Professional Looking Nails at Home

Happy, happy Friday! I wanted to dedicate tonight’s post to a topic I haven’t talked much about. Drum roll…nails!

Growing up I played violin/piano so the nail of the game was the shorter the better. In high school/college I played with my makeup and hair all the time, but aside from the occasional manicure I rarely gave my nails much thought. I kept them short and that was about it. I know this sounds bad but my nails have always felt like a bit of a bother to me. Up until two years ago this was my routine:

  • No polish or clear polish (95% of the time)
  • Salon gel manicure (5% of the time, usually before attending a wedding or other formal event)

In the last two years though I’ve become much more interested in nail care. Two summers ago I tried the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel polish. The concept of gel nails without an ultraviolet light is amazing, but I did not have success with this line. This polish takes much longer than regular polish to dry and every time no matter how long I waited for it to dry I always ended up smudging and wrinkling the polish (not cute). While this product did not work for me, here are a few nail care products that did:

  1. Biotin. I take two 1,000 mg tablets each morning. It is supposed to promote skin and nail health, and I’ve found it to really make a difference! I use this one, but any type of biotin will work (I don’t recommend more than 2,500 mg/day).
  2. ImPRESS nails. These press on nails are fast and easy to apply and look amazing. In 1-2 minutes it looks like a professional manicure! They come in a zillion colors and styles and I get compliments whenever I wear them. But there are a few drawbacks. First, they don’t stay on that well. Using the included alcohol prep pad and avoiding water for an hour after applying helps, but from my experience a nail or two is still apt to come off within the day. (Fortunately there are 24 in a kit, so there are plenty of replacements when this happens). Second, I find they can cause slight nail damage when removing if you are not careful about how you take them off. I have found however that applying a quick polish first helps prevent damage and actually keeps them on better. ImPRESS nails have become my go-to for any formal event, a nice dinner date–or even a blog photo shoot with lots of up-close images ;). They aren’t my everyday nails because of the staying power but I’ll always have a few sets handy because they’re so easy to use and look so darn great. I’m wearing them in the two photos below and also in the biotin photo above.
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  3. Sensationail at-home get kit. I just tried this and am seriously impressed. For starters, the kit comes with “nail shields” that you can apply directly onto your nail before applying the polish. Because you paint the gel polish onto the “shields” instead of your actual nails, it protects your nails when it comes time to remove the polish. Additionally, it makes the polish much easier to remove, because instead of soaking it off with an acetone polish remover you simply peel off. I was skeptical of the LED light quality because of the low the price for the kit ($25) but was pleasantly surprised to find it worked as well as the ones at the salon. (The only downside: it’s so small you can’t fit all five fingers in at once and have to do your thumb separately.) This is such a win-win product because it gives salon-quality results but without the damage later on. Here’s what my nails look like with it:Professional Looking Nails at Home

Of the different nail care products I’ve tried, those are what have worked well for me. A new nail care product I’ve heard fantastic things about and will be trying shortly is the Wet n Wild 1-Step Wonder Gel. Have you tried this product, and if so what did you think? And one last one I’m dying to try: the new SNS (Signature Nail Systems) treatment. It seems to be the next big thing in the nail industry and the biggest appeal to me is avoiding the damage a salon gel manicure does to your nails. If you’ve tried this, I’d love to hear your experience!

What are your plans for the weekend? Juliana and I are headed down to Savannah in the morning to see one of my good college friends and her family. She and her husband just had a little girl Madeline two months ago and I’m SO excited to meet her! Her older brother Connor is Juliana’s age and I can’t wait to see them together again too. 🙂

I hope you have a great weekend and can’t wait to talk to you Monday!





  1. August 8, 2017 / 11:39 am

    I need to investigate taking biotin- I’ve heard really good things about what it can do for your nails!

    Le Stylo Rouge

    • Terra
      August 12, 2017 / 12:04 am

      It’s amazing the difference it’s made for me! <3



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