In the Buff

One great thing about Essie polishes?  The saturation of color–most of them are totally opaque with just two coats.  One terrible thing about Essie polishes?  The saturation of color.  Sure, Garden Variety looked gorgeous the few days I was sporting it, but post-removal, my nails looked like those of a dead girl.

Ah, hell no.
I blue myself!

This simply cannot do.  Usually the discoloration will go away on its own after a few days of letting your nails have a chance to breath, but this is something I cannot do for the following reasons:

1.  I have bitten my nails since birth and when they remain nude, I have nothing stopping me from gnawing them to the quick.

2.  Touching my bare nails when they’re wet gives me that nails-on-a-chalkboard feeling.  So, naturally, I cannot stop myself from doing so and am in an eternal state of goosebumps.

3. My nail game is on point.

So I have found a tried and true solution to get these babies back in manicure form and will now kindly bestow that gift unto you.

STEP 1:

Gather your things.  This highly scientific procedure requires a bowl, hot water, a spoonful of baking soda, and some lemon juice.

Incredibly scientific.
Science ruuuuules.

Or, say, you don’t have lemon juice and are really comfortable at home in your pajamas and just can’t bear to bring yourself to change into shorts and sunglasses and brave the 75 degree day?  Lime juice works too.  Also, get your nail tools handy; I’m talking file, clippers, cuticle trimmer, and buffer.

That's right, we're pulling out the big guns.
That’s right, we’re pulling out the big guns.

STEP 2:

Pour some water in your bowl, place it in the microwave, and heat it for about a minute.  Make sure it’s hot enough to have a little steam coming off the top, but not to the point of boiling.  We only want to soften the skin, not remove fingerprints.  Unless, of course, you need to do that too–no judgments.

STEP 3:

Add a tablespoon of baking soda and about two teaspoons or so of your lemon (or lime) juice to the warm water.  Stir thoroughly.

STEP 4:

Soak ’em.

Soak 'em reeeeal good.
Soak ’em reeeeal good.

STEP 5:

After about three to five minutes, remove your hands from the water and pat dry.  Now you can do the trimming and cleaning and removing of dead skin and nails that I enjoy in a grotesque kind of way.  I have a particular fondness for cleaning up my cuticles so that is where I begin.  I also may like to gently trim up the dead skin around my nails with my clippers which is really normal and not gross or weird at all.  After that I trim/clean under my nails and file them into a square shape.  With the exception of my pointer finger, my nails naturally grow in this way, so I do not typically need to clip them to create this effect.  If you do not have perfect nails–as I do–I hear Tweezerman makes some great straight-edged nail clippers.  Again, I have had no need for these, but you might.  And that’s okay!

STEP 6:

Now that you have the gross stuff out of the way (but, it was kinda fun too, right?), dip your nails back into that warm water for another minute.  Remove, pat dry, and buff the stain right off of them.  You want to make sure you don’t push down too hard while completing this step as you are technically damaging your nail by sanding off the top layer.  Treat your nails the way Drake would a date–be gentle and take your time.

STEP 7:

All that’s left at this point is a final washing and drying of your hands, application of a top coat, lotionizing of your hands and cuticles, and viola!

So fresh and so clean.
So fresh and so clean, clean.

Finished product!  The process is so easy, cheap, and quick enough to where I don’t even mind staining my nails.  Which is good, because I have three shoe boxes full of polishes waiting to do just that.