If you’re going to remove your acrylic nails yourself, follow these tips. (Dreamstime/TNS)

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: How can I remove my acrylic nails without tearing up my own poor nails underneath. I have 1/4 inch of my own nails showing and with nail salons closed where I live, it is time to do it myself? — Genevieve J.

Dear Genevieve: For acrylic, gel or powder dipped nails:

—Get yourself a nail file 180 grit or less. The lower the number, the higher the grit. (I just ordered some 100s for a few bucks on Amazon because I’m confronting the very same DIY nails problem.)

—File the surface of the nail to get rid of as much topcoat as you can.

—Use your COVID-19 face mask so you don’t have to breathe in the powdery acrylic that is now flying around, and do this over a towel because it’s messy.

—Soak a cotton ball, cotton pad (or paper towel corner) with a generous dose of acetone. (I got mine at the drug store.)

—Place soaked pad on nail and wrap individually in aluminum foil.

—Wait 15 minutes. Scrape off the softened acrylic/gel/gunk with an orange stick or the like. If necessary, repeat using the same foil for another 10-15 minutes. (Option: Soak nails in a bowl of acetone.)

—Apply cuticle oil (optional).

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I have a white faux fur coat that got dirty when I moved. Unfortunately, I put the coat in a moving box that apparently had dust in it. I took it to the dry cleaners to see if they could clean it but they were unable to. The “fur” of the coat is 85% acrylic and 15% polyester. The lining is 100% polyester. I’d like to clean on my own if I can, without damaging the coat. Thoughts? — Maureen O.

Dear Maureen: You should have good results if you decide to machine-wash it. Here’s the conservative approach: Use the gentle cycle with cold water and detergent designed for “delicates.” Always hang to dry. However, warm wash with your regular detergent should do the job. Acrylics tend to produce static, so fabric softener would be a good addition. Pre-treat tough spots with stain remover. If you’re really conservative, there’s always hand-washing in the tub with “delicates” detergent or — what I use for cashmere — baby shampoo. Press out the water (don’t wring), and hang to dry.

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: You keep saying that capris and pedal pushers — and the current favorite wide-legged ones we used to call gaucho pants — look bad on everyone. But, many, many skirts are that same length! Are we to start wearing only mini skirts or ankle length skirts? — Marilynn M.

Dear Marilynn: Absolutely not. On some women, minis or ankle length would look just as unflattering as capris, which come to midcalf. For some reason — I’m not sure what it is (readers, have you some thoughts on this?) — a skirt of the same length as capris doesn’t have the same effect of making the legs look stumpy.

On the issue of capris, here’s another voice: Mike R. says, “If my wife sees this, I will be in more trouble than usual. I offer a solely gender-based view. Unless you are 6 feet tall, they just don’t work. Optically, they cut off your legs.”

Here’s Adele H.’s suggestion: “My solution is men’s shorts. I absolutely love them. They come in longer lengths, have decent pockets that actually fit hands or phones and don’t taper to the leg, which I personally feel is unattractive. I don’t buy women’s shorts any more!”

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: We received a wedding invitation stating “black tie optional” on it. It will be out of town. What can we wear to sort of fit in without a tuxedo, etc.? — Julie L.

Dear Julie: Thank you for your optimism that the event will go on as scheduled. We could all use a big dose of that right now. It could be a very long while before anyone is comfortable hosting or attending a big wedding celebration. To answer your question though, “black tie optional” for tuxless men is a dark suit and tie. For women, you have the option of a long gown or cocktail dress.

Angelic Readers

Phyllis P.’s hair salon came up with a COVID-19 ‘color your roots’ solution that other salons might want to consider: “They began selling the premixed color that stylists use on their clients curbside. Included were developer, shampoo, conditioner, application brush and gloves, along with directions. I was afraid to try it, but my husband and I got through it just fine.”

Reader Rant

From Carolyn R: “Grammar precision! Quit using the word ‘quarantine’ incorrectly. You’re not under quarantine. You’re under a stay-at-home order. You’re not quarantined unless you are recovering from COVID-19, showing symptoms or might have been exposed to someone who had it. Stop making this sound worse than it already is, which is bad enough. Not being able to visit my hairdresser is the worst — not because of my hair, but because my salon owner may very well lose her small business if this situation doesn’t ease soon. COVID-19 is a dreadful illness for a tiny fraction of the population, but it is potentially disastrous for millions of small-business owners.”


Send your questions and rants — on style, shopping, fashion, makeup and beauty — to answerangelellen@gmail.com.

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