Nail services have always been a mixed bag of satisfaction. Nail extensions provide flawlessness and durability, but at a relatively high cost with necessary scheduled upkeep. (Plus, emery burns are no fun, and the feeling of newly acrylic-less nails is pretty shiver-inducing.) Natural nail manicures feel pampering and look good for the first 30 seconds, but if you’ve ever nicked a freshly painted nail fishing out your payment method or car keys, you know they have their drawbacks, too.
When I first heard of UV gel manicures, I was skeptical. The durability of artificial nails combined with the understated look of a standard manicure and a relatively low price? Is there a bridge in Brooklyn you’d like to sell me? Still, curiosity won out, and I was soon under the lamp of a local nail den to test out CND Shellac. The nail tech filed and shaped my abused nails nicely, and launched straight into the painting part of the process.
A coat of clear was applied to each hand, then they were set to cure under UV lamps. I selected the dusty pink Rose Bud, which was applied in individual coats before a final clear coat. I grilled the tech about rumors I’d gleaned from the internet during the 30 minute service. Removal was easy, she said, and there would be no damage to the natural nail as with acrylics. I wasn’t routed to the dryer station either- as soon as my hands left the lamps, the hot towel and massage portion of the manicure occurred. This was my first clue that the hype was believable- nary a dent or a bubble appeared in my vinyl-shiny nails, and the tech said I could freely touch things, wash dishes, clean the bathroom, or change my oil.
On to the real test- durability. As the week wore on, I glovelessly exposed my lovely manicure to every indignity I could. I clawed boxes open, scoured the bathtub, soaked them in water- no damage! My nails were as glorious on day 8 as they were immediately after the polish was applied. Inevitably, my nails grew in and I planned to get a new color, but a blizzard walloped the New York area, and I was required to remove the polish at home.
Using a basic acetone solution, I soaked each nail for 1-3 minutes. An orange stick cleared the polish with little effort, and my nails felt normal immediately. The advent of CND Shellac and similar products is so exciting- if you’ve found manicures and painted nails to be gorgeous but incompatible with your lifestyle, there’s finally an option to sport gorgeous, strong and perfectly styled nails. Prices vary, but the service was $20 in my area.
Have you tried the CND Shellac or similar nail services? Has your experience measured up?