I got my first gel manicure done last Thursday/ on the 7/11/19. If you’re thinking, “OMG! She’s so outdated. Its’ been around for the last 10 years or more!”, I don’t blame you. My daughter’s been coaxing me to do it since a really long time – for one, I don’t have the most enviable nails and she hopes the manicure will salvage the little that is left.
Second because no matter what brand of nail paint I use, there’s no avoiding the scratches and the blotches. Thanks to my need to open cans, pack bags or scratch surfaces clean just when I’ve applied nail polish. It must be a syndrome whose name is yet to be discovered.
I hadn’t planned on getting a gel manicure done; at-least not when I entered the salon or even when the buffing and cleaning was done. It was somewhere in between all of that, that I said to myself, ‘Let me do this”. Trying out anything new doesn’t come easy to me. I have had the same hairstyle since the last twenty years, the same shades of nail polish. The only reason I changed my lipstick shade over the years’ was that they didn’t make my shade anymore. So, you get the point. I’m not much of a risk-taker.
Something in my head now said, ‘Ask for it.’ So I did, without further delay. This seemed the perfect time to try out something that women worldwide had been flaunting a long time ago. It was a way to celebrate my first all-girls trip. I was going to be meeting my classmates, after 22 years! It was exciting and no better way to celebrate the get-together, than a good mani-pedi that smooths out the visible years on the hands and the feet. I felt like I was back in college again, free of all cares save falling in love and the experience began with the manicure! I asked the owner of the salon – a woman in her late thirties or early forties (I can never say because I’ve never seen a single strand out of place or a crease on her face. Its’ glossy like the magazines.)
“I’d like to do gel manicure. How much time will it take?” I asked uncertainly.
“You want to put nails on and get them painted?” she asked me
I hate questions when I am unsure of something. It gives me a chance to change my mind. But I stuck this time.
” No I want you to paint my nails. I don’t want anything fixed. But I want it to last.”
“So then you want acrylics. Not Gel,” she corrected me, kindly.
“Yes,” I said, enlightened, slightly embarrassed with my lack of knowledge.
“I’ll go with a manicure and a pedicure”
” An acrylic pedicure too?”
“Yes” I said trying to sound like I knew what I wanted.
‘Are you sure you want to do the pedicure as well? There are charges for removing it too. Its’ better you do it only for the hands. The normal paint is fine for the toes. It does not chip off easily. ‘ the nail expert advised me softly, while scrubbing the dead skin off my feet.
“Manicure only then. And basic nail paint for the feet.” I confirmed, thankful for the information.
I was taken to an area specially allotted for the acrylic application. My hands were placed on a cushion,palms facing down; and a transparent base coat applied. Then one hand was placed under a UV lamp for 60 seconds. When it beeped, the timer was set to another 60 seconds. The same was repeated for the second hand. The first coat of polish was applied and the hand returned to the UV lamp. Then the second coat of polish was applied and the hand went back under the lamp, reminding me why I had not chosen to do this earlier – a) the time involved and b) UV Rays which I had read somewhere leads to cancer!
The final cycle involved the top coat being applied and the hand being placed under the lamp again for 120 seconds. The entire process takes around 24 minutes for all – 12 for each hand. In my case it took an additional 6 minutes. It must have been my repeatedly questioning the nail expert, ” Can I actually do anything now and this will not come off?” and then ” Are you saying it’s going to be like this for 3 weeks?!” He looked at me in silence first,then bobbed his head up and down and after a thought said, ” Better put it under the lamp again for another 120 seconds.”
While acrylic paint does not come off for 3 weeks and isn’t affected by soap or water,there’s something nobody told me which I will tell you here.
4 days later – after I returned from my Goa trip – I indulged in eating home-made chicken curry rich with Indian spices cooked lovingly by my husband and my girls’ raved about, with my bare hands. When I took my fingers out of the spice rich gravy, my pretty pink nails, were now a muddy grey- brown. I now had onion pink nails on one hand and muddy- grey brown on the other. And I was going to be stuck with it for another 3 weeks unless I returned to the saloon and paid to get rid of it.
Uncle Google to the rescue
My wise daughter decided to find her mom the solution by looking it up on Google. Thankfully Uncle Google had a solution – ‘Dip your hands in lime juice.’ So, having missed her mummy (for the days I was in Goa), she willingly obliged and patiently rubbed a slice of lime on the yellow-tainted nails returning the onion pink color and then telling me, “Mamma you need to be careful for the next 3 weeks.”
Careful did not seem feasible
Not if you’re an Indian who enjoys a good Indian meal and finds it incomplete if not eaten with hands – ” Bare hands.”
“The only alternative is that I dip my left hand in turmeric too and have muddy-grey nails on both my hands,” I said and she looked at me shocked. I didn’t do it. But it was a thought.
Ten days later
My nails still look great – the color’s returned or has changed to nude brown. The stain does not last and washes away I think.
Its’ one less maintenance headache. One less on the list of ‘Bad nail days, bad hair days, Eye sacs…”
So, at the end of two weeks or three, I will go back and get them done again, for the Christmas season. Maybe this time I’ll try red.
It helps me put my ‘best hand,’ forward, without a second thought.:)
Have a great day!
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