Friday, January 14, 2011

The Unchippable Manicure

For some inexplicable reason, I cannot keep a manicure for more than a day: I must be operating heavy tools or doing some serious manual labor in my sleep, because inevitably my nails become chipped and sad looking within hours of a manicure.  Recently my fashionista friend Alisa introduced me to the UV gel manicure at the Pyara Aveda Salon in Harvard Square, and I swear it's changed my life.

Shellac manicure, day 3

The gel or shellac manicure is like a regular manicure in almost every respect, except they use a special polish by CND and "cure" the polish in between coats under a UV light.  The polish dries and hardens, and you can walk out of the salon and go about your day immediately without waiting for additional drying time or worrying about chipping.  (I know!  It's totally mindblowing.)

Day 8

In fact, the manicure is supposed to last for two weeks.  Since I was traveling, I actually had mine on for thirty days(!), and with the exception of minor peeling on three fingers, the polish was still on.  Of course, your nails grow, and at some point it starts looking a little weird that you have polish only on the top 2/3 of your nails.

Day 30

When it's time to remove the polish, you're supposed to return to the salon to have the polish removed.  They  soak your nails in acetone for about ten minutes and buff them slightly to remove the polish.  (I watched the removal process, and it didn't seem so complicated as to warrant my paying someone to do it, so I might try do it myself next time.  We'll see.)  CND says that the polish removal process doesn't damage your nails (the way removing acrylics, for ex., will), but I'm still planning on taking a break between manicures.

New manicure, day 1

The main drawback to the shellac manicure is its cost.  It's $45 for the application, and $15 for the removal.  For this reason, I probably won't be getting another manicure until I have some sort of special event.  Then again, it lasts so much longer than a regular manicure that perhaps the cost difference becomes negligible.  Another negative is that CND has a fairly limited array of colors right now, though I've heard they will be expanding their product line shortly.

Now for the positives: The polish really does dry immediately under the UV lamp, and you can put on your gloves, rummage through your purse, etc., etc. as soon as the manicure's done.  And the polish lasts for so long that it's completely cured my bad habit of biting my nails.  Finally, as someone who equates manicures with fanciness, I no longer feel like a goblin when I go out in public.

Have you tried the shellac manicure?  (I heard OPI has one too.)

P.S. I think I need to moisturize my hands more. My knuckles look like pug faces.


lavenderpug January 14, 2011 at 10:35 AM  

i've heard of this and it sounds awesome. the immediate drying is a huge plus. wow, it is pricey though! i may have to try it anyway, though...just once...right? love your engagement ring, by the way!

lobster January 14, 2011 at 12:21 PM  

I am definitely intrigued by this. I've seen the OPI gel mani jars in the nail place I go to and I love the idea of long lasting and already dry when you leave!!

charms January 14, 2011 at 4:17 PM  

i've had these done a few times and i do love them. although i dont' know what it is but mine last for just under two weeks before one of my nails starts to sorta peel. i have a bad habit of picking at my nails so then i rip the gel off and its bad news bears for me.

but overall, i do agree that they stay on for a decent amount of time, the color selection kinda sucks (I've tried OPI and then shellac) but it dries immediately so I don't instantly mess up my manicure. I like the dark color on you btw - I've been too chicken to get an actual color so I always go neutral.

Mrs. Hot Cocoa January 14, 2011 at 8:37 PM  

@ lavenderpug: Thanks! I was just thinking I should probably wash my engagement ring. Looks dirty. Man, even with the manicure my hands still look like a hobo's.

@ lobster: I heard the OPI version is thicker, goopier; CND's is a bit more refined. I have CND on now with the OPI clear coat over it, so we'll see whether it lasts longer.

@ charms: My husband hated the vampy red, so I got a French this time. Have you tried layering the colors? That's what the salon suggested as a way of expanding the color range while awaiting more colors.

Sara January 21, 2011 at 10:46 AM  

I love the look, I miss my French tips! And not to be a buzzkill, but be careful, my dermatologist recently asked if I get my nails done--which I don't anymore. Apparently derm docs are finding women with skin cancer under their nail beds because they sit under the UV drying stations that are so popular now! :( Bummer, I know. Makes sense though. Then again, a lot of people tan and they know the risks--but I didn't know if you knew that about the UV drying stations or not.

Mrs. Hot Cocoa January 21, 2011 at 10:25 PM  

@ sara: I hadn't heard that specifically, but I'm not surprised. I feel like even if the UV's not bad for you, the acetone soak must be, right?

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