I love the short red nail. I think it looks very French and very chic (there I go with French references again!). It also seems somewhat retro to me, very ’40s and ’50s glam, which I also love.
I agree that while a short red nail is not conservatively professional, I think if the red is not in any way “sparkly,” and if it is a good, clear, classic red (i.e. not overly dark), and if you wear it with neutral colored clothes (i.e. blacks, greys, reds, navies, some browns), and if you keep them impeccably (i.e. not a single chip or crack), then I think you can wear it to the office. But that’s a lot of “ifs,” which in the life of most busy working moms, is just too many “ifs” to deal with.
That’s why I tend to stick with either a light colored neutral polish, or during especially busy times, no polish.
Now “no polish” does not, and should not, mean not manicured or cared-for nails. You still need to keep your cuticles in check, your nails trimmed and filed and scrupulously clean. You just get the added time savings of not having to put on and most importantly during busy work weeks, maintain, polish.
There are also some shortcuts you take to help your nails look manicured even without polish.
1. Whitening Pencil. Revlon used to make one but I don’t think they do any more. Thank goodness for Sephora. The trick with these is you wash your hands/wet your nails, then run the pencil underneath the nail and it whitens the whites. It only lasts about a day so you’ll want to reapply each morning.
2. Cuticle remover. My favorite, Nutra Nail Green Tea Cuticle Remover, appears to no longer be available, but there are any number of quick-acting cuticle removers on the market. Don’t use them more than once/week, and I prefer to work on cuticles after a shower when they’re nice and soft.
3. Quick Polish. These polish “sticks” are compact, portable (great for that office emergency kit) and best of all, don’t need a base or top coat. They go on quickly, dry quickly, and rather than chip they just sort of melt away from your nails after a few days. I really like Nicole by Opi’s Nic’s Sticks Hydrate It!, which is really just a clear quick polish that shines your nails nicely and doesn’t chip. You can reapply it right over the old once or twice, but after that you’ll need to remove with polish remover.
Just remember, look beautiful out there!