The French Manicure

    Good morning, Dear Reader!

    Thanks for all the kind comments and the emails about the job thing - I really appreciate them.  I'll reply to all, but I thought I'd mention it explicitly since it seems a little empty the 30th time I respond with "Thanks," but it's not and the support really helps and is appreciated.

    In hopeful anticipation of having job interviews this week, when I swapped out the soak off gel yesterday, I switched to a French manicure.  It sparkles, but is otherwise just a traditional French.  I haven't worn a French manicure in a while, but I recently saw a picture from a few years ago where my nails were about this length with a sparkly French and I liked how it looked.  In the days when I was an IT manager and unaware of quick dry top coat, my solution to a mid-week break or just not having a block of time available where I could change polish with it air drying between coats was to go to this super young (nineteen year old) manicurist who was exceptionally good, and I'd get a French because she was so skillful at doing them well.  She's apply the white, then go over each nail line with an acetone dipped brush to make the line perfect and very clean, and she was an absolute perfectionist.  I considered that and realized that I do like French manicures, but only with a pretty white tip with a really clean line, much cleaner than I can do freehanding with polish.  I thought I'd give it a shot with the gel and see how I did, and I'm pleased.

    I read some tips before this application, as I'm finding out new things just by doing the gel.  One is that it's like polish with respect to variance in consistency - it's not IBD gel that's hard to remove, it's glitters, and cremes remove really easily.  I found a nail tech's site (that is, a site authored by a nail tech rather than one written for them)  with some tips, many of which seemed like they'd complicate the bejeebers out of it, but one I took was to disregard manufacturer claims about gel being self-leveling and to buff it before the sealer.  She also talked about some interesting techniques to manipulate the gel with partial curing, but I just bookmarked it since I'm not at that point yet.

    For colors, I wanted a really white white.  I know a lot of people don't like super white tips with the objection that it looks fake, and while I completely agree that it looks fake, that doesn't change the fact that I like how it looks.  So I got a glittery IBD white called Sweet Nothings, and in looking for a pink discovered that IBD Antique Lace had the same glitter and went with it.  I applied the white first, covering the free edge to a few millimeters below the nail line, then I went back with a clean brush and scooted the edge into a straight line  working from the opposite direction, moving cuticle to free edge.  I did two coats, then filled in one of the pink, then one of clear gel, doing a quick cleanup by running the edge of a manicure stick all around each nail prior to curing each coat, and did the final three minute cure before buffing to smooth.  After buffing, I added sealer, cured again, and it's done.  Here, you can see that my lines turned out to be clean and sharp.

    French Manicure
    French Manicure with Lots of Glitter
    I forgot to mention that I Photoshopped the heck out of cuticle injuries (which are looking grosser as they heal) out of consideration of your eyes.  Nothing of the nails or gel is altered, but I thought it was worth mentioning since I do such a rookie job of Photoshopping.  My middle and ring fingers were both cut at the cuticle the last time I used foil to remove soak off gel - after soaking in acetone my skin is displeased, and a scrape with a pointy edge of foil was all it took to slice it.  For the removal preceding this application, I used plastic wrap and rubber bands to hold the acetone soaked felt rather than foil and it was a thousand times easier to get on and to keep on.

    So the manicure isn't perfect, but it ain't half bad for using a couple of new tricks, and without magnification it looks pretty good.  I don't really see altering this one too much other than adding a pattern to it here and there, so I likely won't have a ton of posts this week.  I just like how nice and clean a French manicure can look, and if it sparkles, I'll be content with it for a while.

    That's the update on the nail front.  I have lots and lots to keep me busy this week, so I might miss posting a few days, but I'll be around.  Until next time, Dear Reader, love and nail polish to you!  

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