How to do a no-tools French Manicure

What’s Monday without a great manicure to see you through the week?

Today why not paint your own French Manicure?

french mani

I love this easy Tutorial by the amazing Kelli Marissa. Watch it and you will be able to paint your own french manicure in a flash.  You will only need six things.

  1. A nail cleanser/dehydrator (you could use nail polish remover)
  2.  A base coat, preferably a ridge filler.
  3. A white nail polish.
  4. A top coat (she uses one with a gel-like finish, only you won’t need a light to cure it)
  5. A narrow tipped brush
  6. Pure acetone.

DIY Easy Classic French Manicure Tutorial (no tools required!) || KELLI MARISSA

Don’t forget to scroll below to see similar products to the ones Kelli Marissa has used that are available in South Africa.

Chip Skip from OPI (available at Salons)                                                                                          chip skip


Ridge Filler from Orly (available at Salons and Hands Down in Cape Town)

ridge filler

White Nail Polish  I like Sally Hansen’s Hard Nails Xtr  White. It doesn’t go thick and has a nice thin brush.


Essence has  a top coat that mimics a gel.

essence gel topcoat

You can get a narrow tip brush, like a shading brush at Dischem.

Dischem also stocks pure acetone, as does Clicks and your hardware store.


Have a great #ManicureMonday


Five Manicure Must-Haves #4

This tiny tool will be your new manicure BFF. Keep a couple in your manicure bag. Always.

Use a toothpick to clean up around the cuticle and achieve that perfect 1-2mm gap. Your Sunday evening paint job will soon look totes professional. It’s much more accurate than a clunky orange stick and a zillion times more hygienic. (You won’t be using it again. #disposable)

Here are a few tips:

  1. Get all ready and out on the table, because you can’t dig in your manicure bag for a toothpick once you have started painting. You need a couple of toothpicks, cotton wool, and some nail polish remover.   IMG_20160604_221438
  2.  Use a bare toothpick to sweep away any polish that you get on the skin or cuticle while the polish is still wet. Nothing else required.                                                                                                                   IMG_20160604_221652
  3.   Too many mistakes to sweep away super fast before they dry? Dip the bare toothpick into nail polish remover so that it is quite wet                                                                                                              IMG_20160604_221722
  4. Roll the wet toothpick in a bit of the fluff on the top of your cotton wool so that it picks up a few strands.  Keep rolling the toothpick to avoid picking up too much cotton wool or picking it up unevenly.                                                                                                                      IMG_20160604_221756
  5. Flatten the cotton wool against the wet toothpick, it will absorb the nail polish remover, but it will lie flat and snug against the toothpick.                                                     IMG_20160604_221838
  6.  Now you can clean the skin and cuticle area without gouging your manicure or getting wads of fluff onto your freshly painted nails.                                                                                                                                             IMG_20160604_221925



You can share your results by tagging me on Twitter (@SunriseStudio1 ) or Instagram (@sunrisebeautystudio )   I’d love to see your manicures.

Coming Soon: The Fifth (and final) Manicure Must-Have

Five Manicure Must-Haves # 3

The treasure here is oil And no. Not the kind that stands in the way of world peace and Greenpeace, but the kind that

  1. You take after breakfast, and
  2. You paint on your cuticles

Essential Fatty Acids

These are your Omega 3’s (but 6’s are great too.) You can pop a capsule of fish oils or add salmon, flaxseeds and walnuts to your diet. Eat them, swallow them, pinch your nose as they go down, do what you have to do. They moisturize you from the inside and the result is fabulous skin, nails and hair.

Cuticle Oil

The science behind cuticle oil is that your nails are only as good as the matrix. (And here we are not talking Keanu Reeves. Although we can reflect on him for a moment, if you wish?)



Okay, enough of that, back to business. Take a look at this diagram. Try not to feel queasy.



See the nail matrix? That is the germinating layer that produces new nail cells. It’s the breeding ground of your nails. So slam it in the door and you’ll lose the entire nail, or get a mark or a dent that lasts from 3 months to forever.

On the contrary, if you massage the cuticle area and the matrix with cuticle oil daily, what a marvelous service you provide. You stimulate blood supply and new growth as well as sending nourishing molecules down to all those new cells. You keep the cuticle nice and supple, so that it doesn’t stick to the nail plate, which allows your growing nail to slide out from underneath unhindered.

As the nail cells mature in the matrix they move forward and push the old cells ahead of them. The old cells flatten and harden (don’t we all, with age?) and become your nail. They are what they are at that stage. You can rub in as much oil as you like but you will change very little. The only place you can nourish and moisturize your nails effectively is in the matrix. Because it takes time for these cells to age and become your nails you will only see the results of your cuticle oil efforts after about 3 months. It’s like Tinkerbell and the other fairies. You have to believe in order to see.


My favourite oils are

Avoplex by OPI (especially because it also comes in a handy little pen so you can do sneaky cuticle oiling during boring meetings.)

cuticle oil opi   avoplex to go

I also love Orly’s


Essence also carries a range of affordable cuticle care products, including a nail care pen (for sneaky manicuring), a quick and easy sponge nail caring oil  and a repairing nail oil with argan oil. You can buy them online or at Dischem.

Have any of you tried them?  I would love to hear your opinion.

Five Manicure Must-Haves #2

Nail Polish:  6 Basic Colors to Keep You Polished

You want to have a great selection in your manicure bag, but do you end up with a bunch of colors you never wear? And maybe just one favorite that you buy over and over?

I find including one of each of the following polishes in my manicure bag keeps me in color no matter my outfit or mood:

  1. Nude
  2. Red
  3. Bright
  4. Dark
  5. Fun
  6. Sparkle

You would probably pick different shades of these basics depending on the season and your skin tone. Here are my Autumn/Winter favorites from OPI:

My fun choice for winter is a   Yoga To Get This Blue 


My nude choice is  Bubble Bath

bubble bath pinterest


My red choice is Red Hot Rio

red hot rio

My dark choice was difficult.  I love them all, but settled on the beautiful coffee colour, Get In The Expresso Lane. You could also try Lincoln Park After Dark

lincoln park after dark

My bright choice is Koala-Beary  Although it’s a pink it has enough berry tones to wear in winter.

koala bear-y

My sparkle is Stars in My Eyes but I love the new  My Voice is a little Norse


OPI also have a wonderful Try On feature on their website, with adjustments for nail length and skin tone alongside the colors.

You can play around with The OPI Nail Studio here

What colors and brands would you choose? Do you have favorites that would fit perfectly here?

I’d love to hear from you.




Five Manicure Must-Haves #1

The Right Base Coat

Your manicure is only as good as the adhesion of the base coat to your nail. If that fails,the color will too.

The base coat has four basic functions. It  protects the natural nail, strengthens & heals, fills ridges and acts as a bonder. ie. It allows for better adhesion to the nail and to the color.

Which are some of the best products out there for your nails?



I love Orly’s Top to Bottom. It’s easy to use, dries fast and does the job, keeping nails free from pigment stains as well as providing a base for strong colour adhesion.

Strengthening and Healing:

The winner here, hands down, is Nail Envy from OPI. I lost a gel client after recommending Nail Envy  because it strengthened her nails to the point of my redundancy.  They have Orginal, Matte (for the incognito nail conscious person in your life) Soft, Thin Nails, and Dry, Brittle Nails. OPI makes Nail Envy in colours now too.

nail envy.

Filling Ridges:



I love the Essie Fill the Gap ridge filler. It self levels over irregularities on the nails, leaving a smooth perfect finish for your color application. You can see the results in action HERE

fill the gap


Look no further than the Orly Bonder Base Coat, listed HERE on the InStyle Best Beauty Buys Hall of Fame 2016 . It is a rubberized resin based nail foundation designed to grip the surface of the nails and bond to the polish, NYC nail pro, Alexandra McCormick says on InStyle’s site. Another NYC nail pro, Cas Lamar tells InStyle that it acts as a ridgefiller and protects the nails from staining.

orly bonder

Let me know about your favorite base coats. Which ones do you like to use?

Coming soon: Part Two: Choosing Nail Polish Colors. Which Colors are right for you?

6 Ways to a Chip Free Manicure

Tired of this happening just hours after you’ve polished your nails?

chipped polish

Before you throw in the orange stick, here are a few simple tricks to keep the frustration at bay:

  1.  Wash your hands to remove excess oil.  File your nails and push back the cuticles.
  2.  Wipe the nail plate with a lint free wipe (a small piece of gauze will do) soaked in  nail polish remover. This will remove final traces of oil, as well as any filing dust.                                                         nail wipe
  3. Thinly apply a good quality base coat to all ten nails. When it is dry to the touch, apply two coats of colour.                                                                                                                                                                    nail-base-coat
  4. Allow each coat to dry thoroughly. Nail polish dries by evaporation, so if the layers are too thick or not completely dry between coats, you will have weak, soggy spots that could chip.                                                                         drying_nails-656x411
  5. Apply the topcoat, then seal the tip of the nail by dragging the brush across the free edge.
    The Polished Perfectionist

    Photo Credit: The Polished Perfectionist


  6. Apply a fresh topcoat every second day to protect the colour coats from the wear and tear of day-to-day life.