I never painted my nails in high school. I was in a ton of art classes and my nails got jacked up all the time, so it just wasn't worth it. The only times my nails were ever painted were during prom, homecoming, and my senior pictures.
Pretty much immediately upon my high school graduation, I became a nail polish junkie. I have a whole box full of polishes, many of which I have only used once or twice before I've moved on to the next color that I just HAD TO HAVE. It's a bit ridiculous, really. My mom thinks I have a serious problem.
Whether it's a real problem or not, I've always justified it because I'm not spending the money on real manicures. I've always just bought the polish and done it myself, because real manis cost too much and take too much time and aint nobody got time fo that!!
My dear friend Alli, who is getting married exactly one month and one day from today, took me to get "practice manis" for her wedding. While I've never done the mani thing, I do strongly believe that professionals should take care of you on the Big Day - you're going to have a ton of pictures taken of your hands, so it had best be done right!
Alli had heard great things about no-chip gel manicures. I had too, and since her wedding is on a 5 day cruise, a lasting mani is pretty crucial.
We went for it, and...
Holy crud, guys.
The picture was taken 3 days after I got it done, which may not seem like a big deal, but in my line of work (fashion retail in a dry, woody work environment) a manicure not chipping after half of one day is a big deal, and this hasn't chipped at all. I told a friend that if the nail-killer that is Anthropologie didn't destroy it, nothing would!!
I'm not going to pretend to understand the science of gel manicures - I've looked up a thousand different things online and nothing really has explained to me how or why it works. Our process involved 2 different base coats, 2 to 3 coats of the actual polish, and a finishing top coat. We held our nails under a UV light for a few minutes between EVERY COAT. When we were done, a shine spray was applied, rubbed into the nails (which blew my mind...who knew you could RUB A NAIL right after a manicure??) and we were done! They were dry and ready to go immediately after leaving the salon and there was none of the traditional manicure "24 hour drying time."
Overall, I'm extremely impressed. I will obviously be getting my nails done again before Alli's wedding next month, and I'm strongly considering getting another gel mani and pedi before my trip to Brazil this summer.
I *may* be a convert. I've heard the removal process is horrifying, but it may or may not be worth it. I'm definitely interested in trying an at-home version, too.
We got our manicures at :
Nail & Spa
265 W Peace Rd.
Sycamore, IL 60178
We walked right in, the ladies were really attentive, and we were in and out in half an hour. The overall experience totally changed the way I think about manicures - for a wedding (or for whenever) it's definitely worth a try!
This photo was taken more than 3.5 weeks after I originally got the mani. Can you believe it?! NO CHIPS WHATSOEVER. I was seriously amazed. Yes, there was a ton of outgrowth at the cuticle, and I worked pretty hard to maintain my cuticles so they didn't look gross. Really, cuticle outgrowth doesn't bother me as long as the ends don't chip, and they clearly did not. This was also after I filed my nails down a bit because super long nails just don't work for me, and the fact that nothing chipped even after filing some of the nail/polish of was impressive.
I did take of the polish at the 4 week mark, and I have some advice: FOLLOW DIRECTIONS.
A video tutorial recommended soaking the polish in pure acetone for about 10 minutes and then peeling back/using a nail groomer to push off the polish. I, like an idiot, did not do this. Some of the bits on the edges were peeling slightly, and I figured I would be able to just tug and peel back the polish without using acetone. I ended up peeling off parts of the top layer of my nails and I had to sand down other parts, and it was just bad news. If I had followed directions it probably would have been fine, I just thought I knew better.
Note to self: Jordan does not ever know better.
This was the shade I ended up going with for Alli's wedding. I'm mildly obsessed with it. I might need to keep it in mind for when I get married... ;)