My collection of polishes started when I was a pre-teen. It was the height of Hard Candy's fame. With the brash new colors they introduced to the 'beauty' market with jelly rings and sexy ads to match, every budding beauty aficionado I knew, with me as no exception, had to have them. We didn't take the proper pre-soak and cuticle-pushing steps like the pros but painted away trading tips and techniques of our diy manis. My personal favorite trick was to paint your nails before a day at the pool, as a case of raisin fingers always seemed to correct messy nail painting.
Today, as someone with a day job, I can indulge in the luxury of getting my nails done for me. And I love going to the salon. It's a place of pampering and relaxation, but also a modern meeting place, where you can get to know everyone from employees to other patrons. And a wealth of insider knowledge too. The person painting your toes can recommend the best eyebrow waxer around while a stranger in the next massage chair will tip you off to different shopping websites or neighborhood bakery. It's a place I go to with friends, my mom, my sister, my niece, Raj, geez - it's like I don't even know you if we hadn't gotten our nails done together. Recently though, with big scary headlines about the effect of chemicals on salon workers, I'm opting for my own adaptation of the manicure, the take home manicure. I go out for a good cheap message and nail buffing, with the professionals starting a good clean blank canvas, and finish the rest at home. That spares anyone else having to deal with much besides soap, water, and my bubbly personality. A lot has changed in the market since Hard Candy's hayday, and even drug store buys make painting for amateurs easy. There Insta-Dri polish for impatient painters, pens for over-achiever-nail-artist, and nail wraps for instant gratification. So, even if you skip the color at the salon, you don't have to skip color on your toes, no matter your polish-skill level.