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"Smith & Cult is an expression of our unrefined thoughts and feelings." 

When it comes to the beauty industry, three things come to mind: Hair, Skin, and Nails. While hair and skin have always been in the spotlight, it was only recently that people started paying attention to their nails and what they are putting on them. Nowadays you can't watch TV or read a magazine without seeing advertisements covered with beautiful colors and promises of "A Salon Manicure at Home." While these all seem exciting, the promises are usually cut short and people find their nails not staying as flawless as the advertisements promised. Getting a "Salon Quality" manicure at home is hard, but with the right products and a little bit of patience, you can have beautiful nails from the comfort of your own home, and lucky for you, we sell these products at AlterEgo!

Smith and Cult was created by Dineh Mohajer (anyone remember Hard Candy from the 90's?!) who wanted to create a high performing lacquer that was also a 5-Free formula (which means it doesn't contain Dibutyl, Phthalate, Toluene, Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin and Camphor.) After creating Hard Candy in the 90's, Mohajer joined forces with Jeanne Chavez. The duo became a beauty industry powerhouse, creating trends and selling Hard Candy to LVMH in 1999 to go on to their next project: Smith and Cult.

When using a high quality lacquer, patience is key. You don't want to rush, so make sure you have some time to spend on yourself. The whole point of painting your nails is to enjoy it, not make it into another chore!

Step One: Prep your nails.

Oil is the enemy here. Clean each nail with Polish Remover and remove all old polish. This is a good time to file and trim them as well! Definitely avoid lotions in this step.

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Step Two: Super prep your nails.

Yeah, you just took off all the old stuff, but we're humans and we create a lot of oil. Grab some rubbing alcohol and clean each nail; it will ENSURE the lacquer sticks to your nails and no oils will ruin them.

Step Three: Base Coat

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Use the same brand. Each nail polish line is created using different formulas, so using the same brand will ensure even application and a solid fusion between the coats. You don't need to glob it on either; a quick, even coat is all you need. Make sure to coat your ENTIRE nail.

Step Four: Color

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Pick your favorite. I picked Psycho Candy, but the cool thing about S&C is that they have soooo many different options! Make sure the base coat is dry (takes about a minute) and start. Don't rush this step--use the ball method. Make a small ball of polish at the top of the nail and pull it down, then swipe once more on the left, and once on the right. Once you get this technique down your nails will ALWAYS look like you got them done professionally. You don't want to glob the polish on; it needs to dry, so thin layers work best. Let this dry for about 5 minutes, then apply coat #2, staying thin and consistent throughout. Take your time. Doing your nails should be fun!

Step Five: Top Coat

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ALWAYS follow with a top coat. It ensures the color is sealed in, but many are also formulated to stay shiny and resist chips. Coat your entire nail (and go over the free edge a bit) to lock in the lacquer. LET THIS DRY. This step is crucial, so give yourself 15 minutes or so to let them air dry. Blowing on them will create bubbles and putting them in cold water will crack the polish, so just be patient. Trust me, it's worth it

Once everything is done, sit back, and stare at how awesome your nails look. When anyone asks who did them, you'll smile and know it was yourself, and you can tell them to come to AlterEgo in Raleigh to pick up their own bottle of Smith & Cult.

Right now, we are offering a Buy Two Get One Free deal for all Smith and Cult polishes--definitely take advantage of this special to get your base coat, top coat, and favorite S&C color!

Guest Author: Amanda Gallegor, Salon Assistant and Polish Connoisseur

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