This $16 Nail Polish Comes With a Black Diamond and Benefits Hospitalized Children

Polished Girlz and Azature Black Diamond Nail Lacquer have teamed up to create a luxury nail polish that gives back to a good cause.

Perhaps you remember Alanna Wall from our coverage of her last September in “Meet NYFW Youngest Nail Technician,” the then 14 year-old nail technician was assisting the lead nail artist at the coveted Hood By Air show. Since September, Alanna, has graduated from Steve Harvey’s Dreamers Academy 2016 class while also serving as the nail concept designer for yet another New York Fashion Week season for two collections: Paul Penaranda and Demoo Parkchoonmoo.

Wall started her non profit organization, Polished Girlz at the tender age of 10 with a mission to “polish the nails and have mini manicure parties for children with social, emotional or physical specials need including patients that are hospitalized.” Along with her Polished Girlz crew, the organization has now polished the nails of over 14,000 girls who are hospitalized. Now Wall is expanding her reach and teaming with infamous lacquer company Azature Black Diamond Nail Lacquer to benefit the Polished Girlz organization.

If the Azature brand sounds familiar, it’s because they are synonymous with luxury in the nail world. Azature was responsible for the uber luxurious million dollar White Diamond Nail Lacquer that launched in October of last year they also created Kelly Osbourne’s 2012 Emmy Awards manicure that was a valued at a whopping $250,000. In a press junket about the collaboration with Polished Girlz the designer stated, “Alanna has been such an inspiration to me for some time now and I just can’t wait to launch this color with her. Seeing the amazing work the Polished Girlz organization did last year at the First Annual Polished Girlz Ball made such an impact on me that I was moved to help.”

 

The polish, which is available now, is a glitter-packed deep blue hue, and retail for $16 exclusively on shop.azature.com. Each bottle will contain one real black diamond and a portion of the proceeds will go directly to Polished Girlz to further their cause.

Guys, Stone Nails Are a Thing

Nail artists are getting in touch with Mother Earth.

There are actually three things you can count on in this world – death, taxes and brand new Instagrammable trends. Obviously we’re only really psyched about that last one. So without further adieu we introduce you to stone nails.

No, these are not tips made out of rocks, but rather nails embellished with tiny, pretty stones, or at the very least made to look like shiny pebbles you’d find along the most idyllic, enchanted path imaginable. We’re particularly digging the varieties embellished with gems and marble-like polishes, but all of the looks are pretty frickin’ cool.

And it looks like you can go as blingy or earthy as you like with your mani style when working with stones, which means it’s a versatile nail art look if you have the time, patience and skill level to place each piece.

If you’re not totally skilled with nail art, there’s always the option of taking in a few stones of your own and asking your favorite manicurist to whip up something cool with them, which could save you a lot of frustration while delivering a super unique mani.

Did You See Kerry Washington’s Sleek Pony and Graphic Nails?

The star of ABC’s Scandal and HBO’s upcoming Confirmation is making a splash with her modern style.

Scandal, or making press rounds about her role as Anita Hill in the upcoming HBO movie Confirmation. The film is a hugely anticipated behind the scenes account of the explosive 1991 Clarence Thomas SCOTUS nomination hearings.

Whatever Kerry has on her agenda, she does it with style and flair. On Instagram—as she readies for another day of press for Confirmation—she rocked a sleek ponytail by celebrity hair stylist Takisha Sturdivant-Drew. Her classic ponytail is straight, long and sexy. To clinch the look she enlisted the help of Los Angeles celebrity nail artisan / manicurist April Foreman for the vamp contrast of OPI pink hue polish with edgy black traced tips.

The end result is hair and nails on fleek.

Nail Rehab: The Right Way To Polish Your Nails

Don’t blame the polish. Chipped nails be your fault.

There aren’t many things worse than chipping your nail polish after you’ve just gotten (given yourself) a fresh manicure. And, while it’s easy to blame cheap polish as the reason for your lack luster manicure, the chances are you (or your manicurist) are actually at fault for that chipped ring finger nail. For polished gals who can’t seem to get their nail polish to stop chipping, we’ve got a few do’s and don’ts, and a step-by-step guide to nailing you next manicure.

FAQ’s

Q: Do I really need a base and top coat?

Q: Are multiple coats necessary?

How Get a Chip-Free Manicure

Step 1: Wash your hands and wipe your nails down with a gentle, hydrating polish remover like Caption ‘Onto the Next’ Creme Remover ($5.95, at dermstore.com)  or Bernadette Thompson ‘Wipe Out’ Nail Polish Remover ($8, at bernadettethompson.com).

Step 2: Apply a single coat of your base coat of choice, and allow two minutes to dry. We love Formula X ‘Prime’ Nail Base Coat (10.50, at sephora.com).

Step 3: Once your base coat is dry, apply the first coat of your base color and allow two minutes to dry.

Step 4: Repeat step three.

Step 5: Apply a single coat of your favorite top coat and allow two minutes to dry.

If you are using all of the necessary products, then it’s likely that your polish is chipping because you’re painting your nails too quickly. Solvents in polish need at least two minutes to dry in order to set. Layering nail polish over semi dry polish leads to chipping and often results in a manicure that lacks luster and shine, and will peel off in sheets. The trick is to apply your polish in thin layers that dry quickly and evenly. If you really want to amp up your manicure, use a gel top coat instead of a basic top coat and dry it under an LED light for one minute. You’ll have flawless tips for up two weeks at half the cost! For easy at-home gel manicures, we love the SensatioNail Nail Starter Kit ($49.99, at target.com)

The important thing to remember is that a manicure is supposed to be a moment when you are pampered—don’t rush the process. Allow two minutes for each coat to dry. If you don’t have 15 minutes to spare, then try a more time friendly option like Incoco Nail Appliques; you can do them on the go with minimal to no down time.

8 Things Your Nails Could Be Telling You About Your Health

These subtle changes in your nails may be signs of a bigger health issue.

Contrary to popular belief, your nails are not merely a canvas for colorful murals, paints and shiny lacquers. In fact, your nails can tell you a thing or two about health before the rest of your body really begins to display any symptoms. So, those brittle, yellowing, or ghostly white nails you’ve been sporting may not be due to an over-processed manicure, but rather, they could be a sign of something much more serious.

We’ve broken it down by symptom to help you determine whether or not you need to pay your doc a visit!

Symptom: Pale, colorless nails with a rosy rim at the base of the tip
Cause: This could be caused by poor circulation or merely aging, but it could also be a sign of something more serious like liver or kidney trouble, or diabetes.

Symptom: Yellowing Nails
Cause: This could be the result of using old nail polish which can stain you the surface of your nail. If you’re a smoker, this may also be an issue that you face. If you can’t seem to get rid of the discoloration after soaking your nails, then you may want to consider a doctor’s visit, as it could also be the result of a fungal infection, jaundice, psoriasis or a thyroid condition.

Symptom: Weak and/or brittle nails
Cause: You may need to up your vitamin intake. Opt for vitamin A, C and or B12, which will strengthen your nails. Biotin is also a great option to strengthen and optimize nail growth.

Symptom: Clouded Nail Beds
Cause: If your nails are ridden with white spots, it’s usually a sign of trauma or high stress. Try relaxing a bit. As for your nails, don’t worry, it isn’t permanent; once they grow out, the spots will go with them.

Symptom: Indented Nails
Cause: Ridges or indentations across the nail bed are referred to as “Beau’s lines.” They generally result from an injury to the nail, but can also be the result of a zinc deficiency or an illness such as diabetes or pneumonia.

Symptom: Dimpled Nail Bed
Cause: If you find that the surface of your nail is uneven, this could be an early sign of inflammatory arthritis.

Symptom: Dark Streak on the Nail Bed
Cause: Check this out as soon as possible as it could be a sign of melanoma (skin cancer).

Symptom: Scooped Nails
Cause: If your nails assume a hollow shape and take on the shape of a spoon, you may have an iron deficiency. This could also be a sign of heart disease or hypothyroidism. Either way, it’s best to go see a doctor.

Take some time in between nail appointments to let your nails rest. It’s important to be able to identify changes in all parts of your body, but especially those that are often covered by cosmetic products such as nail lacquers and wraps.

When was the last time you checked the the state of your nails?

Three Nail Art Designs You Have To Try Right Now

Nail art is one of the easiest (and smallest) ways to channel your personal style. Whether you prefer the do-it-yourself method or a bi-weekly salon appointment, how you choose to adorn your nail beds definitely changes with the seasons. And with an election on the horizon, this is the perfect opportunity to get yourself into the voting spirit. We teamed up with three top notch manicurists for our November 2016 issue and each of them did not disappoint. From architectural shapes to minimal design and a narrative look that channels the Black Lives Matter movement, these nail art designs are sure to satisfy every type of beauty enthusiast. Take a closer look below!







Black Owned Nail Polish Brands You Need In Your Life

Metallics, dark colors and glitter, oh my!

Nail polishes come in all different tones, shade ranges and color selections, and for good reason! The nails are often the unspoken accessory of any outfit, and need to be just as poppin’ as any other aspect of your outfit.

When it comes to nails, Black women have always been the connoisseurs of creating edgy, stylish and creative nail art. Although nail care companies have historically been dominated by the Asian community, Black women are beginning to break barriers and create companies in a industry they’ve been pumping money into for years.

Creating a color range and changing the nail art game seems to be a new goal for African American entrepreneurs as a growing onslaught of Black-owned nail polish brands continue to pop up on the market. Check out these Black owned businesses to support the next time you are on your way to a mani-pedi appointment.

25 & June Nail Elixir

25 & June Nail Elixir has dominated the nail care industry with it’s 7-free formula and eclectic color range. Try Thalia ($9) for a timeless pretty in pink look.

Adore’her Nail Polish

Affordable and fast-drying nail polish is just a couple of clicks away, with Adore’her Nail Polish. Choose from poppin’ colors like “The Boy Is Mine” a splash of yellow that has been flying off the shelf for months.

Coloured Raine Cosmetics

Coloured Raine Cosmetics offers a funky line of long lasting and 5-free nail lacquer. The vegan nail collection electrifies with neon colors and can also bring out your inner bling with hues like “Hollywood Scandal” ($7).

2 Sisters Cosmetics

2 Sisters Cosmetics is the brain child of an engineer, architect, accountant, two entrepreneurs and a retired college ambassador. Colors like “Fierce” ($7) is just one in their array of ultra affordable shades.

D.I.D. Nail Paint

Licensed nail technician Adrienne Blanks created D.I.D. Nails as an eco-friendly, cruelty-free polish line. The expanding line has a range of colors like “Clean Slate” ($10), a white polish for when your nails need a blank slate.

Bernadette Thompson Nail Collection

Bernadette Thompson has worked with countless stars, including Nicki Minaj, offering her stellar manicurist skills, and now her collection is available to the world. Thompson’s line offers a number of polish colors with signature frosty finish like “Desert Storm” ($8).

Mischo Beauty

Mischo’s minimalist bottle design fits the lines diverse yet chic product line. Colors like “XO” ($18) can give you a pop of spring, no matter season life brings.

Nasty Nails Nail Polish

If you prefer your nails with a little kink, give Nasty Nails a try! This polish line delivers pigmented, bright nail color with names you wont forget. Shop colors like “Just Hoe’in Around” ($5) for vibrant, long lasting color.

Ka’oir Nail Polish

Keshia Ka’oir has had a good year romantically, but her business seems to be doing well too! Gucci Mane’s soon-to-be wife runs one of the most popular Black-owned nail polish collections with unique colors like “Confetti” ($10).

Lisa Nail Lacquer

Lisa Nail Lacquer is 5-free for those that prefer their nail polish without all the additives. It still offers fun, vibrant color like the collection’s midnight blue shade, “Bossy” ($7).

Nail Glam By Jove’e Co

“Maximize your mani” with a whole range of youthful Nail Glam nail colors, like “Sexy & Single” ($8).

Ginger + Liz Lacquer Collection

Ginger + Liz is a nail polish collection that can channel every mood, from your mellow tones to more eccentric hues like “Party Over Here” ($12).

Pear Nova

Pear Nova is known its uniquely on-trend nail colors and their fast, friendly shipping. “Glamher” ($12) is just one of the signature colors that compliments all skin tones.

Polish My Life

Polish My Life offers small, travel along polish with big pops of color. Add the sparkly lavender “Lavi Life” ($11) to your stash for a beauty pick-me-up.

Polish & Co.

Polish & Co. was founded by nail expert Theresa Williamson in 2011 and has expanded its shade range and clientele since then! This grey color, “5 O Clock Shadow” ($12), is a perfect winter neutral green.

The Hottest Nail Polish Colors that Work Best for Black Women

Matte nude nail polish may be having a moment this spring season, but let’s be honest, sometimes you need a splash of shiny color when the weather breaks.

Here, our must-haves that pair well with light to dark skin tones so you won’t have a breakdown the next time you’re at the polish wall.

Peach For The Stars by wet n wilda’s 1 Step WonderGel Nail Color

The fact that at-home gel nail polishes don’t always come in our color is a grave understatement. Most never enhance our tone, are too chalky or just plain boring. Thanks to wet n wild, not only can we finally get a pastel shade (like this gorgeous peach shade we spotted on the runways) that actually looks good on us, but it comes without the formaldehyde and the annoying UV light.

Hope by JINsoon

One single sweep of this shade and you’ll be instantly reminded of melting orange creamsicles (okay fine, pumpkins and prison jumpsuits, too). But the color is SO hot this season. And if you think it won’t match your skin color you’re dead wrong. Give it a try, and tell us how this chip-proof finish boosted your mood and manicure.

Perfectly Peacock by Sonia Kashuk

Remember years ago when dark teals were only worn during the fall season? Fast forward to spring/summer 2017 and now we couldn’t imagine a trip to the nail salon without pondering getting the color. Real talk, this cool turquoise shade transforms a basic mani into something magical.

Fruit Tella by Londontown

Rose, blush, salmon, magenta—we’ve seen practically every type of pink imaginable, but this fuchsia color is an upgraded barbie pink that serves as the perfect pair to our neon colored swimwear. Best of all it’s 9-free, cruelty-free, and infused with a blend of botanicals and minerals including evening primrose oil for moisture, calcium to strengthen and vitamins E and B7 to encourage growth.

Swan by Gucci

Whether it’s off-white, bone or cream, every season requires some variation of white polish. And this season we’re all about Gucci’s swan—a grayish-white sophisticated hue that’s sure to take you from the beach to the boardroom.

Stay Bright Neon Yellow by Nails Inc.

This nail lacquer truly lives up to it’s name—it’s the brightest neon color you’ll ever wear and it’s the world’s first non-fade neon polish, so it will withstand the wear and tear of all your summer jaunts. For best results, pair with the neon activator to keep your mani looking bright and shiny until labor day (or at least until you’re over the blinding yellow).

All the Wave by Essie

We’re usually all about brighter and bolder shades when the weather gets warmer, but this oceanic blue is a much darker stand-out. It’s a cross between a cobalt, navy, and indigo, which basically means your digits will bathe in blue heaven.

Stargasm by Deborah Lippmann

Of course you don’t need another rose gold-colored anything in your life, but this shimmer polish is so damn pretty that we couldn’t resist adding it to the list. It’s great for every tone—from the lightest to the darkest dark. Needless to say, this badass shade can be worn alone or on top of any of your favorites.

Mille by Zoya

Sure purple nails look great on us year-round, but the micro-sparkles in this violet shade scream warm summer evenings with your besties. And even if you have zero plans, the subtle shine will still make you swoon.

Minx Brings Luxury Home

Luxury nail company, Minx is now making their product available for consumers to take home.

Good news, nailing that red carpet mani just got easier! You may have noticed Queen Bey rocking a metallic mani on her Ms. Carter Tour, or those gorgeous two-toned mani’s you spot on Rihanna and Nicki Minaj from time to time? If you’re obsessed with well-accessorized and metallic-accented manis, then you—like some of your favorite celebs—are probably a fan of Minx. A runway and red carpet favorite, Minx nail wraps are a go-to for nail artists with clientele who are constantly on the go or who just want a really unique nail look. In the past, the nail wraps have only been available at select professional nail salons. However, the company has recently undergone a makeover and the coveted nail wraps are now available for purchase online on the Minx website.

With such a vast selection, you may never need to paint your nails again! With 20 collections and over 500 nail designs, Minx has got every nail wish you’ve ever had covered! Obsessed with Basquiat? There’s a Minx for that. Looking for the ultimate no-fuss bridal mani? There’s a Minx for that too. Art Deco, Bohemian, Animal Print, Holiday? Yep, there’s a Minx for that too! It’s kind of a nail lover’s dream come true. You are literally one click away from an endless supply of nail art options. In the rare event that you don’t find a Minx design your like, you can customize your nails and design your own wraps using your phone. Simply snap a photo, use the Make Me Nails app to size, and then flaunt your flawless mani!

From The Pros: How to Prevent Yellow Nails

Even the prettiest of shades can leave your nails yellow or abnormally tinted. Kandi Banks tells us how to keep your nails healthy and on-trend.

It’s happened to the best of us: Even the prettiest of shades have a dark side and can sometimes leave your nails yellow or abnormally tinted. To learn more about these unpleasant surprises, we enlisted the help of celebrity nail artist and former finalist on Oxygen’s Nail’d It, Kandi Banks.

ESSENCE: Is applying a base coat the only way to prevent discoloration from happening? How do base coats work?
Banks: First of all, your nails need to breathe. Without a base coat, your nails will suffocate. The reasons why your nails stain is [because you aren’t using] a base coat and you’re keeping high-pigment polish on too long.

ESSENCE: How many layers of base coat are necessary and how much time should pass before applying polish?
Banks: You only need one layer of base coat. The normal time is around two minutes, but I always take one hand and move onto the other hand. And, by the time I’m done with the first hand, it should be dry already.

ESSENCE: What brands of base coats do you recommend?
Banks: I like OPI’s base coat. And, Seche has a really good base and top coat. They have a high-gloss, fast-drying top coat.

ESSENCE: Does scrubbing with lemon juice, toothpaste or baking sodas help whiten nails? How safe are these home solutions?
Banks: I don’t like to use like home products on my clients because I don’t know if they’ll have an allergic reaction—especially with citrus. But, people should try it out and see if it works for them.

ESSENCE: Typically, how long should nail polish be kept on?
Banks: When the nails start chipping, it’s always best to change the color. I say change it at least once a week. If you’re impatient and you want a new color more frequently, then every four days is good.

ESSENCE: What suggestions do you have for improving the overall health of your nails?
Banks: Definitely drink a lot of water and when it comes to the removal of any type of nail, never pick it off—always soak it off with acetone. Whether it’s acrylic, gel, or you need to remove it with, you know remove polish on natural nails with acetone.