Wednesday, August 7, 2013

'Gel' with Me

By Raima

I love nail polish, it is something I get from my Mum, who stocks them up at home and recently got her first professional nail art done (Whee!). She used to tell me this story about how she had a box full of nail polishes when she was in college, which my Didu (naani) chucked out because she was not studying. Anyway, I digress; I love nail polishes mostly because I keep long nails to disguise my stubby fingers. I’m not much into nail art and I do not keep polishes at home since they dry out after I use them once and move on to the next colour. Oh yeah! One more thing, my hands shake like crazy, my attempts to paint my nails usually look like a toddler’s art project gone wrong. Having said all that, I am pretty sure you guys won’t be surprised when I tell you about my fascinations for professional manicures right? 

Anyway, I was at my neighbourhood Juice (My go to salon) getting my mani-pedi when my eyes fell on those lovely black bottles that contained gel polishes. They were a recent addition, and to be honest I had been asking around for gel nails for sometime. So here I was, with my hands and feet in hot water, more or less jumping up and down for joy at the sight of them. I inquired about the price for application (INR 1200) and removal (INR 800, though as a member I get 20% off on both), said to myself “It IS my anniversary tomorrow!” and jumped right on to the gel nail bandwagon. 

I will take a break here, to explain to all of you who are scratching their heads wondering why I’m willing to pay so much for nail paint and why I was so excited. To put it simply, in a gel manicure, a coat of colored "gel" (that looks like nail polish) is applied to the nails. After each coat, you put your hands under a UV light to dry the gel. Now, the best part is that this manicure lasts for two whole weeks (give or take on your nail growth) WITHOUT chipping or cracking! It also sets instantly so you can walk out of the salon like a normal human being instead of a zombie (or am I the only one) for fear that the polish will spoil the moment your hands touch something. Since it sets so fast, you also prevent waking up to find that your lovely nails which you thought had dried off, have picked up the texture of your sheet or hair while sleeping. So now you see why I got so excited.

To begin, with the technician used a primer on my prepped (i.e buffed, shaped and cuticles pushed back) nails

Pic Courtesy:
Followed by a base coat,

Pic Courtesy: Nailmag
Two layers of polish (O.P.I.‘s Big Apple Red)

Pic Courtesy: Nailmag
And finally, a topcoat

Pic Courtesy: Nailmag
After each coating the nails were exposed to UV light to set them, and they set fast!

Pic Courtesy: Nailmag
So here are the Good and the Bad:

The Good:
  • Sets fast: 30 secs is all it takes to set. 
  • No chipping or scratching: Have I told you that there is NO chipping involved? Am I being rabid enough about it? Good! I’m still traumatized after losing my lovely teal polish to the pressure cooker. 
  • Long lasting colour: Three days into a nail paint and you know the colour fades at least just a teensy bit. The shine fades and then it is all downhill from there. No worries here.
The Bad:

  • Expensive: Mr. D nearly fainted after hearing the price. 1200 is a bit too much, according to me, but beauty does come at a price.
  • CANCER: The UV light used to set the paint can cause skin cancer, as can the chemical butylated hydroxyanisol (BHA), which is the ingredient in some gel paints. Nail damage: To remove gel polish, your nails are soaked in or wrapped in acetone. Acetone is a very drying chemical and will cause your nail to become brittle and peel after repeated use
  • Nail damage: To remove gel polish, your nails are soaked in or wrapped in acetone. Acetone is a very drying chemical and will cause your nail to become brittle and peel after repeated use. 
Alien hands aka gel nail removal  Pic Courtesy:
My take? As Victoria Grayson (You do watch Revenge right? And you’re hoping JEmily get together right?), would’ve said, “I approve!” Today is the third day after application and the colour still looks as good as new! This is after a healthy round of gardening, cleaning and typing today. It is as shiny as the day I left the salon and there are no chips, scratches or even the slight fraying that occurs at the tip due to typing. I keep looking at my nails from time to time marvelling at the smooth finish, the lack of chipping and the kick ass colour. Yes, there are the concerns mentioned above, but frankly speaking, am I going to get them done regularly? No. I am happy with my regular paints and will get gels done for special occasions only. Gel nails are perfect for your wedding, travels or special occasions. Get them done at least once to see what I am raving about.

Three days and still new!! Yaaaaay!!  Pic Courtesy: Raima