As soon as the engagement ring slips onto your finger, you want your nails—and hands—to look as lovely as the sparkling stone itself. Mary Waddell, owner and operator of Natural Nail Care Clinic in Mount Pleasant, knows just how to help you get there—no matter how much of a nail-biter the planning process may be. Even better, since Mary’s shop specializes in gentle, natural nail care and products, her advice goes on easy.
Soft & Supple
“Hydrating the nail plate and the skin around the nails is essential,” says Mary. Healthy creams and oils massaged into the hands help the skin retain moisture and keep nails pliable and less likely to break and split. She also advises against cutting cuticles and tough skin around fingers or toes. Use moisturizers to condition the areas instead.
Start the conditioning process three to five months before the big event to get your hands and nails in the best shape, suggests Mary. If you bite your nails or pick at the skin around them, try to overcome these habits during the countdown months. (Regular manicures can actually help, or you can also try paint-on drugstore products used to deter babies from thumb sucking.) Schedule a final manicure two days before the wedding and apply topcoat daily to maintain your polish throughout the wedding weekend.
Pick a Palette
If you’re opting for neutral, try shades of ivory, pink, peach, and taupe in various opacities, as different tints look better on different skin tones. Or highlight your flowers, gown, or accessories with strong colors that complement you and your trappings.
Oo la la!
French manicures are always popular and can make even the shortest nails look longer. But let the pros handle this one, as it’s a difficult look to achieve on your own.
Tend to your Toes
Spring and summer weddings mean open- and peek-toe shoes, so don’t let your digits get all the glory. Pamper your tootsies with the same regimen and care as mentioned here, even getting a French manicure to elongate any shorties.
Easy Does It:
Products that are easy on the hands and the wallet? Great! (From left) Burt's Bees Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Crème; $7.99. Neutrogena New Hands with retinol; $5.79. Revlon Compact Emery Boards; $1.99. All from CVS.
Essie Nail Polish; $8 per bottle. (From left) Tennis Corset, Curtain Call, Sequin Sash, Pink Ribbon, Buy Me a Cameo, Charleston. All from Natural Nail Care Clinic.
Do It Yourself
K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Sweetie!) applies to all D.I.Y. gals. Follow these ideas to score professional looks at home.
• Keep travel-size lotion and cream samples with you to hydrate your hands and nails regularly.
• File with an emery board intended for natural nails—not acrylics.
• Avoid quick-dry products because they typically contain formaldehyde and alcohol, which make nails brittle.
• Choose opaque colors, which are more forgiving of chips and slips than bold ones.
• Don’t rush painting; allow nails to fully dry between coats.
• Set up a regular manicure time for yourself and use it to unwind.