Best of the Best: Jewels, not tools

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Cathy Best

Cathy Best

By Cathy Best

As I type my hands taunt me; unlike the lead dog, the view never changes. Rough, dry, cracked, artic angler hands, gold leaf thin nails, and cuticles I can’t discuss glare back at me. The nails peel like cheap nail polish, hangnails run rampant and I neurotically fiddle with my cuticles. My husband has deemed the nail clippers my passie, if this tells you anything. No, I don’t have magazine model hands; I have medical journal hands.

For a number of years, I spent beaucoup dinero hiding my nails under layers of salon gel. For a while I felt better but I knew what was lurking under the façade. It was a chore keeping up the charade. My manicurist would remind me, each time I needed a repair between visits, “your nails are jewels not tools.” I couldn’t help myself. Digging in the dirt, even with gloves on, damaged my French manicure. Water, I’m an obsessive hand washer, lifted the gel from the quick. What home cook wears gloves? Not this one. It’s like having ultra curly hair and constantly trying to straighten it; by no fault of my manicurist, I was fighting an expensive uphill battle and losing.

It’s not that I’d like to be Chris Walton, the current Guinness Book world record holder for longest fingernails, with nails curling around to measure 10 feet, 2 inches on her left hand and 9 feet, 7 inches on her right. I find that not only creepy but also a little unsanitary. She obviously can’t wash her hands obsessively. On the other hand I would have enjoyed being Flo-Jo, Florence Griffith Joyner, in her hay-day. She has held the women’s world record in the 100 meters since 1988. She not only ran faster than any woman ever she ran with trademark, trendsetting, 4-inch nails polished like individual paintings; even her hands looked fast.

This is where the hangnail meets the clippers: I have come to accept that which I cannot change- hand modeling for medical journals. The best I can do for my dry skin and nails is wear gloves when using household cleansers, gardening, and when temperatures drop, use a good nail oil and cuticle cream before bed, and slather on enough hand lotion to leave fingerprints everywhere but crime scenes.


File nails in the shape of the Lunula (the light half-moon area at the base of your nail). A new file should be used for each customer in nail salons. Never cut cuticles. Apply polish, shellac or gel (avoid UV lights with shellac process; it’s like a mini tanning bed) Make sure soaking liquid is fresh for each customer and that the container and implelements have been sanitized.


OPI: “The app that brings hundreds of OPI’s great shades to your fingertips!”

Dress Up and Makeup:

Manicure “ Clip, buff, polish, decorate your nails and much more!”

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