Monthly Archives: July 2012

Let’s Explore Your Talons

Kim Daly Esquire, MAa) and Dr. Ste Blau, PhDb)

Willoughby Talon Research Institute, Brooklyn, NY 11237

In which we discuss products and productivity.

I. Introduction

Nearly six months ago, I landed the coveted position of research assistant to the ruthlessly awesome Dr. Ste Blau, PhD. We’ve worked tirelessly, sometimes late into the night, sometimes through the weekends, burning the midnight Netflix instant queue, to make headway in the most cutting-edge talon research. Many beauty supply stores have been visited. Some dreams have been broken. A table cloth was ruined in a Silkwood-esque toxic spill.

Yep, shit got real.

Yet much hope has been forged in this labor-intensive half-year. Because in the awesomeness research system, talon based research is considered especially heinous. In New York City, the dedicated scientists who investigate these vicious talons are members of an elite squad known as the Willoughby Talon Research Institute. These are their stories.

II. Experimental  Procedures

  A. Foundations – the cracks of which my fingertips are holding onto.

No matter where you find inspiration or learn technique, in talon research you have exactly one best friend: Sally Hansen. Girlfriend knows. You might be tempted by OPIs flashier polishes and clever copy, and in some cases you should be, but Sally really rocks our world in terms of basics.

I’m not really a belieber in nail hardeners, but this one does the trick as a base coat. The quick-dry top coat is NECESSARY. It’s chip resistant, and

really the only way to avoid pillow stains/marks that magically appear even though you waited 39084598 hours for your nails to dry before going to bed. Necessary. Unfortunately, it can goop up before the bottle is done, causing air bubbles and general grossness, so seal tight and replace often.

  B. Methods

Most of the styles shown below can be achieved with a steady hand, but tools are occasionally called for:

Pictured, clockwise from left:

-Seven-step file – for when extensive filing is needed.

-Loose-leaf reinforcements – for half-moon manicures, watermelon rinds, etc.

-Four-step file – for touch ups between manicures.

-French-tip brush, with pen – for french tips, reverse french, stripes, rain drops that keep falling on your head, and special designs if y’all are artsy.

-French-tip brush, sans pen – the pen doesn’t necessarily do it for me, so I usually defer to the brush-only version. This brand has also been popping up increasingly in drug stores, so points for convenience.

Not pictured, clockwise from the top of my head:

-Tape – for french manicures with regular brushes (I hear rubber bands work as well). Use top coat before applying!

-Sponges – for sponging.

-Q-tips – for clean up and because they’re awesome.

Other than that, we work with what we have. It’s not much,

but actually it is. That’s a lot of fucking nail polish. Now, let’s result and discuss.

III. Results and Discussion

  A. Roy G. Biv

Warm rainbow

Cool rainbow

Reading rainbow


B. Maths (specifically geometry)

Luxurious golden blood-mink

Blurry neon-pastel

Airport flag laundromat pastel

Color block party BYOB

  C. Botany


Citrullus lanatus


  D. Unbreak my heart

Shatter, X-Men

Shatter, OPI

Sally Hansen Crackle probably works just as well, for a better price, but the OPI gold is sparklier. Henceforth, vis-a-vis, thus.

  E. Caviar (and miller high life)

This shit is expensive!

$25 at Sephora!1 What am I , made of money? The answer is no, I’m not.

Luckily, one hot and sunny Sunday, during a particularly successful beauty store run, we found THIS

Check out that price tag, amirite!? And they’re real beauts, too

Very pearly.

  F. (for FINALLLLLY) 4th of July Amrika Rilness

As y’all may know I am a PA-TRI-OT, and as such did it up as usual for the 4th with some Ril Amrikan Pearlz

Yes, but do you have a flag? Sure do, boo.

Also btdubs FYI, I was wearing this

If you were wondering, and I’m sure you were, yes, the pattern on the pants is tiny horses.

The Dr. also whipped up something special for our nation’s birfday:

Implicitly reminiscent of gymnastics leotards, a clear nod to the 2012 London Olympics. Go Team USA!! Cheerios!!!!

  G. (for: gotcha, there’s one more!, galaxy, galactica, glandular, globule, and gefilte fish) The (s)Kim Milky Way2

Adorning my nails as I type this, I can safely say that it is my favorite manicure ever of all time. Really just tops.

IV. Conclusions and Further Research

Recently, I’ve read a couple of articles on the popularity of nail art, and general consensus suggests that – you guessed it – the deadbeat economy is to thank for the recent surge. It makes sense; in New York specifically rents and student loans are skyrocketing, starting salaries are decreasing, and the city can only think of solutions like this

Smaller and smaller boards for that game night favorite “Small Mouse or Large Roach (Urban Bunny Urban Bunny Urban Bunny)?” Apparently, despite the dearth of economic opportunities, my generation continues to buy more and more luxury items. iPhone? Check. $500 Chanel flats? Not so much. $26 Chanel nail color?

Yes please. (It’s even cheaper when it’s a gift!) The heights you can reach with nail art far surpasses those that can be obtained with apparal, especially when you’re on a budget and in deep debt. To paraphrase the great philosopher Morissette, “It’s like meeting the man of your dreams/and then meeting [a man with a good job who treats you way better].”

Evidence abounds, just check out this lady. Or these gals

Everybody’s talkin’ bout talons.  So where do we go from here? I come to you with open arms.

Future experiments/objectives:

(i) Leopard print.

(ii) Cupcakes.

(iii) Gel manicures with bows, dangly things, crazy prints, etc.

(iv) Prenatal vitamins.

They’re supposedly good for hair, nails, and removing unwanted Brooklyn Ds from your apartment/life.

(v) Be more like Rihanna.

Talon-wise and every day in every way, obvi.

SCIENCE! ‘Til next time, loves.


I would like to thank the Dr. for taking a chance on an unknown kid.


a) Master of Awesome, School of Soft Knocks, The Internet
b) Phly & Dope  Talon Specialist, The University Formerly Known as New Hebrides, Vanuatu


1. Sephora Nails. 1000 Ways to Get Polished. Sephora University Press, New York, NY, 2012

2. Rookie Mag. “Galaxy Nails.” 

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