Get A Party-Ready Mani–Fast

I love scrolling the trendy nail art on Pinterest, but my taste generally veers toward the understated and elegant where nails are concerned, and my available time and patience level generally veers toward the nearly nonexistent.

That being said, party season is upon us, and while I normally relegate my nail maintenance to a little filing and buffing, on occasion I appreciate the extra dose of glamour a manicure affords.

The thing about the holiday season is that one generally has less time to get ready than at other times of the year.

So I bring you this approach confided to me by my friend Stephanie–who always appears to have just stepped out of the nail salon, but in reality does her own nails. As with most things in life, it relies heavily on the proper tools and setup.

With only three easy steps, after two practice sessions you’ll be cranking out salon-worthy nails in 10 minutes (seriously!) for all your holiday parties (or even a random Tuesday).

Typic(1)This seems like a lot of products, but the process will go very quickly if you have everything stored in one portable container.

  • Remove old polish: this little bottle helps you work so much faster.
  • Apply cuticle remover and push back cuticles with curved tool.
  • File nails to desired shape.
  • Wash hands and thoroughly rub in cuticle oil to keep nail beds moisturized (this will have the added benefit of helping your polish last longer, so don’t skip this step!). I prefer grapeseed or almond oil, available at your local health food store.




  • Apply base coat. I like Sally Hansen’s Hard As Nails or CND’s Stickey.
  • Apply 2 coats of color. Use an orange stick to remove any extraneous polish from your cuticles and fingers (this will take a bit of finesse at first, but after 2 or 3 manis, you will have it down pat).
  • Seche Vite: this top coat will dry your nails in seconds and finishes to a high gloss shine–it’s indispensable!




Spend the rest of your party prep time working on your cat eye and dancing around the living room, then enjoy being the envy of all your friends.

Plan B: if 10 minutes is more than you’ve got (believe me, I’ve been there) give your nails some serious shine with this buffer. I keep one in my bag and one in the car for emergencies (or a random Tuesday afternoon).





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