I confess that I don't like fussing with my fingernails, but I understand that in this business my hands have to look decent. I've never had a professional manicure, and I don't want one. (I know there are people who love getting them, but it just doesn't appeal to me.) I consider it a success if my nails are clean and don't have any jagged edges, but when the occasion calls for it I break out the nail polish.
Part of my problem is impatience. I hate waiting for polish to dry! Yes, I've read all the tips on "8 things to do to help nail polish dry faster" and "Nail polish mistakes we all make." I apply it in thin coats rather than thick globs; I do it outside where there is good ventilation and a breeze to help it dry faster; I wait longer than I think I should have to between coats; I've tried the extremes of running cold water over the nails or using a space heater to blow hot air on them...but even when the nails seem dry I'll invariably do something that puts a dent in the polish. Something as innocuous as putting my hand in my pocket can damage the finish. This may explain why: "Although nails will appear dry within 20-30 minutes, it actually takes a full 24 hours for nail polish to fully dry." Yikes! I'm starting to have sympathy for oil painters.
It doesn't help that I work in the garden, play the piano, crochet, type, and rarely sit calmly doing nothing with my hands at rest.
When I was on HGTV's "Uncommon Threads" the producers were very firm about wanting nails to look professional. I purchased fake nails and glued them on. They looked really nice! A little longer than my regular nails, but not too long. Everything was fine until I went to take out my contact lenses that night. Ah, the Law of Unintended Consequences! My right thumbnail was way too long and would scratch my eye if I continued the attempt. I ended up trimming it back to its natural length. The filming went fine and nobody commented on my nails. Eventually the fake ones fell off. Sort of weird when that happens in public.
The instructor packet from Annie's before I did the "Learn to Crochet Ripples" class (available here) was also very specific: "Fingernails should be clean and polished with neutral, light pink or clear topcoat. Professionally manicured nails look the best, but make sure the nails are not dominant and won't pull attention away from the demonstrating (no French manicures, please)." I found a nice light pink nail polish and brought it with me to Berne. The night before the first day of shooting I forced myself to sit like a statue at the desk in my hotel room for 20 minutes until the nails were dry. They were indeed inspected--and approved!--the next day
I've been able to go polish-free between then and now, but with The National NeedleArts Association (TNNA) trade show coming up this weekend, out came the bottle of pink stuff. I'll have to take it with me because I dinged the nail on my left pointer...while I was writing this blog post.