You asked for it! While my Instagram feed is teeming with images of lingerie, costumes and general inspiration, my nails get more comments than I ever would have imagined. Since I started my residency at FiSF, I've been working more than ever and dolling up has taken a pretty big backseat to just about everything else. My twice-monthly manicures are no more, but that doesn't mean I can't carve out a half hour a week to take care of them on my own. When Bike Pretty blogger Melissa found out that I did my now-signature heart manicure myself, she insisted that she document the process in photographs, and who am I to decline an offer like that?
Before we get started, a few notes: (1) The heart shape will unequivocally NOT work if your polish isn't very wet (read: brand new). The only polish I've found that holds its drip factor (crucial for this mani) is Chanel polish. I bought mine over 6 months ago and it still does the trick. I've found that cheaper brands just aren't up to the task and you'll be tearing your hair out trying to get a pretty shape from a gummy polish. (2) Lay off the caffeine. I can't stress this enough. Don't drink any caffeine before doing this manicure. A crucial component of a successful heart mani is a steady hand. My hands always start to shiver a bit after a cup or two of coffee and then the task becomes impossible.
What you'll need:
- Clean, dry nails
- A fine grit nail file
- A neutral base color polish (I use Ciaté in Members Only)
- Heart polish (I use Chanel Black Satin  or Chanel Coromandel )
- Quick drying topcoat (I use Out the Door)
File any rough edges and establish your nail shape if you haven't already. The talon shape is really in style right now, so I tend to go in that direction - that said, this length doesn't typically last long before chipping, so shorter is just fine too.
Apply the base color polish - while I use Ciaté's Members Only polish, I think just about any sheer neutral will work and will be especially lovely if close to your skin tone. One layer should do it. Wait a few minutes for this layer to dry before moving on.
Here's where steady hands will make or break your mani. The heart shape is created by doing two sweeps of the polish, relying on the drop from a semi-wet brush to do the work. I reiterate: this will not work with a dry brush - drippy is good, as that will help create the soft, round shape of each half of the heart. You may need to play with this technique a few times to get it right - it certainly took me a while!
Once you've done the first pass, use that as a guide for the second. I usually start the heart about 1/3 of my nail length up from the cuticle. You'll want to do the second pass as quickly as possible so the polish from the first pass doesn't get gummy as you sweep into it.
Now the hard part: your non-dominant hand. Painting my right hand is always the hardest part. Be deliberate with your sweeps and you should get through it with minimal issues. Once you've allowed the first coat of heart polish to dry (about 10 minutes or so), go ahead and paint the second coat. This is where you can correct any errors in shape, all while gaining a deeper color. Once the second coat is done, sit on it for awhile, at least another 10 minutes.
Apply your topcoat. Many times I've found that I haven't waited long enough when I see my heart color dragging all over the place as I paint the top coat - so make sure everything is dry before moving on. I love Out the Door because it really does dry quickly. Remember, you're working with three layers of polish here (not including the topcoat), so a quick drying coat is key, as is a patient mind set. Once you're done, wait until everything is absolutely dry before doing anything else. One premature flick of the hair could spell disaster, so sit tight for a while.
And there you have it: the heart manicure! Melissa said she was shocked at how quickly it all came together, and she's right: it IS a quick mani. The bulk of the time I spend on my nails is waiting for them to dry. All in all, there's probably five minutes of painting time at most. I usually get at least a week out of this mani, and sometimes two if I'm lucky.
Now that you know the secret, which color will you do YOUR heart mani in?