My mother rarely polished her nails; she was a gardener, and the manicures didn’t last more than a day or two. My Aunt, however, always had beautiful, polished nails. They were elegant. Classy. Powerful, even. When I was about 11 years old, she taught me how to give myself a manicure, and she knew what she was doing. That was back when nails were painted in shades of pink and red, maybe a warm hint of orange or a suggestion of purple. When I took the time to polish my nails, they were a shade of pink, and they always made me feel more . . . feminine.
Along came the late 60s and the 70s, and I was too hip and “green” to use nail polish. I filed my nails, and buffed them, and that was good enough. And really, that is good enough. If your nails are healthy, you don’t really need polish for them to look beautiful. Clean them, file them, push back the cuticle (carefully!), and buff them, and they look lovely. They also say things about you: Basic. Down-to-earth. Genuine. Classy (in a more transparent way).
We have been in an economic slump for several years. People are cutting back, and sales on most things have dropped. But you know what has seen an increase on sales? Nail polish. More people are doing their own manicures now. And nail polish is an inexpensive way to change your look, give yourself a psychological lift, accessorize your clothing. (Wearing that same little black dress to the Christmas party this year? Use some snazzy nail polish with an interesting design, and maybe no one will notice.)
Must admit — there is something fun about getting together with lady friends and doing each other’s nails. (That song “I Feel Pretty” always runs through my head.) And I feel so grown-up when I open the bathroom cupboard, and there is a line of nail polish bottles in various colors. But it keeps coming back to my inability to make my nail polish look good for more than a couple days. I’ve tried everything, including putting a new clear coat on every day. Part of my downfall is the rubbing alcohol I use every day — it softens and dissolves the polish. I recently learned about Opi’s Nail Envy nail strengthener (in matte finish), and am amazed how much better it makes even “unpainted” nails look. Am going to give that a try.