A Polished Professional

Polished Professional? Nail Polish that is…

Thanks to a wonderful friend and one of the most professional and proper gals I know, this week’s topic is hand and nail care in the workplace. The question I received was, “What are your thoughts on nail colors and what is appropriate for the workplace?”

This is such a great question! Although it may seem like a trivial detail, your hands truly do stand out in the workplace. While shaking hands during introductions, taking notes/typing at meetings, dining with other professionals, and especially talking with your hands, a lot of attention is drawn to your hands making them a focal point. As a result, keeping your nails manicured and your hands presentable is extremely important!

Now, I know what some of you are thinking… “Keep my hands manicured? I cannot afford a weekly/biweekly manicure.” I completely understand! If you are able to afford getting your nails professionally done, go for it, but for those readers who are not able to do so, it is perfectly OK! You can certainly have great hands and nails without the professional care.

  1. Moisturize Your Hands
    • Keep an unscented or very lightly scented hand cream in your desk. If you shake hands a lot or have a hands-on job, your hands have a tendency to dry out (especially during the dry, cold winter months). Dry, rough skin during a handshake is never a good thing. :/ Your hands also look much more presentable when you they are not dry, cracked, or red.
    • Put on cream after you shower or right before bed, it lets the cream set while you are having some down time.
    • Use cuticle oil or cuticle cream.
  2. File Your Nails and Keep Them Shaped
    • Always keep a nail file handy, you never know when you may break a nail.
    • Although pointed nails have been in fashion lately, avoid the “claw/talon” look unless you work in the fashion industry and need to follow all the trends.
    • Keep your nails at a reasonable length. Typically, your nail should be as long as your finger or just slightly longer (when you are looking at your nails from the palm side of your hand).
    • The graphic below shows the main nail shapes. For the office, I recommend the 3 shapes on the right (rounded, squarely rounded, and oval) or a short square shape.

      Photo Credit: Style Craze
      Photo Credit: Style Craze
  3. Nail Color and Design
    • I suggest a nude color, pale pink, or a French manicure.
      • I use a lot of Essie nail polishes. Here are a few of my favorites:

        All Colors from Essie
        All Colors from Essie
    • If you do choose to have colored nails (i.e. a darker shade in the fall/winter), be sure it is subtle and matches your professional wardrobe.
    • Stay away from overly long, bright, and decorated/bejeweled nails.
    • If it is a holiday and your office participates in celebrations, having colored or decorated nails is OK, but I would only keep them for the few days surrounding that holiday.
  4. Keep Your Nails Clean
    • When your nail polish begins to chip or fade, take it off! Having chipped nail polish is very unprofessional and it does not look appealing.
    • If you do not wear nail polish, keep your nails filed and shaped. You can also put a clear coat or nail strengthener on to add a simple shine to your nail!
    • Clean under your nails so dirt and grime do not show.

With all these tips in hand, go pamper yourself and make your nails look fabulous!

Sparkle On,



2 thoughts on “Polished Professional? Nail Polish that is…”

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