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Monday, November 14, 2011

Gelish'd and Shellac'd: 1 week later

I admit, I was afraid of the gel mani...

Last year around Christmas, I visited my favorite local nail salon on a trip back to NJ; one of the first salons to provide the gel-mani service. I won't say which brand of product they used, but the process ended up being eerily similar to getting acrylic nails which I am not crazy about in there first place, but the promise of 2 weeks of non-stop nail color sounded so good, I just couldn't resist! My nail technician drilled, buffed, primed, and polished. In the end my nails were a little thick and the color was a bit transparent, but they were polished "for 2 weeks" which was great considering all the chicken cutlets and rice balls I had to bread before the big day. Awesome, until a few days later when a big chunk of nail color came off. Awww crap and Wow...there was quite a bit of damage to that nail.

When I got back to Southern California, I had the rest of the color taken off. It took what seemed like forever to remove it, and thanks to an overzealous nail technician, I lost a big chunk of my thumbnail, ending up with a hole clear through to the nail bed. The damage didn't grow out until May! Yeah, never again.

A few months later, salons started offering some gel manicure options like CND Shellac and Harmony Gelish. I'm guessing I am not the first to complain about the first hack on the gel manicure since CND's advertising specifically addresses the very same issues I had with my first gel manicure. All their gel manicures require is a slight buff; no drill, no damage. Coverage is much more opaque and flexible, meaning there isn't the thickness, or weight, or stiffness of an acrylic nail. I was willing to give it another shot.

I brought my stepdaughter to our favorite neighborhood nail salon for our bi-weekly manicure/bonding time and follow up McDonald's soft-serve cone. She got her usual; a purple and dayglo orange mani-pedi with a giant flower on her right big toe. I chose a Shellac manicure in Romantique, a slightly boring sheer light pink. I figured it would look nice for work and if I got bored, there's always the option to paint over it with regular polish without damaging it.

My technician Cindy prepped and primed with Harmony Gelish primer, colored with CND Shellac, and finished with Harmony Gelish topcoat which she said she thinks works best. Considering she was wearing her Shellac with a whole 4 weeks of growth showing ("No time to take off" she said) and she obviously works with her hands, I trusted her. Even with the prep work and UV curing, I was done long before the little diva.

So I figured I wouldn't post a pic immediately of my fresh manicure...I thought it would be more useful to post what I thought would be a totally beat up, week and a half old manicure. Since I last got my nails done, I've painted over and removed my nail color twice (another great Gelish and Shellac option), peeled oranges, opened soda cans, chopped vegetables, and dealt with the chronic handwashing that comes with pregnancy's constant restroom trips. Here's a picture I took of my nails this morning. As you can see, they've grown out a bit. My cuticles still look freshly manicured thanks to the nightly Bio Oil basting of my prego belly.

The nails, a week and a half post Shellac manicure.

My nails feel strong and flexible and they look good. My manicure cost $25, which is on the low end of gel mani cost. The service runs anywhere between $20 (thanks to Groupon) and $50. If you're the type that gets a manicure once a week, the cost is about even but it does save time and gas...and I guess aggravation depending on where and how you get your nails done.

 I would definitely do it again!


  1. Can you get it done on your toes?

  2. You CAN! It's a bit of a pain with the UV curing so not everyone does it, but plenty of places do! It's a great option for winter when socks and boots destroy pedis, but beware that they need a bit of upkeep. As long as you're willing to maintain or remove the color yourself, you won't end up with "ghet-toes".