In therapy, I keep being told to look at how I dress and how I make myself up and how that relates to my sexuality (you don't have to be Freud to piece it together). I love getting dressed, I love doing my make-up, exfoliating everywhere, forty types of moisturiser, basically anything that makes me look and feel nice.
But the joy has been taken out a little bit at the moment in light of constant examination of my motives for even how I perfume and accessorise myself. However, there is one bit of my self-care routine that definitely has nothing to do with whether or not I want a shag and that is my nail art, and that makes me happiest of all.
I'm not very kitschy, I don't wear glitter on my eyes (or anywhere else), my clothes are predominantly black, I like a fair few crucifix adornments about my person. But I do looove kitschy nails. And here is my how to guide to the kitschest nails I can imagine.
- Emery board and nail buffer
- Cuticle oil (Skin Truth) and an orange stick
- Nail glue
- Old tweezers
- Base coat (Sally Hansen Miracle Grow)
- Iridescent polish (Model's Own Indian Ocean)
- Glitter Polish (Barry M 264 Pink Iridescent)
- Kitschy stuff in fimo slices (I like eBay stores best for this - they are cheap like you wouldn't believe)
- Seche Vite topcoat
1. Find a spare two hours. Look, it's going to take ages, I'm not going to lie. The best time to do your nails is in daylight because, obviously, you can see better, but it takes ages to dry so I usually do it before bed with a circle of lamps around me like a confused senior school wiccan.
2. File your nails. Do your cuticles. Get a cuticle pen, or some cuticle oil and an orange stick and PUSH THEM BACK. Clip off gross bits with a cuticle cutter. Do the stuff you should do all time because that's what classy ladies do, but never remember to. The cuticle oil I love at the moment is Skin Truth because a) it works and b) I can carry the teeny bottle around in my bag and rub some into my nails on the bus because I never remember to do it at home and you should do it twice a day apparently.
3. Buff your nails lightly, but so they feel a little bit rough to the touch. Any buffer will do - I once bought one of those electric ones but it sounded like a dying vibrator, and had even less vigour. Do not buy that. If your nails are too naturally glossy, the nail varnish will chip off more easily and if you are going to spend two hours doing your nails, you want to get more than a day out of them.
4. Base coat them. I love Sally Hansen 'Miracle Grow' or 'Hard As Nails' but I think that might just be great advertising, because my nails are flimsy as fuck and I always base coat with some sort of strengthening thing. So use anything. But always use one or your nails will end up yellowy and stained.
5. Do not wait for the base coat to dry, it is better to apply a layer of nail varnish whilst the previous layer is still tacky to the touch- this helps avoid the dreaded peeling. Stick on a few layers of whatever you feel like. I've used three of this awesome Models Own 'Indian Ocean' which makes me think of mermaids. For kitsch you want something girly and shimmery, pinks or blues or whatever, OPI do a great iridescent called Significant Other Colour, Models Own have some great other ones too.
6. Glitter over it all. I really think this is the key to a lot of nail art, because somehow glitter just masks any mistakes you make. I'm sure there's a science behind it. Fine glitter is best so that your nails don't look TOO cluttered- I used Barry M 264 (Pink Iridescent) which is only £2.99. Bargain.
7. Wait for this all to dry. Pretty well. The last thing you want is to try and stick shit onto gloopy half-dry polish, believe me, and it is worth waiting. Make a cup of tea, have a cigarette and then watch half an episode of SVU. That is how long you need to wait.
8. Get your tweezers. Not your favourite Tweezerman ones, that cost like £19 and come in an unnecessary carry case but the ones that came in a Christmas manicure set that you've never used and you couldn't pull out an eyebrow hair with even if they were the last pair on Earth. They are going to get gluey and gross, so make sure you don't care about them.
9. Pick up whatever bit of kitsch you are going to tack onto your nail and, using a toothpick, dollop on some nailglue. Superglue also works, I think they are basically the same thing, but nailglue makes me feel better about the state of my nails. Stick it onto your nail. Using the tweezers, press down the edges of the bit of fimo for a few seconds so that it curves with your nail, so you don't have weird gaps that are going to encourage you to pick at your nails or catch on your clothes. Repeat x 100.
10. When you have stuck everything onto your hands, grab your nail glue and using a toothpick, dollop onto/under bits of your fimo that don't look like they've curved with your nail, trying to stick the toothpick on the underside of the gem/flower/whatever so that it actually holds and hold it down for a few seconds with the tweezers. This bit is, I think, the most important stage. You want this stuff to be cemented onto your hands, nobody wants tiny little kitten faces all over their bedsheets when they've spent hours trying to put them on their fingers.
11. This is the second most important stage. TOPCOAT TOPCOAT TOPCOAT. I don't understand people who don't use Seche Vite, it is the shiniest and the fastest drying. Do a thick topcoat, it'll smooth everything out a bit - sometimes I use two if the things I have stuck on are really 3D.
12. Leave to dry. For ages. And ages. Admire.
I like to do a quick check over my adorned hands every few days with a bottle of nail glue to stick down any stuff that might not be as firm as it once was and then do another topcoat, just because it helps with any chipping or any of my temptation to peel.
VOILA! It might not get you laid, but it sure does look cute. The best way to finally untack this all from your hands (I don't know why you ever would, but it's up to you if you don't want to live with beautiful fingers forever) is some 100% Acetate on some cotton wool. Patience is key. Also, you can obviously do many variations on this that make it less like a 12-year-old harajuku-lover’s wet dream, including my second favourite, tropical fruit sunset.