Zen and the Art of Painting Nails

I am thrilled to have Jhelum Biswas Bose as a guest blogger on Geeta’s List this week.
Jhelum is a true Beauty Goddess.
She has been Beauty Editor at Harper’s Bazaar and been associated with Sephora India. She is currently associated with Satya Paul and British brand Crabtree & Evelyn. She is also working on a PhD in Beauty norms and practices.
Do visit her FB page Jhelum  Loves and follow her on twitter @jhelumbb #JhelumLoves
Jhelum chose not to write on trends but instead writes a very personal piece on using simple beauty rituals to de-stress and calm our high-speed souls.
It resonated with me, as I can never sit still and relax into a beauty ritual despite many years of meditation practice.
So the real test as the Zen master says, is not in retreat but in daily life- in chopping wood, drawing water and yes, painting nails. Enjoy the blog.

jhelum for geeta

Since I was a child I have been told that in general the expression on my face looks like the world is coming to an end and I need to stop it. So from “Chicken Little” to “Tragedy Queen”, I have lived a life of over three decades with various epithets that brand me as a “Stress Victim”.

Therefore, my constant search has been for that elusive de-stressor. So from counseling to de-stress massages – over the years I have tried all possible ways and means to beat stress and have been successful in various degrees.

Of course, talking to a good friend is a great option provided that good friend is also a good listener – however, you seldom come across such gems. De-stress massages or essential oils help but step out on the road from that serene, fragrant environment and the effect evaporates within a second.

What I have realized is that these are but temporary solutions, for something more permanent you need to fix your inner core. Teach yourself to love and believe in yourself and yes, you can do that slowly and gradually.

In the interim, when you sense stress overwhelming you focus on something that you enjoy, and most importantly makes you feel good about yourself.

Painting my nails is my biggest and instant stress-buster. I discovered this during my college days. That’s when Elle 18 had just launched and for the first time we there were nail colours other than red, pink and brown. From lime green to cobalt blue to canary yellow – you were spoilt for choice.

Elle-18-nail-paints
(Geeta’s note: Go to http://www.stylecraze.com for listings of their favorite Elle18 products.This picture is from the website/ )

I had practically every shade and every day in sheer excitement I would change my nail colour to match my dress. It’s during one of these days that I realized that unknowingly I gravitated to these colorful bottles whenever I felt stressed. (Afterthought: must have been a wreck then, I painted my nails every day!).

The whole act of choosing a colour, diligently and carefully painting each nail, cleaning up the edge, waiting for the coat to dry and then starting the strokes again – it all fascinated me. The whole ritual took a good 10-15 minutes and the beautiful end result was, well flattering – I fell in love with my hands.

chanel april jhelum

I continue with this practice and I have also taught my friends the same, and trust me it always works. Just imagine, the whole office is stressed out. People are angry, bitching, screaming but you take a deep breath and fish out this beautiful bottle of Chanel Nail Vernis in April from your Furla Candy bag and start painting your nailS.

The smell of the paint fills the space, your colleague from the next table looks at you with a raised eye brow but then breaks into a smile, relaxes a bit. Someone else may come up from her seat, look at the bottle, make a note, chat with you and go back. You finish your “de-stress routine” and check your pink-scarlet tips – perfect. You smile.

Does this sound a bit loony?

So what? As long as you feel good and look good, why should you worry? So just make it a habit to carry your favourite nail enamel in your handbag.

However, if nail paints seems like a hassle to you, don’t stress. I have an alternative. Get yourself a nail buffer. Check out Bastian’s Natural Horn Buffer. http://www.bastiengonzalez.com/. Bastien Gonzalez is the God of Nails and you can check out his Reverence collection and services online.

It’s an indulgence but worth it. The beautiful buffer is a perfect fit in your handbag and you can whip it out anywhere, anytime and polish your nails with it till they glow. Elegant.

Chances are, by following either of the two tips you will notice your hands a little more and therefore, want to treat them a little better. When you come to that stage, keep a small tube of hand cream –like  Crabtree&Evelyn’s Gardner’s Hands  cream or Evelyn Roswww.crabtreeevelyn.com/– at hand and give your hands a slow massage whenever you can.

Massaging the nails, kneading the fingers and rubbing your palms together is all that you need to do and you will feel the tension melt away. To end the ritual, just shake your hands the way you would shake off water from them. This action helps you literally throw away tension.

Knead, Buff and Paint – that’s the simple secret to de-stress.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. loved it! not much of a nail paint person; but am now tempted to try this out. not to de-stress as such but just to experience the joy of what you have conveyed through your writing: to pamper myself. thanks!

  2. veengupta says:

    I enjoyed reading this. I think you are so right.
    Maybe anything else you may do for yourself like cooking, rearranging your clothes or makeup would work too if done with full attention to oneself.
    And painting one’s nails definitely needs one’s full attention. or, imagine the mess!

    1. Geeta Rao says:

      I think we all forget to pamper ourselves enough juanita 🙂

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