Even when my nails are at their healthiest and strongest, holidays in retail are murder on them. We offer free gift-wrapping at the store, and as the requests for that heat up, the nails just get ruined. It's just not ever been worth it to try to keep my nails looking pretty from mid-November until after the first of the year.
Anyway, the owner Jami and I talked about it, and she had Stephanie (one of the nail artists) call me. She put some of my biggest concerns to rest, and I decided to take the plunge.
I decided to document the first application and its wearability, because some of my friends around the country have been interested, but nobody particularly wanted to be The First.
Hey. I figure if it stands up to the torture it's going to go through, then for everybody else it's going to be life-changing in a "this really isn't important, but it's cheaper than a facelift for a little vanity boost."
So. Here we go.
I arrived at the salon this afternoon to find out their power was out, and I came home disappointed. (The shellac machine needs electricity to run!) I had scarcely settled in with my cup of coffee when they called to say, "Come back! We have power!" Run back I did, and I took these with me.
My nails were in horrible shape, with peeling and ridges beginning to cause little snags and tears, and I was having to perform triage on them daily.
The special stuff that has to be used for this process has at least one potential drawback: a sort of limited supply of color. That's not a huge problem for me, mostly -- I'm pretty traditional, generally opting for neutrals, or clear. Stephanie tells me that she can mix colors by layering, too. Again, this was, for me, not a sticking point. She took extraordinary care with a basic manicure: shaping, whipping my cuticles into shape, but nothing out of the ordinary had to be done to my nails before the application began.
This is a HUGE plus in my book. I don't want my nails damaged, and I don't want them looking fake. I just want my nails to be presentable, and pretty.
Stephanie began the process, which involved a base coat followed by "curing" in the special shellac machine. This took practically zero time. This curing process happened again after each application of color as well.
There's no heat involved, no windy breezes -- just incredibly brief exposure to UV light. When I say brief I mean probably less than 10 minutes per hand.
When it was all finished I got up to get my purse and started to hand it to Stephanie so I could ask her to dig into my wallet for my debit card and keys, and she said, "Nope -- you are totally dry and set, and you can do that."
Oh. My. She was not kidding. The color is incredible, and shiny wet looking, but I dug my wallet out, grabbed my keys, ran my fingers through my hair -- all with absolutely no effect on my nails!
So, which color did I pick?
This looks a little orange, but I assure you -- it is FIRE ENGINE RED, and it is just glorious!
I thought of clear; I thought of the neutral shade that looks like what I usually default to; I thought about the dusky pink-ish color. Truly I did, but I picked the red for two reasons:
First, this test will be easier to follow if there is COLOR on my nails.
Second, why the heck NOT?
I'll keep you posted how this all actually DOES, but in the meantime, a huge thank you to Jami Lewis, owner of Amplify Salon and Spa; and to Stephanie Gregory, Fingertip Wizard!
Have questions? Post them in the comments section, and I'll answer what I can
(no technical stuff, of course, but just real-world girlfriend type stuff.)