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Put Down The Nail File and Step Away From My Nails!! A Gel Manicure Nightmare

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Perfectly Imperfect Beauty: Put Down The Nail File and Step Away From My Nails!! A Gel Manicure Nightmare

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Put Down The Nail File and Step Away From My Nails!! A Gel Manicure Nightmare

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.



At January 29, 2012 at 9:34 PM , Blogger Sarah said...

I'm in the Vancouver area, do you have a list of reliable salons?


At January 29, 2012 at 9:43 PM , Blogger Lydia said...

Hi Sarah! I go to ProfessioNail in Coquitlam Centre. A friend recommended it and it was worth the drive since they only charge $35 and the manicure is authentic. I had a horrible experience at TJ Nails so I would avoid that franchise. I know that Eccotique Spa also does OPI gel manicures but they are quite expensive at $60. Let me know if you hear of any other good salons :)

At January 30, 2012 at 8:50 AM , Blogger Alice said...

I have always heard that they just soak off the polish in acetone. What are they supposed to use?

At January 30, 2012 at 11:25 AM , Blogger Lydia said...

They are supposed to dampen individual cotton swabs with acetone and wrap each finger individually with foil. Then you place your hand under the light for 10 minutes. Then they can buff off the polish. The amount of acetone used is minimal

At January 30, 2012 at 8:27 PM , Blogger Alice said...

Gotcha. I was confused about what else they would use other than acetone.

At January 31, 2012 at 11:30 AM , Blogger happymomlori said...

Ohhh! I'm going to try this! I guess if you really like a polish you could fill the growth and keep the same color?

At January 31, 2012 at 6:04 PM , Blogger Lydia said...

You definitely could. It would be easy to fix the space left from nail regrowth

At May 1, 2012 at 6:30 AM , Anonymous glass nail file said...

I recently started spending more time on my nails, had to find the proper tools for it, thanks for the tips!

At June 28, 2012 at 7:39 AM , Anonymous said...

I would raid your nail polish collection in a heartbeat! I always look forward to seeing what you're wearing :)


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