Wednesday, May 11, 2011

My first gel nails

I'm not big on manicures - it seems like a waste of money to me, especially when the polish chips off within a few days. And I almost always end up smudging or messing up the polish before I even leave the salon. If I paint my nails, I do it myself, which is sort of infrequently. Lately I've gotten into doing my nails more often, and I've been using ridiculous colors (like purple or sparkly blue) in the spirit of spring.

But last Friday, my mom and I decided to treat ourselves to gel manicures! She had recently gotten them done and really liked the results. They're not artificial nails, but a special polish that hardens with UV light. This technology has been around in Japan forever and they have super cool designs and colors (gradations! sparkles!). I was always tempted to get my nails done while I lived in Japan, but it was rather expensive and I never had a good enough reason to get a fancy manicure.

It's only recently been available around here, and our local salon only has about 10 colors to choose from. I chose the "strawberry smoothie" color, a pale but shimmery pink. They apply a thick clear coat, followed by two coats of color, each coat treated with the UV light for a minute or two. The result is a super smooth and shiny manicure with no drying time - it hardens instantly and doesn't chip! Because of the thick gel layer, your nails also feel harder and stronger.

It's been almost a week and my nails look as good as when I stepped out of the salon. You can see a tiny space by the cuticle where they're growing out (my nails grow FAST - both a blessing and a curse) but it's not really noticeable.

I do like the look and feel of the nails, but I think it will just be a thing I do for special occasions and not something I'll do regularly. It's not exactly cheap at $32 (plus tip), although I had a $5 off coupon. And because regular nail polish remover doesn't affect them, they need to be removed at the salon - not a problem if you're getting them re-done, but having to make a special trip to have them taken off isn't really a commitment I want to make!

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