Nail Art

    [photo:1349447064938]What's in a name you might ask? Everything! Names like "She's Picture Perfect", "Cute as a button"; "Knockout Pout" and "Pink-a-boo" are just some of the names of my colourful nail polish collection. If you are wondering, they are all pastels and pinks. I do have some shocking reds too, each with equally amusing names such as "Friar Friar Pants on Fire", "Girls Just Want to Play" and one of my favourites "Paint My Moji-Toes Red"! I can only imagine it would be a full time job to come up with cute names for all the new nail polishes that come out each year! The warm weather is fast approaching and soon it will be time to wear sandals and flip flops with our toes exposed for all to see. Once upon a time it was quite natural to see unadorned fingers and toes. However, these past years have seen a major revival in the nail polish business. Nowadays, literally everyone and their grandma is wearing nail polish, where once it was strictly the domain of women. Even men are getting in on the action and it's no longer unusual to see guys wearing nail polish. Rock stars and even my idol soccer star David Beckham have been seen with color on their nails. [photo:1349590784964]This rise in popularity has meant a boom in business for nail aestheticians and has given birth to the very popular nail bar. Not exactly a place to go get a drink, although, I'm sure some establishments do serve a little light refreshment. A nail bar is exactly that, a place to go and have your nails taken care of. Or as it's more commonly known, a place to go and have a manicure and a pedicure. For the uninitiated, a pedicure is the best thing you can do for your feet! After a warm soapy soak, your nail technician with scrape and clean all the dead skin from the soles of your feet, (kind of like scraping the barnacles off of a hull of a ship), focusing on the heel and toe area and cutting away all the excess skin in the cuticle area. This is followed by a massage with some oils. It really makes your feet feel soft and clean. I might be simplifying it a little bit as it takes someone with expertise and skill to remove skin from the soles of one's' feet. An aesthetician will use an instrument called a credo blade which is almost like a fancy disposable razor but can be quite dangerous if not used properly. Think of peeling an apple! If you peel too much then your feet will be quite raw. It is best left to the nail technician. [photo:1349590896126]One of my favourite treatments is a Paraffin Wax. This process involves first scrubbing and moisturizing your hands and then dipping them into a paraffin wax which is a non sticky wax that has been warmed up. Once the hands have been coated with wax they are each wrapped in a plastic bag for five to ten minutes. Your hands are then placed into oversized oven mitts. The paraffin wax treatment produces something called an occlusive seal over the skin which prevents moisture from evaporating off of the skin and helps keep the moisture in. The whole process takes about twenty minutes. Although it is mainly used for manicures, it can also be used on really rough dry feet. I have been told that this treatment is frequently requested by people with arthritis or joint pain as it brings heat to the affected area producing a soothing effect and giving you soft skin at the same time. For me, after all the cleaning and scraping (NO, not the barnacles!) it is time for some colour! Like icing on a cake, my fingers and toes feel bare without a bit of nail polish. I am fortunate that my nail aesthetician, Brandi not only is a pro at what she does but she's also quite the artist, too! This comes in really handy as we decide on a colour and a technique. You can be as creative with your nail polish as you are on a piece of artist's canvas. You can have a very lady like French Manicure or go for the traditional solid colour. Need a little oomph? How about adding a crystal nail decal to one of your nails? I've tried both the crystal decal and a little hand painted ribbon bow on my ring finger and received many compliments. Be bold and try as many colours as your fingernails or you can take. Brandi painstakingly works on each finger nail like a fine piece of art, creating little swirls and dots with a dotter or the most intricate lace pattern with her many nail art pens. She has the steadiest hand I have ever come across and I always look forward to her creations. Another time she tried a marbling technique on my nails. It involved dipping each finger into a little glass of water that contains three drops of different coloured nail polish. You quickly swirl each finger in the water and you have a wonderful mix of the three colors on your nails. As each nail is done individually, no two nails look the same. It all sounds so easy but actually unless you are very dextrous with both hands, which I am not, most nail art is best left to your aesthetician. [photo:1349590991600] A good aesthetician can be compared to your hairdresser. Once you find the one that works for you, a happy client customer relationship ensues. Brandi laughingly tells me that she feels over the years, she has become a friend, confidant and counselor to many of her clients, including myself. Her clientele range from mothers, daughters, professionals and even children. Her youngest client is four years old and her oldest is in her 80's. A manicure and a pedicure are now accepted no matter what age and gender you are. I always look forward to my manicure and pedicure sessions with Brandi. My hands and feet always love getting the attention they deserve. My toes look happy and cheerful in sandals and the rings on my fingers seem to give off that extra Bling! Bling! [photo:1349591048762]