I have never been a “girly” girl – there was never any nail polish in our house growing up. It wasn’t a thing we were into. I am terrible at nail painting due to a lack of experience, talent, and skill. I probably could become good at it with a lot of time, effort, and learning to use my left hand as well as I use my right hand. But realistically that is unlikely to happen.
In late 2016 I was having a Good Nail patch – thanks to my daily hair skin and nails vitamins, they were growing stronger and healthier than ever before. I was using Hard As Nails by Sally Hansen which I would paint on every few days to make the nails shiny and slightly more protected from breakage.
I had wanted to try getting a proper shellac – or gel – manicure for a while but I was very wary. I had heard tales of woe, of unsterilised equipment, of fungal nail infections UGH. I did some serious research and asked around, and one local place kept popping up in the conversations. After a bit of umm-ing and ahh-ing, I bit the bullet and made an appointment.
So what is a shellac manicure? This excellent post tells the story of shellac better than I probably could. The photos do not really do these justice, it is hard to get a good photo of these nails.
To summarize it quickly for you, after each coat of nail polish is applied, your nails “cure” with the help of a UV lamp. When you walk out of the salon you do not have to worry about wet nail polish.
The other benefits include much stronger nails and the polish lasts for 2-3 weeks – and sometimes 4 depending on what you get up to hand wise. Since I started getting the gel nails I have not had a single nail break, and I don’t baby them, they do what they have always done.
I have occasionally done a bit of damage to the manicure but you have to work pretty hard to damage it. Most times when I have damaged a nail it has involved metal coathangers, the ones you use to hang up jeans etc. Gel works for me but it does not work for everyone. In particular it would not work well if one had their hands in water a lot.
Until I did this, I never realised how having great looking nails can improve your mood. It makes sense now, given that during any day you look at your hands more than any other body part.
I prefer the French tip style manicure because if you have colour down to the bottom of the nail you notice a gap as your nails grow. But the French manicures are no longer just white tips, as you see from my many examples here. You can choose a colour, you can add some glitter on the top, and probably my favourite manicure so far was black tips with red holographic glitter.
I also loved the ones with electric blue and the pastel but very sparkly green. One appointment I arrived early and sat down with the colour charts and made a memo in my phone of all the colours I wanted for future manicures, so I usually know before I arrive what colour I want to try this time. I’m thinking gold is coming up this week but The Other Half loved the black with red glitter, so I see a repeat of that in my near future, as well.
My manicurist thinks I am strange because I always ask her to trim the nails back, she said everyone else wants to keep the length. I don’t need my nails to be long. I just want them to be neat, shiny, and sparkly. If I let them get too long I begin to have trouble typing.