Monday, April 26, 2010

Reader Request: A Polished Look

It's been a while since I've posted a reader request. Today's request comes from Tara M. of Atlanta, Georgia and is all about a particular accessory that can polish off your overall look- nail polish.

Here is what she wrote:

Dear Karla,

I've been following your blog for several months and have enjoyed reading your archives. I really agree with everything you write about. I have a question for you about nail polish. There are so many trends swirling around this spring especially in the nail polish department.

One of your older posts included a great neutral color for fingernails. I enjoy getting a french manicure and pedicure done but want to have a little fun and switch it for spring and summer. What are your thoughts on colors for both toes and fingers? Are bright colors considered to be tacky or unclassy or are they part of the summer look?

I look forward to hearing what you have to say.


Tara M.

This is a great question and one that maybe some of you have wondered about also. Here are my thoughts on nail polish and nail hygiene in general.

If you think about it, nails and hands really are a focal point, your hands are seen everyday. Before even addressing nail polish itself it's important that nails are neatly kept. If nail polish starts chipping off, nails are dirty from cleaning or gardening or an artificial nail is missing on a hand full of say acrylic nails, that would be the first order of business. Nail cleanliness is so important and it really gives others a good look into how you value hygiene on your priority list.  Nails are also a breeding ground for germs and bacteria so shorter, natural nails are best. Personally I keep my nails long enough that they still look pretty and feminine but short enough so that they stay clean and I prefer my natural nails so that they stay healthy and strong and can breathe.

In terms of color, I don't think it's a bad thing at all. It all depends on how you apply it and where it is worn. There are shades that, on your finger nails, probably aren't the best for the office but you shouldn't feel as if your only options are clear, french tips or neutral pale colors.

One of the things I love about summer is dressing up my tootsies in fun colors. I'm don't personally wear a lot of color on my hands because I feel some colors are too in your face and with toes, you can easily hide them if a color isn't appropriate for a certain venue, say an important interview where you'd want to be taken seriously. Finger nail polish also begins to chip quickly after the first day or two, so bright or dark colors create a higher level of maintenance. As mentioned above, when you keep your nails shorter and neatly kept, you avoid the 'talon' look so that in and of itself already creates a neater, more classy look as a base for any color. Bright colors on really long nails in  my opinion are not at all classy or elegant. The same holds true for designs on nails. It is exteremly important to make sure that even while growing nails out that they are all the same length.

There are a lot of great colors to choose from right now and I think a vacation spot and the late spring and summer months are the perfect time to show off your bright, new pedicure. While many neon colors reminiscent of the 80's have surfaced  and some many want to relive that decade, use your discretion. Just because they are available doesn't always mean they are beneficial. ;)

There is no hard and fast rule but I think clean, pretty and tasteful always prevails. You also do not need your manicure to match your pedicure so you could go a little more conservative on the finger nails or wear a pretty shimmery pink with just enough punch while being more expressive with your feet.

Tara, I hope this information was helpful. The spring and summer months are here so I hope you will choose to have a little fun with your pedicures and enjoy the warm, sunny weather.

This past weekend I got to enjoy a mani/pedi at one of my favorite spas called the Beauty Spot. I was ready for a punch of bright color myself so I decided to get my pedicure done with OPI's Cajun Shrimp. I purchased my own bottle last year after falling in love with this fun color. It is a deep orange-red with a hint of pink and every salon I've visited deems it as the perfect summer color that they can't seem to keep in stock.

With all of the choices I had available to me I still wound up choosing this color, it is my favorite fun go-to summer color. Here in Florida it feels like summer year round and we are already reaching 90 degree temps on a pretty regular basis so I am in open toe pumps, gladiators or other sandals daily. Some of you might feel more comfortable using such a color when your area becomes a bit warmer. For fun I decided to snap a photo for you in one of my most favorite and comfortable pair of peep-toe heels, because it always looks a bit different in the bottle than on your nails.

Here is a closer look of the color. Sorry, blogger would not let this picture post in it's rotated form.

I have also included my all-time favorite nail color called Madison from the Zoya brand which I'm wearing on my finger nails right now. If you are not familiar, Zoya is a less toxic line that eliminates tolulene and formaldehyde from its line and boasts as a safe choice for pregnant mommies to be. It is just as durable as many of the other brands. I use two thin coats of this and own two bottles of this in my nail polish basket too. I often use this as a spring color on my toes too when I'm transitioning from the deeper, darker plum colors of fall to the brighter colors of summer. It does not show small chips and if your nails are short or growing, it keeps them from standing out while you await your longer nails. On occassion when I'm in the mood I'll also wear darker colors on my hands but because they chip quickly while I'm busy working, it is rare.

What are YOUR favorite nail polish colors? What color do you have on your fingers and toes right now? I'd love to hear about. :)

Have a wonderful week!


  1. I'm rocking black fingers and toes... kinda punky for a girl with 5 boys, but very fun! xo Erica

  2. I'm so glad you mentioned Zoya! To me, it is very important to avoid chemicals (such as formaldehyde) that are often in more traditional nail polishes, so I love eco-friendly lines like Zoya or Acquarella to get a safe summer pick-me-up :)

  3. Katie, I'll have to check out Acquarella. I've also tried SpaRitual and that is another great brand, found online.

    OPI has apparently taken out the 3 worst ingredients that they call 3-Free. Tolulene, Formaldehyde and Dibutyl Pthalate.

  4. I'll have to check the Zoya out! Good advice!

  5. I've never had a professional pedicure, although it's definitely on my 'things to do before 40' list.
    One thing that holds me back is, I have Runner's feet... I need my hardened bits of skin and ugly bits for protection :)

    1. My friend is a runner and always gets pedicure. Try it.

  6. Struggler,

    You have to get a professional pedicure, they rock! I love the foot massage and not having to constantly hunch over to paint my toes and file my nails, etc. It's very relaxing. Just be sure that when you go your splurge and go to a spa that is ultra clean and really disinfects everything. They will only work on the soles of your feet if you want, you could tell them not to if you preferred. You will love them! :)


  7. I love Bubble Bath by OPI. It now comes in shellac/gel

  8. I just bought Cajun Shrimp and LOVE IT!


Thanks for stopping by, your comments make my day! I read every single one and will answer any questions you have. I hope you'll visit again soon! :)


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