My Favourite Manicure.
Gloss on Matte French Black Manicure.

Because of the kind of person I am, my nails are rarely “done”. Because of the kind of person I am this sometimes bothers me. I love clothing, love style, worship Issey Miyake and Tom Ford BUT … even if I do my own nails or get them done they don’t last longer than say …. 13.7 seconds.

I’m a bit of a mess that way.

It’s a struggle of a life when you love looking like a runway model and building chicken coops.   And I swear to you, the only thing keeping me from looking like a runway model each and every day of my life  (even in my sleep with my mouth hanging open and my cats ass in my head) is the fact that my nails are never done.

I manage to keep on top of my hair because my friend Renee does it and last time I let my hair go too long between cuts she told me I looked great anyway.  That kind of bold faced lie really makes you reflect on what a horror you must really be.

I have good intentions.  I think I’ll do my nails.  But then I do something else instead.  Like eat.  Or sleep.  Or powerwash the neighbourhood.

But when I saw the black matte and gloss manicure while I was Googling about how to do another type of manicure … I was hell bent on doing my nails.

The other manicure I was Googling, by the way, was the quilted  nails you see here …


Quilt Tutorial 2

 See quilted nail tutorial here.

This particular tutorial uses tape to create the quilting effect.  Other tutorials say using a hand held dental floss pick works great to dent your nails into a quilted pattern.  It does not.  I repeat, it does not work great.  At all.   I know this becuase I bought those little hand held dental flossers for the sole purpose of quilting my nails.  ‘Cause it seemed so easy and all.  It was not easy.  At all.

It looked like a bird with warts on the bottom of its feet walked over my nails.

That’s when I remembered the other manicure I came across while searching for a quilted nail tutorial.

The black, matte & gloss french manicure.

I love it with all of my heart for two reasons.

It’s exactly my style AND it really is easy to do.  Foolproof in fact.

The manicure is a copy of the YSL Tuxedo manicure which is in tribute to the classic black silk on wool,  YSL tuxedo jacket.

What you need:

Base coat

Regular nail polish

Matte top coat.


1. Base coat.

2.  2 coats regular, shiny nail polish over entire nail. (let dry)

3.  1 coat Matte top coat over entire nail. (let dry)

4. Paint tips with regular, shiny nail polish

     (you can also use a clear, shiny top coat for the tip portion)


I would like to take a moment to advise you that there will be no more DIY blog posts including, but not limited to cooking, cleaning, home repair, building, chickens, cats, hammering, washing or scratching. Until I get sick of this manicure.

Join me here tomorrow when we’ll just look at each other.



  1. MindyK says:

    Wow. It’s a whole blog post worth of comments from people like me. I am so thrilled to know I am not alone in my hopeless ruination of manicures because I insist on having a rather active, hands-on, dirt-under-nails sort of life–but you’ve gone me one better and discovered ways to have pretty nails AND a proper life. I have found my people. :)

  2. Erica says:

    I’m sure you’ve probably already tried it, but my favorite is the shellac manicure, where they cure the special polish under uv lights and it gets super (SUPER) hard and never chips. I love it and it’s the only polish I can wear that lasts more than 20 minutes.

    • Karen says:

      My niece is an aesthetician and she doe shellac. The only thing I don’t like about it is you can’t scratch well with it, LOL. ~ karen!

  3. Amanda says:

    I’ve painted my nails at least three times – senior prom (date was gay), wedding (date not gay), and for a black tie thingy we went to. Every time my hair and clothes looked fab, but nails…not so much. Why can I paint a wall with razor crisp trim lines, but can’t get nail polish to look good? Never tried French. Manicures, that is. Tried lots of other French things I liked! But I think they were all more enduring than a FM would be on me.

  4. Kim from 3 peanuts says:

    Oh my! They look great and it is exactly the multi dimensional aspect of you that I adore so much.

  5. Feral Turtle says:

    I have a terrible time with polish. My niece did a fancy gel manicure….not the gel nails, just polish with a special light, and before she got the second hand done, I had ruined two nails from the first. I am just destined to be a plain nail….K that didn’t sound very good but you know what I mean.

  6. Ira says:

    I swear to god I’m the exact same position. How am I supposed to dig through potting soil or take apart old TVs w/ a perfect manicure? It never lasts!

  7. Erin says:

    Okay, for reals…I haven’t had my nails polished in over 15 years for many of the same reasons you haven’t. I didn’t have the time, hated how they looked when they chipped after 47 minutes of wear, I kept my nails short anyway so I didn’t get dirt under them while gardening etc…but I recently have become a convert. I started getting schellac manicures. Currently, I have been wearing the same color for 3 weeks! I kid you not. In those three weeks I have: gardened, shuffled paper, done 21 nights of dishes, cleaned bathrooms and gone CAMPING (which means I cut wood, built fires, cooked on a camp stove, etc) and I don’t have a single chip. The only thing one might notice is that my nails have grown so you can see about an 1/8″ of new nail, but who cares!? The finish is still shiny and it is a joy to look at my nails now…woo hoo. For anyone thinking about doing this for the holidays or just because…DO IT!

  8. Julie says:

    I’ve been loving the look of matte nailpolish for a while now, this just affirmed my love & need to get some. awesome.

  9. Diana says:

    I don`t have the patience to dry every single coat…
    “Is it dry?… sure – let`s open jeansbuttons or something like that.”

    If I want to use nailpolish somebody has to tie me up on a chair… whith stapled hands on the table… and in an empty white room… under hypnosis! lshmsfoailmt

  10. mimiindublin says:

    I thought this read “The Polish Alcoholic” on the quilted picture!
    just home from a great night out, maybe that’s why!

  11. Robin says:

    Well, it seems like I am late to this party, but Karen, honestly, I’m shaking my head at you. A resourceful and capable woman such as yourself should know that you can build a chicken coop, wash dishes with a scouring pad if you so desire, and use your nails as a screw driver in a pinch if you wear gel polish. It will stay on through all your mood swings for two to three weeks without chipping, peeling and cracking. I used to weep over my nails regularly before I found this miracle cure. Do not walk, but RUN to your manicurist and get it, STAT!! You can thank me later. Or just throw money. Either way….

    • Karen says:

      LOL. Advice heeded. My niece is my manicurist actually. I’ve been to her exactly twice. And … she does gel nails. What I don’t like about them (and the newer shellac nails) is you can’t get a good scratch out of them! They’re all rounded and smooth at the tips. It’s almost winter. The exact time my legs often need a good scratchhh. ~ karen!

      • Robin says:

        Ohhhhh, Karen….(sob!)….buy a skin brush for a good scraaaaaatch (that’s a hair brush with metal bristles that will never touch your head!) ;-)

  12. Laura Bee` says:

    This is beautiful & simple. I think I have to invest in some matte topcoat.
    My nails are trashed. Meant to re-do them two days ago. Kinda forgot how bad they were until now. They still have some polish left across the middle, but the tips are destroyed & they’ve grown out as well. I did them Saturday night – a quick cover up over the last wrecked paint job. So sad.
    Daughter is napping so I am going to make them pretty again until around 6:07am when I get to work and begin wrecking them again.

  13. Amy in StL says:

    Every month I get a box (or maybe two) of beauty products delivered through one of those subsciption services. One this month had the perfect royal blue nail polish, so I painted my nails. Then I had a day of field visits where I was taking soil samples and such and the next two days helping at a dog foster event. I really can’t paint my nails, it looked like piranhas had been at them.

  14. Carole says:

    What a great idea and perfect for Halloween.

  15. Susan says:

    I’ve arrived at the point in life that if I need nice nails for something, I put on fake ones and paint those. That lasts long enough for whatever I need them for, and then I don’t have to fuss and bother with my nails for another year or so. I very much like the effect of the matte and glossy. Your nails look chocolate brown to me, though, and if I did chocolate brown nails, I’d be so distracted by them reminding me of chocolate all the time I’d end up gaining another ten pounds from the bags of M&M peanuts I’d be munching on to satisfy the chocolate cravings from looking at the nails!

  16. Shauna says:

    I have the exact same problem with manicures. I do them and feel all grown up and within half a day, I look like a third grader from all the nail chips. At that point, I don’t do the grown up thing and take it off and do it again, no, I start chipping at it until each nail looks like I have some weird disease.

    I love the matte polishes and especially love your black matte with gloss.

    p.s., I also have the problem of loving fashion and wanting to look like a supermodel, but have chickens, and farming to take care of. It’s amazing how so many of your blog fans feel so much kizmit with you – very weird. Never knew there were so many of ‘us’ out there.

  17. Debbie says:

    P.S. Are yours still ok at this time? Just checking.

  18. Debbie says:

    I love nails, however when you use your fingers as tools it lasts much less than a day. There is also the feeling in my fingers that they can’t breath. I know fingers don’t breath, but if they did it would feel this way. Until they make finger nail guards I will just have to pass. So I guess its work, work, work for me…

  19. Jeannie B says:

    Yesterday, I saw an advertisement, for the first time, of black matte nails with gold tips. Looked beautiful, but not for me. I think they might have been ” press on” nails. Looks good on your hands Karen. Well done.

  20. ruth says:

    Chicken manicures!

  21. I say take that matte & gloss manicure out for a spin and see what it can do! A pedi is a regular event, but a mani is reserved for the occasional wedding or anniversary. Filed under the heading Wasted Money.

  22. Patti says:

    I love, love LOVE that manicure too, Karen – but hunt as I have, I can not seem to find matte top coat anywhere! Sephora was sold out, they didn’t have it at the Bay, and none of my drugstores had it, either! Where on earth did you find it?

    • Karen says:

      Mine is Joe Fresh Patti! ~ karen

      • Patti says:

        Argh! So I dragged my guy out to Joe Fresh to try to find some, and nope – I think this silly town has put the kiabosh on matte polish! Not very nice!

        It is a matte topcoat, right? Why couldn’t I find it? You should’ve seen my guy digging for it – this big burly, hair man, picking through rows and rows of nail polish. He does guitar repair and restoration for a living, and finishing is one of his favourites, so he’s very supportive of my love for polish. I may have to get him to take me out of KW for this!

        • Karen says:

          It is a matte topcoat. However … someone on my Facebook page mentioned you can make your own matte topcoat by adding cornstarch! Or maybe it was baking soda. I think it was cornstarch. So google it and give it a shot! ~ karen

  23. Theresa says:

    Karen looks awesome! Check out Shellac manicures. I’ve had it done every 3 weeks for the past 2 years. It’s like armor for your nails. It’s about 25.00 so only slightly more expensive than a normal manicure. I’m sure you could do yourself and I promise once you try it you won’t go back!

    • Loni says:

      I agree so much with Theresa!! I am really, really hard on my nails/hands and this summer decided I wanted nice nails, because the middle of gardening and just before canning season is an excellent time to try to have nice nails…. Tried everything! Now several shellacings in, I am trying to see what exactly it will take to dent this stuff! I’ve cut and canned everything and they still look wonderful! Peer pressure much…

  24. Jan says:

    I found the most awesome nail process called SNS. It is 10 times better than acrylic and stays on until you want it off. Comes in tons a great colors, too. I have been remodeling a house for the last 2 weeks, including painting, demolition, grouting, you name it, and they look like they’ve just been done! The stuff goes on right over your own nails, and I’ve had them for over a year now. My local nail salon does it, and the only maintenance required is to get the new growth filled in every 3 or 4 weeks.

  25. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Great it!

  26. Maureen Locke says:

    LOL, the tampon video was what hooked me. I still search for it and show people who’ve never seen your blog. I laugh my butt off every time I see it.
    Enjoy your time off and your awesome manicure. :)

  27. Ella says:

    Great for Halloween too!

  28. Bre Quantrill says:

    Get some gloves, Girly, and bang on!!

  29. Reg says:

    Great nails.
    The frozen yogurt cure is the funniest thing I’ve seen in a long time. It did make me cross my legs though and shiver. I guess it’s the same kind of reaction guys have when they see another guy get hit in the family jewels.

  30. SuzyM says:

    Can chicken manicures be far behind? I DARE you!

  31. Sarah In Illinois says:

    I love being girly. However, I sell auto parts for a living. Greasy dirty auto parts, in a greasy dirty store, with greasy dirty customers. So I can’t wear nice clothes to work, I can’t get a nice manicure to last any longer than your 13.7 seconds. Occasionally, I do take some time with my hair (as opposed to the normal ponytail) and a customer will comment, “Who are you?!”

    I would love to be girly everyday. Maybe I could get a manicure and then wear gloves everyday? ;)

  32. Melissa Leach says:

    I am a bit taken back with this today’s post…don’t get me wrong, I love the post. You made me laugh out loud yet again, but info on manicures??? You never cease to amaze me with what you come up with. At least you didn’t choose some girly, pearly pink color. I love the black on black!

    While you are drinking tea and eating crumpets enjoying your manicure how about the coop cam as TC mentioned???

  33. Marti says:

    Those look great, Karen. Well done! I barely do mani’s because I like to do so many hard-on-nails things… I usually go bare, but do one coat only clear (so no one can tell when it wears at the tips) for life’s bigger moments. but I do indulge myself on toenails. Black is my favorite color. (Although… Hot Pink this week is nice just to break up things up a little)

    The black polish I have is glossy. What brand is that matte, please? I’m not sure I need a “french tip” manicure, but I could go for matte black toenails.

    • Karen says:

      The matte is just a topcoat. Mine is Joe Fresh, but most nail polish lines now carry a matte topcoat that can go on top of any other polish to make it matte. ~ karen!

      • Marti says:

        I had no idea that was “just a top coat.”

        So I could put that matte top coat on and have everyone think absolutely… nothing. Haha!

        I wonder what flat black toenails would look like… probably… laziness! :)

  34. JebberJay says:

    Go clean your coop … stat. I will not stand for a non-Karen post day tomorrow.

  35. karol says:

    this is why I like you… a chicken bone wreath and a classy black matte mani in the same week. An all around kind of gal who likes to be creepy and sassy classy at the same time.

  36. jainegayer says:

    I love it!! And I would love to try it but one trip to the barn and it would be chipped after mucking and doing buckets and grooming.
    And it’s OK about the DIY’s. You just take it easy and enjoy that awesome manicure!

  37. great now i got to go get matte topcoat.

  38. Thera says:

    Love the manicure, but I am the same way, I love to look/feel girly, but usually don’t have the time, can’t be bothered or it doesn’t last due to the picking, digging, dishes etc.

  39. Ev says:

    Really nice nails. We should start a “how long before Karen does stuff and wrecks her manicure” contest! Here’s my dollar, and I say 40 hours!

  40. Barbie says:

    Yes, and you did that “cure a yeast infection with a frozen yogurt tampon” so well! I think that was one of my favorite posts….that and how to open a package of spaghetti!

    I totally love the matte vs gloss look a lot! Not so much the quilted one ….mostly because when I wreak it 10 minutes after it’s done I won’t feel like tearing someones head off part! Which is always my dilemma too!

    Is that color you have there brown or black…can’t quite tell. Looks maybe dark brown?

  41. Danica says:

    Where did you buy the matte black polish???????? By the way, I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who can’t have nail polish last longer than a day.

    • Karen says:

      The matte is just a top coat Danica. Most nail lines now offer a matte top coat as well as a shiny one. You just paint it over whatever nailpolish you have and it turns it matte! ~ karen

      • magali says:

        you can also turn a regular top coat into a matt one by mixing in a little bit of corn starch :)

        also Karen, I started panicking halfway through the sentence about there being no more DIY on cooking! I thought you had gotten sick of doing step by step pictures. I should know better than to react before I finish paragraphs on this blog!

  42. Susan Preston says:

    I use my hands and have a manicure! Over 8 years ago I started getting gel nails where a bio gel is painted on my nails and the polish is applied over that. The polish stays great for three or more weeks unless I stick my hands in paint thinners or turpentine. Chicken crap doesn’t affect them. Even worse is cleaning out my rain gutters. All that does is stain my cuticles because I live under horrid black walnut trees. But my nails look fabulous almost all the time. In my business I like to have halfways decent looking hands and neat polished nails help that. Besides it forces me to sit for an hour every two weeks while somebody else does something for me…..

  43. dana studer says:

    LOVE IT!! Where did you get matte nail polish?! I have never seen it. My nails are cut as short as I can get them. If they are any longer I fear theres nasty bacteria under there. ew..

  44. Shavavian says:

    1. My first thought after reading was, “this is hilarious. Who is this? I need to subscribe.” The last part “join me tomorrow when we look at each other”, pure comedy. B. I LOVE the matte look. I never paint my nails for the same reasons you don’t, but want to. That matte look would be perfect and classy for me. Thanx!!

  45. Valerie says:

    Your french black manicure is quite attractive.

    My manicure story:
    I once bought all of the fixings to do a proper french manicure. I recall the entire box of fixings as being rather expensive. Everything came together with a lovely picture on the front of a completed Genuine French Manicure. Unfortunately I was unable to get the white nail end tips to resemble the way they appeared in the picture in the instructions utilizing their product to create the white tips. As you already are aware, I am a fan of “white out,” the typewriter correction fluid. ( your previous salad bottle entry) I used the white out for the nail end tips and the finished manicure now looked exactly like the instruction pictures. White out even comes with its own brush.
    The pursuit of beauty knows no limits.

  46. Toronto Boy says:

    Quick! call the internet police! Someone has hijacked/hacked Karen’s account and is posting girly manicure tutorials (Yuck, yuck, and double yuck!)! Don’t chu worry Karen! I got your back sister!

    (((Grabs power drill and begins hunting for the girly hijacker!)))


  47. Amie Mason says:

    I’ve been a nail-biter since I was a kid. But having (adult) braces for the past year my nails have shot off and I am loving actually having feminine nails for once in my life. I am now addicted to Butter nail polish. I’ve given the quilted look a good and I found electrical tape works the best – but you need to leave the base colour for 24 hours before trying the pattern.
    Love the matte vs gloss – will be giving this a go asap.

    • Karen says:

      It’s good because it’s quick to do so if you wreck it you don’t have a heart attack and swear at everyone and everything for existing. Well, you might do that but it isn’t completely warranted. ~ karen!

  48. Raymonde says:

    My nails look like crap, they always do and even if I work hard at looking as cute as I can, I don’t care!
    The few times I wore nail polish, I had the strange feeling that my fingertips were really heavy…
    I also felt like I couldn’t do anything with my hands… No scraping at paint with my thumb, no digging in the dirt without gloves, no picking at something stuck, you know what I’m saying…
    Karen, how is it even remotely possible to do anything with a manicure? Inquiring minds want to know! ;-)

    • Karen says:

      Oh it’s not. It’s not remotely possible. This is my way of getting out of working for as long as the manicure lasts. :) ~ karen

  49. Pati Gulat says:

    It looks great, Karen, but the REAL question is what do the chickens think about it ? After all, it’s THEIR opinions that REALLY matter and that is as it should be. ;)

  50. TC says:

    Nice job Karen. Looks great. Enjoy being extra girly. The coop cam would be handy now.

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