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beauty lessons:

HOLIDAY NAIL
MAINTENANCE

A-list nail artist Stephanie Stone declares a new holiday tradition.

Written By ERICA LOPEZ

The season’s most festive and versatile accent? It’s right at your fingertips. Or, more accurately, on them. Whether your polish of choice is an elegant bordeaux for the office black-tie or a glitzy, glittering metallic to ring in the new year—or both—the key to a perfect holiday manicure is all in the maintenance. With that in mind, The Violet Files consulted nail artist to the stars Stephanie Stone (the woman behind Sarah Paulson’s retro red) for advice on how to preserve polish through tree-trimming and gift-wrapping. Below, her advice for impeccable tips—no pun intended. 

HOW MANY LAYERS DOES IT TAKE?

​​​​​Per Stone, the golden ratio for polish coats is: 1-2-1: the base coat should be one layer; the color, two layers; and the top coat, one layer. “Allow for some drying time (1 to 2 minutes) between each coat to keep your polish smooth and free of bubbles and chips,” says the nail artist.

FILE OR CUT THE NAILS?

“I like to do a combination of cutting and filing,” says Stone. “I will typically cut the nails into the shape I want, which makes filing easy—essentially I’m just smoothing the edges.”

CUTICLES—TO NIP OR NOT TO NIP?

“Gently push back your cuticles,” Stone advises. Clip only excess dead skin that is hanging off the nail, but avoid clipping live skin. “The live skin is protecting your fingers by preventing bacteria from entering your body and possibly leading to an infection.”

HOW DO I KNOW WHAT NAIL SHAPE FLATTERS ME?

Round, square, oval, or “squoval”? Stone has a method for finding the most flattering form for you: “Look at the shape of your cuticle base and mirror that shape on the free edge,” she counsels.

WHAT’S TRENDING?

“It’s all about simplicity,” says Stone. “A multimani of complementary colors is fun and modern.” She also suggests a French manicure or a ’30s-inspired moon manicure (a half-moon shape at the base of the nail above the cuticle) as her go-to picks for clients who seek to update the nail-art trend.

GLITTER—YAY OR NAY?

Like most vices, glitter polish is best served in small doses. “It’s great for an accent nail to keep your manicure festive during the holiday season,” Stone advises.

DRYING TIME?

“Let nails dry for no less than ten minutes—even for the fastest-drying top coat.”

NECESSARY
TOOLS

1

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5

Not to be overlooked, a base coat is a necessary component to any manicure. “It prevents the nails from getting stained,” says Stone. “You absolutely need it!”

2

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Stone recommends applying a top coat every three days to keep your manicure looking fresh and new. “The top coat seals in the manicure, adds shine, and prevents chipping,” she explains.

3

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“Moisturize your cuticles throughout the day,” says Stone, “the same way you would apply lip balm.” Keeping the cuticles hydrated is the best way to prevent calluses and hangnails.

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Stone’s quick fix if you mess up? “Use an angled eyeliner brush dipped in nail polish remover to clean up the edges of the nail as needed.”

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To remove all traces of polish, think soak and not scrub. “I often see people making a mess of their fingers by rubbing a cotton ball all around,” says Stone. “Instead, hold your soaked cotton ball on your nail bed to saturate the polish completely through.” Once the polish has dissolved, press down and remove in one swipe.

SHOP ALL
NAILS

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