Bare those toes?

I’ve been doing a fair amount of online browsing lately, and I’ve noticed something missing: nailpolish on toes.

I’m not sure it would have caught my eye, except that I’ve been abstaining myself: It’s been about three months since I’ve had brightly colored toes—ever since I nearly lost a nail to the removal of one gel pedicure too many.

I was encouraged when I noticed all the nail nudity on models. The buff nails feel fresh. I did some sleuthing and found that, indeed, the no-polish nail trend is on the rise. What do you think? It’s trivial, but I’ve been thinking about whether or not—if I go for one more pedicure before our summer trip to Italy—I should get color.

Of course, as with so many “natural looks,” this one may actually require more work. Editorial manicurist Deborah Lippmann notes that a bit of healthy sheen is essential. “Taking a break from polish doesn’t necessarily mean it’s less maintenance,” she says. … “The [nails] have to be groomed.”

Here are the key steps for going bare… 

Clean.  (Obviously.) You can give your nails a DIY scrub using 2:1 baking soda and lemon juice to brighten them up.

Exfoliate. Any gentle scrub will work. But remember that time I tried Baby Foot Peel?

Buff. Lippmann suggests getting  a four-sided buffer, which uses a different fabric on each surface of the square to create a different finish on the nail. Never use the abrasive side more than once a week.

Moisturize. Applying a foot cream all over can be a treat, but using cuticle oil may be more important: it keeps the nail bed moisturized, as well as the skin around it. I’ve heard rave reviews for the Sally Hansen cuticle eraser and balm.

And if, after that, you would like to put on an au naturel-looking polish, I’ve found a few favorites:

Nailtiques Formula 2. This is probably my favorite nail product. As a recovering biter and occasional gel user, I can attest to its power. It will make your nails strong! It also has a nice, clear sheen.

Zoya in Sally. I’m usually anti-shimmer, but the 10-free brands can be a bit too matte, so the slight shimmer in this one is just right. A very translucent nude color, without too much yellow or pink.

Dior Glow. Legendary for a reason. Slightly pink, it enhances the natural color of your nails: the pinks of the nails become pinker and the whites become whiter.

Which camp are you in? Naked or polished?

P.S. Tips for using dry shampoo. And sunscreen favorites.

[Photo via Madewell]

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