different color.

The few "spa" like treatments that I enjoy? Two (sort of) words: Mani Pedi. Just the sound of it makes me relax a little. I cannot walk around with unpainted toes . . . I'm trying to remember the last time they weren't painted and am drawing a blank. Pedicures are a must for me. I know, you'd think I'm rolling in money with a statement like that, right? Incorrect, my friends. I am also the master of the at-home pedicure. Yes, I enjoy the occasional professionally done mani/pedi - in fact, I get one about once every season. However, I tend to do them myself for the most part. And, lucky for you, I'm going to tell you all about my go-to products for at-home pedicures.

First, exfoliate. Yep, you can't get away from this one, folks. You can use the St. Ives scrub I recommended before (I like to pair it with a washcloth to get some extra scrubbing action) or just use regular soap and a pedicure scrub brush, whichever is your preference. I tend to think the pedicure brush isn't really worth the money, but to each her own. Second, moisturize. I know - repeating pattern. If you read my last post about Nivea body lotion, you know why this step is important. You don't want dry, cracked feet do you? Gross.
Next, take a Q-tip, dip it in nail polish remover and make sure to go over your toenails, taking off that body lotion (use a cotton pad if you already have nail polish on your toes, so you can take that off as well). While the lotion is great for your skin, it's a barrier between your nail and the nail polish - if you don't remove the excess oil, the nail polish won't stay on properly and you're pretty much just wasting your time. After that's done, I like to use a product by OPI called "Chip Skip." Just a single application over each toenail - it dries very quickly, almost instantly, and gives you a little extra protection from chipped color on your nails.

Now, onto the fun stuff. First, you need a base coat. I like to use OPI's Start-To-Finish Formaldehyde Free Base & Top Coat. It doesn't contain the chemicals that dry out your nails and provides a really solid base. One of the dangers of not using a good base coat is that your nails could get brittle or turn yellow from the nail polish (this usually only happens if you're using a darker nail polish without a base coat). I highly recommend a base coat for this very reason. Second, pick your color. Any color. There are so many different color options out there, I don't really think you can go wrong. I love really vibrant colors on my toes, so I tend to use reds and pinks - my absolute favorite red is OPI's "I'm Not Really A Waitress." (Also, I LOVE the names on OPI polishes - hilarious). You're sensing a pattern of the OPI brand, right? It's my go-to brand when it comes to nail care products and colorful nail polishes. For paler colors (the kind I like to use on my hands), I tend to go with Essie. Right not, I'm loving Essie's "Starter Wife" - a pale, natural looking pink.

Once you've picked out your color, begin applying your first coat to your toes. After the first coat, I wait a few minutes and then apply a second coat. I find that this helps the color stay on even longer. A few minutes after you've finished the second coat, do another application of the Base & Top Coat. After the top coat, I like to use a few drops of OPI's "Drip Dry" Lacquer Drying Drops. Use about one to two drops on each toe and it speeds up the drying process - I've found that after using the drying drops, my nails are dry in about 3 minutes. MUCH faster than air-drying alone.

My manicure tips are pretty much the same, aside from the difference in color. I'm not a big fan of the french manicure but, as I said before, I really love pale pink colors on my hands. I find that it's not distracting to myself or anyone else in a professional environment, and it just feels a little more put together for my taste. But, having said that, it's your own personal taste here, use whatever you like!

Also, please feel free to leave a comment about your favorite nail polish or ask for a recommendation. I love checking out new options.

Stay polished!


  1. I love the opi color cajun shrimp for the toes

  2. you are so dull!