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11 Steps to the Perfect At-Home French Manicure

One of the most important parts of French beauty is looking well put-together. On the one hand, you want to look effortless, but on the other hand, you also want to look intentional.

Groomed nails are essential for striking this balance, especially if you opt for a natural-looking French manicure

We’ve compiled a step-by-step guide to achieving perfect nails at home, so you can skip the nail salon. You can also adapt these tips to give yourself a relaxing pedicure! First, we’ll cover all the tools you need to have on-hand, and then dive straight into the how-to.   

At-home manicure tools

Neatly displayed manicure equipmentYou don’t need fancy tools to create a DIY French manicure at home, but you do need some basic nail grooming essentials. Here’s our comprehensive list of all the things you’ll need!  

  • Nail polish remover
  • Emery or crystal nail file
  • Cotton pads and cotton swabs 
  • Cuticle pusher (optional) 
  • Warm water and soap 
  • Hand cream or cuticle oil
  • Hand scrub (optional) 
  • Clear base coat
  • Clear topcoat
  • Nude, pink, or colorful nail polish
  • White nail polish 
  • Thin synthetic brush (optional) 

1. Remove old polish

First, if you still have some remnants of old nail polish on your nails, make sure to scrub it away thoroughly with cotton pads and nail polish remover. Some colors tend to really get lodged along the edges of the nail, in which case, use a cotton swab dipped in remover to really get in there and clean things up. 

2. Shape your nails 

 Fingernail shape graphic chart

Next, file the tips of your nails to an even shape. There are all kinds of nail shapes you can choose from, but we prefer keeping it natural with an almond, oval, or rounded nail shape.

When you file your nails, only go in one direction at a time, rather than filing back and forth. Go slowly, so you can control the shape you create and don’t accidentally over-do it. 

3. At-home manicure soak

 Closeup of woman's hands soaking in bowl of waterIf you plan to trim or push back your cuticles, it’s crucial that you soften them first with an at-home manicure soak.

Fill up a shallow bowl of warm soapy water, and then dip your finger in, just up to the cuticle. Leave your fingers in the water for just 2-3 minutes, and take the moment to relax

This will be long enough to soften the cuticles but not so long that it’ll saturate your nails with water, which can compromise the integrity of your nail polish later on. If you’re happy with the condition of your cuticles, you can skip this step altogether! 

4. Push back the cuticles (gently!)

Pull your nails out of the water, and dry them with a soft towel. Then, use the cuticle pusher tool to gently press against your cuticles and push them back a little. If pushing on your cuticles is painful at all, it’s a sign you’re overdoing it, so make sure to ease up on the pressure. 

In general, we don’t recommend trimming the cuticles at home unless you already have a bit of professional experience. It’s easy to damage cuticles when trimming them, which may lead to infections or cause the skin to grow back thicker. 

5. Exfoliate and moisturize 

Closeup of woman applying protective cream on handsNext, it’s time to give your hands and cuticles a nice treatment! For maximum pampering, exfoliate your hands by rubbing them with a scrub. You can even make your own!

If your scrub is moisturizing enough, you can then just rinse your hands and move on to the next step. If you skipped scrubbing, then take a moment to rub your hands and nails with hand cream, or apply a designated cuticle oil to the nails. Wait a few minutes to allow your nails to absorb as much of the oil as possible. 

For simple groomed nails, you can stop here! Moisturized, well-shaped nails are already enough for simple French beauty. However, to take your nails to the next level, you’ll want to add some polish. 

6. Remove excess moisture

Next, dip a cotton swab in nail polish remover, and carefully wipe it only over your nail, being careful to avoid the cuticles. This will remove any excess moisture or oil from the nails to guarantee that the polish adheres well. Let the remover evaporate entirely before moving to the next step. 

7. Lay down your base coat

A base coat of polish is essential for protecting your nails from yellowing and creating an even base for the polish. Apply the base coat carefully to each nail, making sure to only use a minimal amount so that it dries quickly. 

8. Apply your color 

Woman applying nail polishOnce your base coat has thoroughly dried, you can apply your colorful nail polish! Pink, peach, and nude are the classic choices for a French manicure, but other colors are perfectly acceptable as well. 

Apply the polish in thin layers, starting about a millimeter away from the cuticle, and painting it on in strips. Once your first coat fully dries, apply the second coat, and wait for it to dry, as well.  

9. DIY nail tips 

Manicure nail paint with thin brushTurn your classic mani into an ultra-chic French manicure. Dip an old eyeliner brush or a dedicated nail brush into some white nail polish. Then, carefully paint the tips (i.e., top 2-3 millimeters) of your nails. If your hand is a little shaky, you can lay down some sticky tape over the bottom of the nail first to guarantee a clean line. 

10. Finish with a top-coat

Once your polish is totally dry, finish things off with an ultra-thin layer of topcoat. This will help seal in all of your hard work, add some sheen, and prevent your nail polish from chipping.

11. Clean up the edges 

Once your topcoat is fully dry, it’s time to fix mistakes! Even the pros sometimes smudge a bit of polish over the cuticle, but thankfully, it’s easy to clean up. Just soak a cotton swab in some nail polish remover and use it to erase any smudges. 

Nailed it!

Close-up of woman's hand with French manicure

It takes a bit of time and maybe even practice, but achieving the perfect manicure at home is totally doable. Don’t be afraid to skip the nail salon next time you want to treat yourself to a French manicure

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9 Mascara Mistakes That You Need to Stop Making
February 19, 2021
9 Mascara Mistakes That You Need to Stop Making

Mascara is that special touch that ties every makeup look together. Without its darkening, lengthening effect on the lashes, eyes can look bare and small, so it’s key in nearly every beauty look.  However, applying mascara poorly is worse than not applying it at all. Clumpy lashes and smudgy lids can ruin an entire look, and there are even some mascara mistakes that can lead to eye infections.  That’s why you shouldn’t play games when it comes to mascara. We’ve collected our best mascara tips to help you avoid the most common mascara mistakes, so you can always bat your lashes with confidence.  1. Leaving too much mascara on the wand If you want to learn how to apply mascara without clumping, remember to always wipe down your mascara wand. This crucial step is often forgotten. It’s easy to miss in the excited rush to lengthen those lashes. However, a mascara wand that’s too saturated is guaranteed to cause clumping.  From now on, immediately after unscrewing your mascara cap, gently wipe the wand over the lip of the tube. Pay special attention to the tip because that’s where mascara really tends to collect, and if the wand seems especially clogged up, you can wipe it down with a tissue. This way, when it’s time to apply, you won’t need to worry about big globs of mascara clumping your lashes together.  2. Pumping the wand In films, whenever a character goes to put on mascara, she’ll first pump the mascara up and down a few times in the tube. Women all over the world started believing that this was the right way to go about putting on mascara, when in reality, it’s one of the worst mascara mistakes you can make. In the short-term, it has no benefits. If anything, it just loads up your wand with a massive, clump-causing amount of mascara. In the long-term, it introduces air and bacteria into the precious tube, which significantly shortens the life of your mascara.  3. Using old mascara Of all the most common makeup products, mascara has the shortest shelf-life. If you use your mascara after its use-by date, you can run into all kinds of issues. It will get dry, which leads to clumpy lashes, and it may also start harboring bacteria, which can cause styes and painful infections.  Most mascara should be replaced 3-6 months after opening. If you’re worried about forgetting, we’ve set up an auto-subscription system that will send you a new tube of our best-selling Cabaret Premiere mascara every few months. 4. Forgetting to wiggle Always remember to give your mascara a wiggle! This classic mascara tip guarantees that your lashes will look both voluminous and separated every time.  When you apply your mascara, give it a small wiggle as it comes in contact with the base of your lashes. This will allow the bristles of the wand to really wedge themselves in between your lashes, coating them thoroughly without clumping them together. Then, as you pull the wand up to coat the length of the lashes, move it in a slight zig-zag motion to keep that momentum going. 5. Only coating one side This mascara hack is especially for the blondes and redheads out there, because brunettes can sometimes get away with making this little mistake. When you apply your mascara, you only see the underside of your lashes, so you might forget the top. If you leave the top bare, the second you blink, the natural color of your lashes will be visible, and it’ll take away from the consistency of your makeup.  To cover the top part of the lashes, use the tip of your mascara wand and carefully color it in, especially close to the lashline. Don’t try to build up volume or length from above since it can weigh the lashes down; just focus on coloring things in.  6. Blinking too quickly It can be tempting to blink immediately after putting your mascara on, but unfortunately, it often results in black smudges on the eyelid ruining your eyeshadow. Not blinking may sound like a tall order, but if you just close your eyes after applying mascara, the issue will be solved. Just wait a few seconds so that when you finally open your eyes, the mascara will be dry and won’t smudge. 7. Applying too many coats It can be tempting to add coat after coat of mascara, but it rarely works well in reality. Yes, 5-6 coats of mascara will make your lashes look longer and thicker. However, it’s also going to make them look uniformly thick from root to tip, leading to a “spidery” look.  To avoid having your mascara look spidery, you need to exercise restraint. Don’t apply more than three coats to your lashes, and if that doesn’t give you the effect you want, you may just need to switch to a more volumizing mascara. 8. Forgetting to remove it at night  Sleeping with mascara on is never a good idea. In the best-case scenario, forgetting to remove it at night will just dry out your lashes, cause a few to fall out, and leave a few marks on your pillow. But it can also lead to eye irritation and even eye infections. This is another serious mascara mistake, so make sure to remove your eye makeup thoroughly every night with a high-quality makeup remover.  9. Using the same mascara for all occasions Wearing the same mascara all the time isn’t the biggest mascara mistake you could make, but it can get boring. Tailor your mascara choice to each event!  A lengthening and separating mascara is best for day-to-day. Waterproof mascara is a must-have for beach-side vacations or rainy days.  For date nights and parties, emphasize your eyes with a volumizing mascara. For upscale evening events, when you want maximum drama, double up! Start with a coat of waterproof mascara for a separated, waterproof base, and then add a coat of volumizing mascara for a false-lash effect.  Now that you know all of our favorite mascara tips, no more faux pas!

Bold Beauty Trends Around the World
February 10, 2021
Bold Beauty Trends Around the World

The only thing better than a round-up of the best beauty trends is a round-up of the best beauty trends from around the world!  We’re lucky to live in a time when we’re so connected as a world and can mix and match inspiration and ideas from countries far and wide.  The result?  We get the best beauty tips and secrets from each part of the globe and can take and leave whatever we like.  Love Mexico’s bold lip? Give it a go next time you’re glamming up for a night out. Do you want dreamy, spotless skin? Look to South Korea for its advanced skincare trends and products.  Prefer natural makeup? Australian women have got this down to an effortless art.  This is why makeup is so much fun; you can experiment with new colors, looks, and products using these cultural trends as inspiration every day.  Here are nine of the biggest beauty trends from around the world Enjoy experimenting with your favorites and incorporating them into your everyday makeup routine! Mexico: The bold lip Latina women are infamous for daring to wear bold red lipstick, which pairs perfectly with their sun-kissed skin. And it always looks stunning!  The secret? Confidence.  So many women are afraid of painting on a bold lip out of fear of drawing too much attention or not being comfortable with such an intense look. But finding the courage to rock a red lip might give you the confidence and power you’ve been searching for.  Why not give it a try and see? Another misconception is that red lipstick doesn’t suit everyone. This is a total myth! There is a shade of red out there to suit all skin tones—you just need to find the right one for you. Line your lips first for neatness and extra definition. Finish by filling in your lips with a striking swipe of red. Check out our Long-Lasting Matte Lipstick in Coral & Classic Red for some inspiration.  Save it for a special occasion or a random Monday morning when you want to feel like a goddess. India: Beauty comes from within Indian women have always taken a more holistic approach to beauty and makeup. They look to their individual skin type as a guide for what products and skincare routines they need to create balance in their body.  They’re big on using natural products in their everyday skincare routine.  This includes using coconut oil to moisturize the skin or as a hair mask to create extra shine. The neem plant has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antibacterial properties and is widely used to soothe and treat acne. Turmeric is often mixed into face masks to soften skin and reduce wrinkles.  Keep in mind that you should always test any new product or treatment on a small area of your wrist or elbow before applying it to your face.  India reminds us that beauty doesn’t need to come in the form of expensive store-bought products. Many of the ingredients for their most popular beauty trends can be found in your home and whipped up in a matter of minutes! Japan: The doll blush Many Japanese women have a playful, eccentric approach to makeup, and the doll face look is one of their most popular beauty trends.  The number one thing that stands out is the rosy pink pop of blush. It’s always applied slightly higher on the cheeks, directly under the eyes, making your facial features appear rounder, softer, and more youthful.  Who wouldn’t want that? Blush is often paired with fake lashes and colored contacts to create a more bold and playful look. But you don’t have to go too wild with this trend. A pop of pink blush on its own can look really fresh and vibrant.   France: Strobing makeup If there’s one makeup trend French women loathe, it’s contouring, and we totally understand where they’re coming from. So, instead of using dark pigment to shape the face, they prefer using highlighter to accentuate the parts they want to catch the light.  It’s all about working with the natural angles and beauty of your face, as well as natural light. This brings focus and shape to the face in a subtler way.  It makes sense that French women are a fan of strobing makeup because if there’s one thing they’re renowned for, it’s looking naturally beautiful with minimal makeup.  Combine strobing with a swipe of Classic French Mascara (i.e., the best selling mascara on Amazon), and you’re Paris ready in minutes!   South Korea: Cream skin South Korea is, without a doubt, leading the way when it comes to many skincare trends.  First, they brought us “glass skin” (dewy, reflective looking skin). Next came skip-care (minimizing your skincare routine into fewer steps). And the biggest beauty trend right now is “cream skin.” Based on the skip-care philosophy, cream skin combines toner with moisturizer to create a soft and springy look. It focuses on hydrating and moisturizing the skin with minimal effort.  More hydration + less work? That sounds fabulous to me!  Sweden: The nude lip Nobody does minimalist chic quite like the Swedes do. So it makes perfect sense that their makeup is also simple and understated. A popular, staple makeup trend across Scandinavia is the nudish-grey toned lip.  This is a new take on makeup in the '90s, updated with a taupe or mauve base with gray undertones.  Pair a nude lip with minimal makeup elsewhere for a simple, natural look. Or go for extra drama around the eyes with a smokey eyeshadow and volumizing mascara to make your lashes pop.  UK & Dubai: Bold brows Both the UK and Dubai have welcomed the bold brow trend with open arms. Perhaps this is a backlash from the over-tweezing and waxing culture we’ve become so used to? Either way, we say hell yeah to embracing our natural brows.  You can still tweeze or wax in the middle and over the top of your brows, but avoid going underneath. Follow the natural shape of your brows and allow them to guide you. This is what bold brows are all about.   Use a colored brow gel or powder to fill in any gaps and create a more defined look.   Africa: Glittery eyeshadow African women are pioneers when it comes to countless makeup trends over the past decades. But one of the most fun trends has been incorporating glitter into makeup products. Glitter on the eyes, lips, and cheeks first became popular through superstars Pat McGrath (makeup artist) and Keyshia Ka’oir (celebrity stylist), who used glitter like it was their religion.  The beautiful thing about glitter is you can be as subtle or theatrical as you like with it. Opt for a sheen of glitter in a highlighter, or go all-in with dense, textured glitter on the eyelids.   Australia: Natural makeup that is barely there Few do natural makeup better than Australian women do. Maybe it’s because they’re so used to the vacation lifestyle, with a constant stream of sun, sea, and sand?  Whatever the reason, we’re all for it.  Think glowing sun-kissed skin, neutral eyeshadow tones, a touch of highlighter, and a natural swoosh of mascara to brighten up the eyes. Top tip: Aussie ladies love doubling up on their bronzer and using it as an eyeshadow too.     Egypt: The dramatic smokey eye If we go right back to ancient times, the Egyptians were actually the first people to create an iconic, smokey eye, using a combo of eyeliner, mascara, and eyeshadow. Kohl was used back then to accentuate the eyes and create a powerful look. It was made using natural ingredients, mostly charcoal and galena. Today, it’s especially popular with Arabic and Middle Eastern women. But women worldwide want to know how to create this iconic look, to frame and highlight their eyes.    So whatever your style, try giving some of these bold trends a go! We’re sure you’ll enjoy the process, and ultimately the way you look. Have fun connecting with beauty cultures from around the world, and turn some heads in the process. Be bold, be beautiful, be you.

Beautiful Eye Makeup Looks for Valentine’s Day
February 01, 2021
Beautiful Eye Makeup Looks for Valentine’s Day

The best thing about February 14th isn't the red roses, chocolate topped strawberries, or cheesy greeting cards — it's Valentine's Day makeup! Whether you're enjoying a romantic dinner at home with your partner, hanging out with your girlfriends, or enjoying a solo day dedicated to self-love, Valentine's Day is the perfect time to try out a new look.  Even though Valentine's may look a little different this year, there's no excuse not to get glammed up. At the very least, it'll lift your spirits and help you channel your inner love Goddess.  When it comes to Valentine's Day makeup, we think it's all about making your eyes the star of the show. Go for some heart eye makeup, a pink smokey eye, or experiment with some bolder eyeshadow looks. This is the time to play with romantic colors you wouldn't usually wear and set the mood for love.  Sexy smokey eye A smokey eye is a popular go-to look for date night makeup and special occasions. But seeing as it's the big V-Day, instead of heading straight for your usual gray or black eyeshadow, why not mix things up? You could try a bold red eyeshadow over your lids or even go for a sweeter, pink smokey eye. There are no rules for what color you have to use — choose whichever shade you want! Fuchsia, burgundy, cherry, or bubblegum.  Gently blend the darker shade out from your inner lids to create the perfect smokey look. Then use a lighter, shimmery shade for the inner corners to make your eyes pop even more. Voluminous lashes Amping up your lashes is one of the simplest ways to add glamour to your Valentine's day makeup look. If you're looking for instant volume, look no further than our Provocation mascara. This little tube of magic promises defined and voluminous lashes with just one coat. Pair your lush lashes with a striking red matte lipstick for a classically beautiful look. Remember to use a lip scrub and lip liner before applying your lipstick for a picture-perfect finish that lasts all night long. Berry tones As it's still the middle of winter, richer hues are a perfect color choice to suit the colder, darker climate. There's no better time to rock a warm berry shade before Spring comes knocking! Go all out with this look by using berry shades on the eyes, cheeks, and lips. This is a wonderful option if you want a more sophisticated Valentine's look, but you still want a nod to Cupid.  Metallic magic We couldn't create a Valentine's Day eye makeup post without mentioning metallics. If you want to go for a more glamorous and attention-grabbing look, this one might be for you. We're talking shimmery eyeshadows, glittery eyeliners, and sparkle infused bronzers. Pick one of these for a subtle shimmer, or go all out and rock an all-over metallic look. Top tip: ditch the plain eyeshadow and swap it for a metallic one to create your sexy smokey eye makeup.  Everything is peachy If you can't quite wait for Summer to roll around, you can definitely get away with a pretty, peachy look on V-Day. Make this look on-trend by matching the shade of your eye shadow, lipstick, and blush. This will create a soft, monochrome look that is delightfully delicate yet modern. Heart eyes Okay, so we know that hearts are a little over-done on Valentine's Day, but when else do you have the perfect excuse to rock some heart eye makeup?  Grab a mix of eyeliners in shades of pink, purple and red — whatever colors you like. Use these to carefully draw scattered heart shapes around the outer corners of your eyes so that it looks like they're flowing out of them.  If you don't have a steady hand, you can always use some heart-shaped diamantes, sequins, or face stickers instead! Pro tip: Make sure your makeup is complete before you layer your heart eye makeup on top.    Rose gold liner Is there anything more romantic and magical than an eyeliner in rose gold?  Rose gold makeup is trending right now, which makes this the perfect look to try this holiday.  Rose gold eyeliner is sexy but subtle, super easy to apply, and will suit all eye colors and skin tones.  Pop of purple Purple often gets sidelined on Valentine's day in favor of vibrant reds and pretty pinks. But purple can create a beautiful and more original makeup look.  Keep it soft and mellow with a pastel lavender eyeshadow, or go bolder with a vibrant violet eyeliner or a purple-plum glossy lip.  Pretty in pink What would Valentine's Day makeup be without the color pink?  Is it new? No. Can it still be sweet and sexy? Hell yes! Pink eyeshadow probably isn't something you wear every day, but it can create a look that is equal parts playful and sophisticated! There's guaranteed to be a shade of pink out there for you – whether it's a candy-floss pastel, a nude-pink, or a bold and bright fuchsia.  If you want to take your glam game to the next level, go for a pink glitter eyeshadow. For extra pretty points, add a pink blush and lipstick or gloss to complete your look.  Cat-eye If colors aren't your thing, and you want to keep your Valentine's Day eye makeup simple yet striking, look no further than the cat-eye. This will enhance the natural shape of your gorgeous eyes, creating a fierce and feminine look.  Keep your liquid liner wings as tame or as daring as you like. If you're a newbie, you can use a stencil, some tape, or the dotted line method to help keep your lines symmetrical on both eyes.  When you're done, give your lashes some love with a coat of classic French mascara, and give yourself a round of applause. Cat eyes can be challenging — especially if you've already cracked open a bottle of rosé. And voila — you are officially Valentine's Day ready! Why not start early and try a few of these looks out before the 14th? Choose your favorite, and recreate it on the day. Pair it with an outfit that makes you feel sexy inside and out, and you're ready to welcome Cupid.   We’re wishing all you beautiful ladies a wonderful Valentine's Day!