Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 1, Issue 47, Tuesday, April 27, 2004




cuticle concerns

A couple of decades ago, designers and style gurus turned their attention towards previously uncharted territory: nails. Their new playground offered endless room for creativity. From manicures and pedicures to nail art and fake nails, the possibilities for creativity were limitless. Thus the journey began. Technology came along and provided them the tools for expanding their craft, and the fashion world was never the same again. Today you have dozens of options for dressing up your nails, literally at your fingertips, if you'll excuse the pun.

The craze has hit Bangladesh too. French manicure, stick-on gems, nail piercing and even nail tattoos; plain seems to be passé these days. So let's take a look at a few ways you can have fun with nails.

The first words that pop into mind when talking about nails is 'manicure'. A manicure involves removing any existing nail varnish, then soaking the hands in a warm solution of shampoo, water and a dash of hydrogen peroxide. This softens the hand and cleans the skin. The nails are then scrubbed with a special brush, and then pared, shaped and buffed as necessary. When the same procedure is followed on the feet, it is called a pedicure. Manicures and pedicures keep our nails clean, and our hands and feet looking healthy and presentable. They're also very relaxing.

A French Manicure is a little different. It involves the same process as a normal manicure. The cleaned and shaped fingernails are then painted with a 'base' colour, and the nail tips are painted white. A coat of clear varnish completes the look. "The purpose of the French Manicure is to make the nails look longer, cleaner and more elegant," says beautician Sadia Moyeen of Labelle. "It's a classic look that's timelessly fashionable, and will never go out of style, because of its minimalistic sophistication. It goes with anything you may choose to wear." French Manicure at Labelle costs around Tk 250.

For someone who's pressed for time and needs to get the nails looking shiny and clean, or someone who doesn't want to use nail polish, they can opt for Nail Shine, which basically involves brushing the nails with a special brush until they have a nice sheen to them.

With experts stirring up new colours for every season, new shades of nail polish are constantly arriving at the market. Somewhere along the line, somebody got bored with monochromatic nails, and started experimenting, and nail art came into being. It is now possible to get nail tattoo, which come with two or three different colours of nail polish, as well as a brush for applying the colour, and a stylus for painting on the designs. You can check at the malls, or get them done at a parlour. Geeti's, at Nayapaltan offers these amazing nail tattoos. You can also have them done at Labelle, where they use fabric paint instead of nail polish to give your nails a neat texture. These cost anything between Tk 50-200, depending on your preferences, and the number of nails you want to paint. Before you jump in for one of those, there are also other options available there.

You've got earrings for your ears, rings for both your fingers and toes, necklaces, wristlets, bracelets, anklets, bangles; jewellery for every part of your body…including nails. That's right. One of the new trends abroad that's slowly making an entry here is the fad for nail piercing. A drill machine is used to make a tiny perforation on your nail, where you can hang pretty little rings and baubles. Sounds painful? It isn't, not a bit. "You don't even feel the kind of pressure you feel when cutting nails," promises beautician Geeti Billah of Geeti's. All nail treatments at Geeti's are within the price range of Tk 150-250.

The less adventurous can opt for stick-on nail tattoos and little gems not unlike the stick-on bindis that are so popular these days. There's no limit to what you can do with them. Well, almost. When asked about acrylic nails and nail extension, Geeti Billah warns us, "Well, I have the training to do them, but I would not advise it, because in our local climate, it is very easy to pick up infections from these acrylic nails. Especially because we use our hands for everything, from eating to washing clothes and dishes."

There are some basic nail-care steps to remember for both men and women when it comes to nail care. Never file nails when wet, because they are soft and can split. Never expose hands to extreme temperatures. Always cream your hands well. Not wearing colour on your nails is not a major fashion faux pas. Not sporting clear polish might just be, though. Never cut cuticles. It is an unhealthy habit, and the reason why cuticles recede and tend to get puffy. Just push them back gently when nails are wet. People living in warm countries are more likely to have nicer nails than their counterparts living in the colder regions. Why? Because the sun brings out the natural oils! So go ahead and soak in on vitamin D-inducing sunshine to restore nail health. Keep nails nice and moist to keep them from chipping and cracking. If you have short fingers, give your nails a round shape to give the illusion of longer fingers. If on the other hand, your fingers and nails are slim, then shape them square, but with rounded edges. Oval is a shape that suits all fingers and nails, except the very thin ones. Lastly, trends will come and trends will go, but don't pick one up just because it's all the rage. Being stylish is all about wearing what looks good on you, so if a particular trend isn't 'you', just drop it.

This season, experts have gone wild with tinted clear varnish, metallic colours, and shimmery shades. Pink is still very in. Nail art is very popular amongst the younger people, and as long as there are fancy weddings to go to, nail gems and stick-on stones are very, very trendy. Just book an appointment with your favourite beautician and let your imagination run wild.

Some DIY tips and tricks you can try at home:
Monochrome is so old school. This season is all about colour, pattern and texture. So arm yourself with a couple of different shades of nail polish, and let the battle begin!
Apply a base coat of one solid colour. Allow it to dry, and then apply a coat of polish in a different shade or a totally different colour.

Apply a solid colour base, and then top it off with something shimmery or sparkly.

Experiment with stripes of two or more different colours.

Try the Reverse French Manicure. Paint the base a light colour, and use a bright colour for the tips.

By Sabrina F Ahmad
With thanks to Geeti Billah of Geeti's, and Sadia Moyeen of Labelle
Special thanks to Farzana Shakil for arranging the photo shoot
Model: Bobby
Photo: Zahedul I. Khan



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