One day I decided to paint my nails all by myself. I must have been around seven. Mother dearest was in the shower, or indisposed in some such manner, when I slopped a big messy blob all over my fingers. Darn! I thought. 'Oh well, No matter, I can just clean it off with the special polish remover.' Just as my tiny fingers had unscrewed the lid, the same fingers fumbled and dropped the entire bottle spilling it all over my mothers dressing table! Disaster. Nail polish remover in the 80s was practically paint stripper. The dresser had to be repainted and I was banned from painting my nails for quite some time.
At 13 in 1996, things were getting a bit more fun in the nail enamel department. Blue. Deep metallic blue. I discovered it at the supermarket and nagged my mother's ass off until she bought it for me. The next day at school all were in awe of my new steely blue claws; that was until I was forced to chop them off with a rusty pair of nail clippers, on the side of the netball court after failing the refs nail length test. These days, I probably would have just left the game!
Nowadays there are no limits to the prowess of nail art. Anything is possible. I have an ever growing collection of nail polish. I keep it locked up tight in a pink purse; though inevitably my little boys still find it on occasion. And if they have been very good indeed, they get to paint their cute little cuticles with my polish. Yep, boys like polish too.
I'd been hearing so many rave reviews about the wonders of the gel manicure, that it got me thinking it was about time I tried this trend out for myself. If you, like me are yet to try out the gel option yourself then let me fill you in. It looks just like normal nail polish. But unlike normal nail polish, each coat is baked under special light (sometimes UV, sometimes LED), this makes it super duper strong and durable. Instead of lasting maybe a couple of days at a stretch, this stuff is good for at least 10 days. Even longer if you are gentle on you hands. It also dries straight away, so no gingerly pinking up your purse afterwards trying desperately not to smudge it all.
I mosied on down to my local manicurist. I'd discovered this new nail bar by accident. I usually go to my faithful Asian nail bar. It's nice and cheap and apart from the constant upselling, they've always been good to me. When I discovered this new nail bar offered gel manicures for the same price as my regular, I decided, why not give the new kids in town a go?
I sat and soaked my hands in the relaxing warm water and not long after was met by a lovely young girl. She started chatting away comfortably. It was nice. But after a while I remembered why I liked my sweet Chinese nail technician. She doesn't talk much. I'm a silent kind of person. I like quiet and I hate uncomfortable small talk. I realised how much I loved this trait in my old manicurist. Sure, it could be that her English isn't great and I don't speak Chinese, but I like to think that she gets that I come to the nail bar to chillax. Not to babble.
I also noticed that I don't like sitting for too long. It gets uncomfortable. I like laying in the massage chairs whilst getting a pedicure. That I can handle. But I do not like sitting, crooked over in a hard chair for 45 minutes getting my nails painted.
Once it was all done it did look good. I went for a hot pink with a shimmery sparkle over top. It looked good but as I looked down at my new glossy nails I couldn't help thinking that it didn't look $50 worth of good. I figured though that perhaps time would be the true test.
After a few days I had my first nail related accident. I was scratching paint off of the dining room table when it happened. My left index figure caught a knobbly bit in the table and flapped right up. I shrieked and wailed about my poor nail until I realised that I had become one of those girls who shrieks and wails over their nails. I studied the damage. The whole bottom corner had flapped up but it was still intact. So I grabbed some clear top coat and stuck that puppy back down. This worked for a while though I knew it wasn't perfect so it bothered me.
After about 10 days though, it was happening more and more. So many nails were flapping that I couldn't keep up. By day 14 I got sick of it and ripped them all off. I know. You are not supposed to do that cus it is bad for your nails, but I enjoyed it.
One issue I had with gel nails was that my nails grow ridiculously fast. So fast that by day 10 I had such extreme nail regrowth that it was starting to look a little odd. Like a bazaar nail ombre trend.
So what are my findings? Well considering that in the 9 days they stayed on well, my nail enamel sustained gardening, painting, playing with play-dough, climbing trees and cleaning, I think it did rather well. They really do not chip at all, which is good. But considering that a gel manicure is around $50 a pop, I can't say that it is worth it economically compared to the DIY option. If you are someone who gets a manicure regularly, then you are definitely better of paying the extra for gel. But if like me, you are fine with doing it at home, then stick at it. It is so much more affordable, and if you do it regularly enough you get pretty good at it! But if you're a real polish junky, you could do you own gel polish at home. There are great DIY kits you can buy now with everything you need! Here's one on Amazon that comes with free shipping! Bargain!