Beauty is all about optical illusions—making your hair look fuller, your lips look bigger, and your nose look smaller, all while looking like you’ve done nothing at all. The same is true when it comes to hand and nail care. No one wants stubby-looking hands, and unfortunately, the contouring trend has not yet spread to fingers. Thankfully there’s a better way, and celebrity manicurist Jill Thomas knows all the tricks.
Scroll through to find out how to fake the appearance of hand-model hands.
Thomas says the process is threefold: shape and length, cuticles, and color. Not surprisingly, she says having some length to your nails will help. If your nails need a little push to get growing, Thomas recommends taking a supplement like Dr. Wilson's Hair, Skin & Nails Plus Formula ($35), and using a treatment like CND’s RescueRXx Daily Keratin Treatment ($9) along with a nail hardener like Nailtiques’ Nail Protein Formula 2 Plus Treatment ($19) or Duri’s Rejuvacote Nail Growth System ($14). “This method can take some time to see results, but it's worth it,” Thomas says.
“Oval or almond nails will definitely make your hands look longer and more slender, but again you need length for that,” Thomas adds. “Always think length versus width. You want your nail to be longer than the widest point of your width.” As for filing, Thomas likes to round the edges and taper the nails in at the sides ever-so-slightly to make the nail beds appear longer.
Next up, cuticles. Three words: Push them back. “Not too hard, but once they're softened, you can get some extra length from the rear of the nail as well,” Thomas says. Soften them with a cuticle remover like Supernail's Cuticle Softener and Remover ($20) and gently push them back with an Orange Wood Stick ($3 for 100-pack).
Stay away from the cuticle scissors, which will inevitably leave the skin surrounding your nails red and irritated.
"And always make sure to polish as far back to the cuticle as possible," Thomas says.
Color choice can make a big difference. Thomas says the key is to avoid anything that’ll bring out the red in your skin tone. Instead, choose colors that complement your undertones. If you have warm, golden undertones, stay away from purples and grays. Instead, opt for corals like OPI's Toucan Can Do It If You Try, and warm reds, like Color So Hot it Berns (both $13). If you have cooler, blue undertones, pick a cool red like OPI’s Malaga Wine ($11), and stay away from turquoise shades.
Nudes elongate, making them an extension of your fingers. Think a light caramel or toffee beige for dark and deep skin, a more yellow-based taupe for medium skin tones and a light pinkish beige for fair and light skin tones.