11 years ago by

Here is an extract of a Skype conversation with Alex about her AMAZING gel mani

Garance: Hey Alex, so what about that gel manicure? How did it go? Were you scared?
Did it take FOREVER? (I am not really in favor of gel as you can guess– I think it’s my Frenchitude)

Alexandra: Okay, I know I was a little nervous about doing it, mostly because I am way too into my nail polish to sacrifice two weeks on the same nail color…I was afraid my nails would be destroyed (I’ve heard some horror stories) but I decided, now was the time to seize the day!

Garance: That’s the Fashion Week effect. Some have been known to do radical decisions before FW…
Wait, let’s recap: You decided to go with Dries Van Noten right? All the way. Got there with your…What, fashion show pics ?

Alexandra: Yeah, I spent the last few months drooling over the collection and since I knew I probably wouldn’t be wearing it anytime soon, this was the next best thing. I showed her two photos from the collection and BAM she had all these ideas.

The whole thing took an hour, which if you look at my nails, doesn’t seem like a long time. I mean, this girl was nail Van Gogh.

Garance: She’s an artist. It’s weird to be a NAIL artist, but she is.

Garance: One thing I want to understand: Why does this kind of design only work with gel? What the hell is gel?

Alexandra: With gel, after each coat of color, your nails go into a drying machine that uses LED light to dry your nails (Some salons use UV light, so wear sunscreen!) and your nails are totally dry after about 20 seconds. They can apply another color or design right away without worrying about smudging.

If you had to do this with regular polish, and wait for it to try, it would take foreverrrr.

Garance: Got it. How many coats is there total ?

Alexandra: I think my nails ended up with about 5 coats… which seems like a lot (imagine 5 coats of any regular polish–ick!) but they didn’t feel like they were covered in that many coats.

Alexandra: I chip my normal at home manicure after about 2 days, guaranteed. With the gel, I made it all of Paris fashion week without a chip.

Garance: AND I THINK IT LOOKED AWESOME. In a kind of crazy kind of way, but really cool.
A little like, dorky? A little nail obsessive kind of way, but the chicest nail dork ever.

Alexandra: At first I was like shit, this is intense for two weeks, but then I was like ohmygod I love it and never want it to leave my hands.

Garance: Well and then everybody was obsessed with your hands.

Alexandra: Honestly every time I touched a shoe or a hanger someone stopped me to ask about them

Garance: lol

Alexandra: I think I need to open a gel salon in Paris or maybe just a fashion week pop-up…

Garance: Convert french girls to nail craze! How are your nails now that’s it’s over ?

Alexandra: Good– I was really nervous about having them taken off, because everyone says that is the worst part.

Garance: You can’t take it out yourself right, you have to go back to the salon?

Alexandra: Yes. I mean, they put acetone soaked cotton balls on your nails and wrap them in tinfoil. So you look like an alien for about 10 minutes…

Garance: Ugh

Alexandra: And I spent those 10 minutes freaking out over the future state of my nail beds, because acetone is a scary word. But, they survived! And now they are happily typing to you in a fresh coat of the Chanel polish they gave us at the show.

Garance: Man you’re so pro.

Garance: Ok, so when are you doing it again?

Alexandra: I think I might make it a new fashion week tradition, it’s the one time I really don’t want to think about painting my nails. Maybe some Kenzo nails for next season?

Garance: Love the idea!!!

PS : Alex got her nails done at Valley Nails in Soho– ask for Mei!


Add yours
  • J’aime particulièrement l’index et le tout est très réussi !
    Je ne sais pas si j’oserais ça sur moi cependant…

    xx Le Grumeau

  • this manicure is amazing!!! I love it!!

  • Ahhhh mais c’est magnifique, quelle bonne idée de s’inspirer d’une collec qu’on aime pour une manucure, beaucoup moins ruineux que d’acheter les fringues !

  • Thank you for posting the salon, location and name of stylist! (artist, excuse me)

    i hate posts that are like, check out MY cool hair/nails/backpack/shoes and then provide no info on how or where to copycat. So rude :)

    Also her nails are amazing, and Kenzo ones??? i die.

  • Vraiment cool le nail art! Sur des ongles courts comme ceux d’Alex, je trouve ça funky! Sur des ongles longs par contre…

  • C’est bien vrais ça, sur les ongles court ça enlève toute la vulgarité :D

  • I’m not so much into nail art and have never tried gel, but this looks awesome on you Alex! The Dries Van Noten nails and a little LV ;-) xxx

  • I love gel! I tried it for PFW for the first time and it’s amazing. It doesn’t chip, it looks just perfect the whole time! But I agree, it’s not something that you do every week… It’s eprfect for holidays, though.
    I had my nails done in classic bright red but for my next holidays in April I’m trying something a little bit different! :)

  • So original and interesting manicure.

  • As a nail art fanatic I love this.


  • Le rendu est super. Bon, déjà, j’adore Dries Van Noten, forcément, mais là, c’est génial. Et puis j’aime ta manière de présenter tes articles, comme toujours.
    Par contre, je redoute toujours autant l’acétone. Elle n’a pas eu l’air de trop en souffrir, mais je ne crois pas que je passerai le cap pour autant. Et merci de me permettre de le vivre par procuration :p

  • Je déteste normalement les manucures avec du gel. Je trouve que ça a toujours un effet cruella mais là j’adore :D

  • J’adore these nails!

    A new post is up on Local & Opulent – Street Style, Love It or Hate It, the debate wages on.

  • Le rendu est vraiment extraordinaire ! ;) Bravo !

  • I have gel done on regular basis every two weeks. From time to time a get a break and give my nails and hands some extra treatment like paraffin mask. For me it works great because I hardly have time to do my make-up, not to mention nails. It’s also super convenient when busy traveling.

    I never got this crazy with my gel, though. I usually choose a statement color plus moon, or Philip Lim’esque stripes. If I had longer nails I’d probably go for ombre.

  • I’m a nail polish wh*re. I literally paint my nails between 3-5 times a week (yes, every week). I have never tried gel because I like to paint them myself and enjoy the change. But (there’s always room for a but), I’m extremely obsessed with this nail polish set she’s rocking that I might consider taking the gel plunge for some festive looks. Hmmm, now you’ve got me thinking.


  • Non mais Allllllllllllllllllllllex c’est canon!!!!!! J’ADORE mais je ne suis pas sûre qu’à Paris on trouve le même niveau d’artiste ONGULAIRE :) Dis dis y a pas que pour la FW de ParOs que c’est bien, en vacances à Paros c’est pas mal non plus, de ne pas penser à ces ongles détruits après le rituel piscine douche plage douche sable ? ça tiendrait tu penses?

  • Sincerement … Je n aime pas tous ces gels sur les ongles … Mon opinion??? Un art ??? Oui. Mais pas sur mes ongles

  • Fun nails! I was also skeptical of gel but they lasted all of two weeks – amazing! I went more conservative with just one shade but must say I did NOT like what it did to my already weak nail beds after. That said, for certain occasions like Fashion Week or Christmas/New Year’s definitely. Not a steady diet.

    For a new luxe face oil check out

  • J’adore ce type de manucure ! J’ai essayé la Caviar de Ciaté, très sympa pour une soirée !

  • I’ve been getting gel manicures for about a year and my nails are healthier than ever. The manicure lasts about two weeks — even then it doesn’t chip, but I can see growth above the cuticle so it no longer looks nice.

    I’ve never noticed any UV damage to my hands — I mean, think about it — my fingers are exposed to 1 minute after the first coat, 2 minutes each after the next two — so a total of 5 minutes every two weeks! You’d get more than that walking to the grocery store on a sunny day. Put sunscreen on your fingers if you want to, but keep it off your nails or the gel won’t stick.

    And, by the way, if you get tired of the gel color you can paint a regular coat of polish on top, and take it off later with non-acetone remover, which won’t touch the gel underneath.

  • En fait, ça n’est pas vraiment du gel, c’est plus du vernis semi-permanent.
    C’est un mix entre vernis classique et gel ongulaire. Ça permet de faire plein de choses sympas sur les ongles avec de la tenue et sans trop les abîmer.
    Voici mon post sur le sujet pour celles que ça intéressent !
    En tout cas Bravo à la personne qui a fait la manucure ! :-)

  • Attention quand même à votre santé ! Heureusement qu’il n’y a pas de FW chaque semaine…

  • J’adore, surtout l’annulaire avec son prune intense et ses petites fleurs blanches ! ;-)

    Des bises !

  • oh, really adore the different styles ..

    xo Cam


  • C’est magnifique… mais attention à vos ongles si vous décidez de prolonger et de renouveler l’application! J’ai testé pendant 6 mois. A chaque fois que j’enlevais le vernis, j’en faisais reposer directement. Après 6 mois, mes ongles d’ordinaire en si bonne santé ressemblaient à du carton que l’on aurait trempé dans de l’eau chaude, complètement fades (quasi mats, beurk!)! Le vernis normal ne tenait presque plus qu’une journée tellement les ongles étaient abîmés et ils ont mis 6 bons mois avant de récupérer une vitesse de pousse normale, sans cassure et sans dédoublement!

    Donc à réserver exclusivement aux FW ou quand on n’a pas le temps !!!

  • Le résultat est vraiment beau, ça donne envie d’assayer!

  • ça fait un peu plus d’un an que je me suis lancée, j’ai fait ma petite étude de marché en ligne et j’ai tout commandé aux USA.
    Je me fais ma propre manucure en vernis permanent. C’est simple car c’est aussi liquide que du vernis normal, il suffit d’être soigneuse. Et le changement de couleur n’entre pas en compte pour moi car je porte toujours mes ongles rouge vif, mi-long et arrondis, 50s style!
    Le vernis permanent c’est vraiment une révolution. Les ongles sont renforcés, c’est rare qu’ils cassent, on a pas besoin d’y faire attention..
    Je ne supporterais plus de refaire ma manucure tous les 2 ou 3 jours car ça s’écaille tellement vite.

  • yes!! I love nail art! this manicure is amazing!!

    check out my giveaway!

  • Effectivement c’est du vernis permanent, le gel ne fond pas a l’acétone !!
    et pour celles qui pensent que ça abime les ongles, c’est comme tout, il faut bien choisir sa Styliste Ongulaire !!! une vrai pro ne lime pas les ongles de la clientes avec une ponceuse, et respecte des règles hygiènes très stricte…. entre le prix et la qualité.. il faut choisir !!

  • I love your relationship…Garance you love the classics with a twist and Alex is upscale trendy all the way…heels/sneakers…Bottega/backpacks….so much fun. Very New York.

  • C’est vrai que ça défonce un peu quand même!

  • Moi je fais des ongles de runway tout les jours :)

  • Le résultat est canon ! À tester très vite :)


  • tripstreasures March, 13 2013, 4:09 / Reply

    in general i don’t like gel nails, too fake for me somehow, but for this special edition i’d love to make an exception !
    new post : bag crush

  • That really is artistic. Alex, can I ask, does it change the way you dress to have such an elaborate manicure? I feel like I’d want to go all monochrome (or close to monochrome) to show it off to the max.

  • I’ve had gel nails for my wedding and to be real honest with you, I hate them. Especially at the moment I tried to get my lenses into my eyes (and ruined my make-up), open an envelop (which I gave up after a while) and the most annoying one, tried to open the ribbon of my ring pillow. Just impossible with those thick things. Totally lost the feeling in my fingers! Love how it looks. but it took my nailed 5 months to recover afterwords so I skip the gel nail manicure! xx

  • Jane with the noisy terrier March, 14 2013, 8:38

    I think you’re referring to the more permanent version, like acrylic or silk wrap nails, that were quite thick and artificial. Alex seems to have a Shellac gel manicure which is the same thickness as a manicure with traditional polish and only meant to last two weeks. There’s no maintenance or need to fill it in as your nails grow and it’s much less damaging than those permanent versions.

  • ca donne envie! ^^

  • Rousspétée March, 14 2013, 6:43 / Reply

    Pas sûre d’avoir envie de tenter mais j’admire le résultat ! Pas moyen de t’ennuyer avec ces motifs !

  • Connu depuis des années sous le nom de “QQ” en Chine, quand j’y étais une fois par semaine juste pour changer de couleurs : dextérité optimale et 3e avec manucure qui bat tous les salons les plus bobos/snobs de Paris et autres capitales occidentales ===

  • So happy to see this post since I was thinking about doing a gel manicure for the first time! I will definitely try it…


  • Jane with the noisy terrier March, 14 2013, 8:31 / Reply

    I’ve been doing shellac manicures off and on for the past couple of years. More often now that the range of colors has expanded. J’adore. I love that they are dry instantly. The last two I had were with glittery then metallic polishes and they didn’t chip for three weeks. The gels are no thicker than regular nail polishes–they just look like freshly polished nails for days on end. They’ve made my nails super hard, too. I’ll take a break between them, but I’m a huge fan.

  • Someina March, 15 2013, 8:49 / Reply

    Hi Alex, I have a question.

    I am quite obsessed with keeping my nail colour perfect so I tend to paint them 1-2 times a week. However, my nails are slightly stained yellow at the tips. Due to the staining, I can’t really rock the sheer nail colour look, as the yellow peeks through underneath! How annoying!

    Since you paint your nails quite often, do you find your nail tips get stained as well? If you do, how do you get rid of them? Have you tried the sheer nail look before? Do you like it?

  • I think gel is the best option when it comes to Fashion Weeks – you at least don’t have to worry about how your nails look.) Plus I can wear gel on my nails for up to three (!) weeks without any chips.

  • I LOVE MEI!! She’s who I go to and she really is a genius… If you find yourself creeping around Instagram and need someone cool to look at go find her at @ciaomanhattan2012

    AND on gel the only time it’s really thick is if you go to someone who has no idea what they’re doing. When Mei does mine they’re barely thicker than my nails.

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