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BEAUTY LESSONS:

THE STEALTH
DESK MANICURE

For every chipped nail and dry cuticle at VIOLET GREY HQ, there’s a solution at the office’s designated nail station. The woman behind the well-appointed nail arsenal—our Head of Merchandising—shares how to pull off a discreet, flawless manicure at your desk.


Written ByCARLY NARVA

Photography ByDREW ESCRIVA


At work, you’re not necessarily focusing on your hands, fingers, and nails; you’re focusing on showing up, working hard, and making your 7:00 p.m. yoga class. While all valid, your hands do take a beating throughout the day, especially if you spend it frantically typing on a keyboard. So behold, my office hand and nail essentials, tips for maintaining a fresh manicure, and guide for doing a quick polish change at your desk.


TREAT YOUR NAILS LIKE YOUR SKIN

Your hands are one of the first areas on your body to show age and, just like your face, they also need a skin care regimen. I mean, honestly, who doesn’t love a set of baby-soft hands? For this reason, I ensure that my tenoverten Natural Nourishing Cuticle Oil pen and favorite hand cream at that moment (usually Chanel’s egg-shaped La Crème Main Hand Cream, Tatcha’s Indigo Soothing Silk Hand Cream, or the Nourishing Hand Cream from Budapest spa and skin care maker Omorovicza) are right by my side. Proper hydration is key, so I reapply whichever moisturizer I’m currently obsessing over to my hands and wrists four to five times a day. From there, it’s important not to forget about your cuticles. While they may seem minuscule, cuticles are really what help to protect your overall nail bed, so treating them just like the rest of your hand is crucial. And take note: when a salon manicurist asks whether or not you’d like to push back or cut your cuticles, the answer should never be cut! Those sharp, scary cuticle nippers need only be whipped out to remove any annoying or cumbersome hangnails—that’s it. Anyway, back to moisturizing. Because your cuticles don’t always absorb hand cream, you’ll need tenoverten’s cuticle oil pen. A little goes a long way here, so quickly use the pen’s rollerball to coat each cuticle line. You can also use this oil for a natural, glistening look when your fingers need a break from polish.

SAFEGUARD YOUR NAIL INVESTMENT

Like many, I’m a weekly customer at the salon sitting 300 feet from my house. Manicures, and nail services in general, are definitely not getting any cheaper. So taking preclusive steps to ensure your newly pampered nails stay pristine between salon visits is essential (that is, if you’re a nail fanatic like me). First and foremost, maintenance comes down to having the proper tools: Tweezerman’s Rockhard Cuticle Nippers are good for tackling those stubborn hangnails that magically appear throughout the week, while Bastien Gonzalez’s nail file keeps typing nails from looking misshapen. Last but not least, tenoverten’s Shield Top Coat—which I suggest applying every other day—helps to prevent chipping, provides ultimate shine, and aids in maintaining an overall polished look. The top coat’s record drying time (about five to seven minutes) is an added bonus.

THE STANDING WEEKLY COLOR SWAP

Over the salon color you just got two days ago? No problem! Thanks to the shaping, filing, and buffing done by your lovely manicurist, all that’s needed is a color swap. Enter tenoverten’s Rose Polish Remover Liquid Formula, Chanel’s La Base Protective And Smoothing, any color of your choice (if you’re a fellow polish snob, the answer is always Chanel) and tenoverten’s Shield Top Coat. For those with an advanced skill set, there’s Chanel’s Le Gel Coat Longwear Top Coat, a thicker top coat option that involves a somewhat trickier application.

Start by applying a thin layer of your base coat. By the time you get that tenth nail coated, you’ll be ready for your color since the base almost always dries instantly. Color is definitely the most daunting part of doing your own manicure, so here are my top three rules for a flawless finish: First, never aggressively shake your nail polish bottle as this causes the biggest annoyance of any manicure aka bubbles. Play it safe and give the bottle a quick roll between your hands. Second, avoid overloading your brush with polish. Not only does a thick coat require a longer drying time, but it also gives those bubbles the chance to make a fierce comeback in your manicure. Third, wait three to five minutes before applying the second coat of polish. This lull allows your first coat to dry completely and gives you a chance to see any bare areas you may have missed. I always check my cuticle lines and the outer edge of my nails since those are often the trickiest areas to polish. Once your color is applied, the last step is to use a top coat, which should be added after you’ve waited another five minutes or so. And there you have it, a quick and easy polish change right at your desk!  

YOUR SHORTCUT TO A SPEEDY FINISH

If you’re in a real hurry, tenoverten’s Non-Toxic Nail Drops are an absolute game-changer for getting your manicure primed before your next meeting. Hold your hands face down and apply two drops max to each nail, allowing the drops to coat the entire polished surface. Remember, perfecting the art of the desk polish change is like riding a bike: it takes time and practice, but the more you do it, the better (and faster) you’ll be!