What’s it called in French, again? Une manucure au gel? Hang on, let me Google it… Yes! Manucure gel.
I should have known, because frankly, gels have been around for a while. Alex was already getting them three years ago. But at the time, when she told me how you take them off, I shouted: Gels, Me, Never!
I stuck to my guns until the day I visited Chris’ family in South Carolina, and his stepmom welcomed me by inviting me to go get a manicure with her. Super cute, I have to say.
I don’t know if it was something in the Southern air, or the look of the women in the salon (bouffant hairdos and chocolate manicures)(yes, chocolate-colored) or maybe it was the general kindness of everyone there, but when my manicurist recommended I get gels and said it was “super easy to take off, all you have to do is dip your hands in acetone and it comes off all by itself!” I didn’t feel like resisting.
Oh, well if all I have to do is dip my hands in acetone, phew! Easy! Where do I sign?
I also thought to myself that whatever happens, like, if my fingers were to disintegrate entirely, it would make for a blog post. Welcome to the twisted mind of a blogger.
Anyway, I said OK, and the gel was a go. I picked out a nice bright red, and let the manicurist do the rest.
I might as well tell you right away: I loved it. First of all, you have to know, I hate manicures, especially the dreadful moment when I can’t touch my phone for 15 minutes because the polish has to dry.
Spending a moment all alone reflecting on your life in a nail salon? Ugh.
But with gels, kids, drumroll please… No drying time.
Marvel of marvels. You put your hands in a machine that solidifies the polish and in the time it takes to smile at your manicurist, your nails are dry, and as hard as Kayla Itsines’ abs.
Ok, it does take several layers, but in less than half an hour, you’re back outside with supernaturally bright, shiny nails. My sister thinks gels are a little thick-looking, but I have to say, it doesn’t bother me at all.
It’s so pretty!!!
Epilogue: Live from Instagram, I’m spending my day looking at my nails in the back of the car.
And the great thing is, a week later, it looks exactly the same. The red is bright and shiny, there’s no sign of chipping. It’s perfect.
I feel like this could last several weeks, but at one point last week, I decided it was time to take off the polish, because:
1/ I was wearing a red dress to the Omega gala – didn’t want to overdo it with the red, NICOLE KIDMAN wouldn’t have approved.
2/ Apparently my nails grow really fast, so even though it probably still looked fresh from a distance, when I looked at my manicure up close, I could see a gap between the gel and my nails as they started growing out.
3/ Bright red – you don’t just get tired of it, you get f#&*$g tired of it after a while.
So I decided to have them taken off at the salon below my house. For 5 dollars, a lovely professional will do to your fingers what you could have done at home for a higher price (since you’d have to buy a whole liter of acetone). You dunk your hands into a bowl of acetone, and you can’t do anything during this time other than look at the neon lights overhead (so, yeah, those 15 minutes of drying time you gained getting them put on? You lose when you take them off) (Gah, life sucks, you just can’t win! ;)
And that’s when the manicurist started scraping, and I got ready to make the face I make when I hear fingernails on a chalkboard. She sees it’s not quite ready, and signals to me (remember, we don’t speak the same language) that I’ll have to wait a little bit. And voilà! Five minutes later, and the polish starts flaking off all by itself. Boom. The manicure jumps right off my hands. Much less traumatic than I had imagined.
Underneath, my nails don’t look like they’ve suffered too much. They still have good color and look healthy. I almost stopped wearing colored nail polish altogether because my nails absorb the color and will stay red for days after I’ve taken the polish off, but with this, they look perfectly clear.
As for the texture, though, I have to say… They seem slightly…less smooth. A little grainy. I wouldn’t be surprised if a layer of my nail came off along with the bright red. Urrrgh.
My manicurist assures me with big gestures that’s not the case (or maybe she’s trying to give me her recipe for apple pie, I’ll never know) but I figure that with my fragile nails, I probably won’t be getting gels every day. I’ll stick with my Sugar Daddy by Essie (my favorite boring rosy beige polish) and save gels for special occasions, like apple pie.
On the other hand, if I want color, I’ll do gels for sure. Especially on my toes, since they grow back so slowly you can probably keep the gels for three weeks.
So there you go. My verdict? I LIKE.
What do you think about gels? Do you have any idea what happens to your nails if you get them done often?
P.S. The hands in the photo are not mine, since I had the gel removed before writing the post and I am not so organized as to shoot a post before I write it (I should totally be, seriously) they’re Elle’s beautiful hands!
Photo: Erik Melvin