Thanks to Laura of Buy Now, Blog Later (formerly known as Lollipop26), I have found the solution to my nail polish application nightmares. I have given up trying to apply my own polish and have surrendered to the fact that a four year old has more precision with the brush than I do. Enter gel polish manicures. That sound my friends, is the rejoicing of the beauty angels singing a Hallelujah chorus.
Because there is always a “but”…
If you can find an honest and reliable nail salon, then the gel manicure experience is really a no-brainer. BUT, to find such a place will take research, patience, and-let me repeat-RESEARCH. Let mine be a cautionary tale that you do not repeat. Really, it was quite silly of me not looking in to spotting the fake gel manicures from the the legitimate ones.
I had my first gel manicure right before Christmas at a popular local salon. The customer service was severely lacking but the technicien was diligent (if not a little rough) and the gel polish was applied with precision. I picked a colour from the Gelish range and she used that brand for all three steps. My manicure lasted for 3 weeks before it needed to be redone.
I returned to the same salon in early January and decided to try the OPI AXXIUM Gel System. This was the first time I had the gel polish removed and right away red flags started to fly in my mind. I knew that there was a specific process that needed to happen but the more I questioned the technicien, the more she pretended not to understand me or speak English (even though she had a full conversation with her client before me). She filled a bowl with clear liquid from a squirt bottle and told me to soak my fingers up to the knuckle. When I asked what the liquid was she ignore me, grabbed my hand and plopped it in the bowl. Immediately my paper cut started to sting and I realized she had my wallowing in ACETONE! Then she impatiently began scratching at my nail surface with a cuticle cleaner and nail file until she had chipped away all the polish. WRONG WRONG WRONG. She used a Gelish Base and Top Coat with the OPI polish which should never be done because the two are not formulated to work together. The result was a manicure that was murky and lasted a week before showing surface scratches.
I so regret not getting up the minute she brushed off my apprehension. After doing some online research (I highly recommend the article from Bella Sugar), I found another nail salon that knows what they are doing, is extremely welcoming and professional, and will talk you through each step. And to add insult to injury, they only charge $35 versus $45 at the salon of horror.
PROS Of Gel Manicures
-Manicure looks fresh and perfect without knicks or scratches for at least two weeks
-No fake nails required because it is applied directly over your own nail
-Protects and strengthens your nails allowing them to grow at an equal rate
-Great range of colours and finishes
CONS of Gel Manicures
-There are a lot of nail salons that aren’t properly certified or trained but are still offering the service
-Huge cost discrepancy between nail salons. A true gel manicure can cost anywhere between $35 and $60 dollars
-Frequency of re-application dependent on how quickly your nails grow and how long you like them
-Your regular nail polishes will be neglected for at least two weeks
-Timely: removal and re-application takes approximately 45 minutes
Bottom Line: I love the low maintenance and stress free care of gel manicures and will continue to frequent my new salon. I have certainly learned my lesson.