by BR Kellie
I can't speak for beauty editor's everywhere, but I'm sure we all have our beauty blind spots - areas that don't capture our interest, and therefore we find ourselves on the ignorant side of the odd beauty fence. Me? I love makeup. It's my thing. Discovering new pretties and trying different tips and tricks brings me all the joy. I'm also interested in skincare. I regularly scour the internet for latest releases, and get geeky on ingredients, finding myself down all sorts of skincare rabbit holes of information. When it comes to nails though? While I own many basic polishes and regularly pedi myself up at home, I do not frequent salons, and honestly don't know much of anything about formulas, which is how I ended up in a polish pickle...
You see, recently I decided to treat myself, and booked myself in at a new local salon for a basic manicure. Your usual shape and polish. Nothing fancy as I have never been brave enough to try the likes of acrylics, and gels were off the table as I'd heard they weren't easy to remove at home. With my booking made online, I took myself off to the salon, sat down, chose a polish from the two hundred or so polished fake nails given to me to peruse, and let the nail tech do her thing.
And a beautiful thing she did. By the end of my session my nails were perfect. The tips beautifully curved and the polish a sea-on-a-cloudy-day shade of blue/green. I was stoked. Especially when my friend took notes of said pretty nails.
Her: Love your nails. Did you get gels?
Me: No, just regular polish.
Her: Are you sure? They look like gels.
Me: Yes. Just regular ones. (At this point doubt entered my head, but on returning home I checked the salon's online menu and saw that the price I booked and paid was for that of a basic non-gel mani.)
For a whole week my nails remained beautiful. Not a ripple, crack or chips was to be seen. I was amazed. And also increasingly suspicious.
As is to be expected, chips began to eventually appear on my nails, and once I hit the point where my nails were so chipped that it was starting to look like I'd given up on life, I took to the polish with a nail polish remover. Nothing happened. I soaked ball after ball and applied it, and still I could not remove the polish. Face-palming myself, I realised my friend was correct - I'd been given a gel polish mani.
I was in gel hell.
The thing is... the clues were all there. Having to put my nails under a UV lamp with each layer of product? The many layers of thick polish products? The bottle that had GEL written on it? Perhaps I should've said something at the time, but in my ignorance, due to my blind spot, I did not. I just assumed it was a gel-look polish, rather than the real deal. And I paid the price.
What was a girl to do? Simple. I told said gel-knowledgable friend about my polish problem and she told me that my options were a) pay to have it removed, b) file my nail tops, apply acetone-soaked cotton balls to my nails, wrap them in tin foil and wait fifteen minutes, then flake them off, or c) grip it and rip it and peel them off.
My reply... a) I'm not paying to have something removed that I didn't ask for, b) that sounds good, because c) will make me want to vomit - something I discovered by trying to peel one off and becoming nauseous in the process. Who knew peeling off polish could trigger a spew reflex?
It turns out filing the tops of my nails also makes me want to bring up breakfast, so after that fail I ended up going the slightly less traumatic path of peeling off one nail's worth of gel polish a day until they were all gone. It was torture and I would not recommend it.
The last three months my poor nails have split, peeled and looked in the worst shape of their life. Thankfully they've nearly grown out, and with daily application of cuticle oil, things are looking nice and natural once more.
So will I be paying more attention to what polish is being applied should I see a nail tech again? Yes. Will I ever purposefully ask for gel polish? Heck no. I once was blind but now I see... and that experience was a nail in the gel polish coffin for me.
So, do tell... have you had a terrible mani/pedi experience? Have you accidentally tried gel polish and lived to regret it? Or is gel polish your go to? Sharing is caring, so get chatting below!