I was hooked on gel manicures a few years ago. I finally stopped when I realized I could be putting that money into something else. It can get pricey to do regularly. I stopped gel manicures for years, but treating myself occasionally for an event, like a wedding. January of this year (2019), my BFF, Steph, needed a pedicure before leaving for her Hawaii trip (LUCKY!). Since she is from out of town and I can never get enough time with her, I accompanied her to her appointment. I’m not going to Hawaii so I went with a gel mani instead. Then I was hooked. How awesome is that that your nails always look so perfectly shiny and it takes 3 weeks to chip!? (Sometimes two, as I’m frequently rough in the gym, oops!) I’m always ready for a product shoot if I need to hold it. Well kept nails always makes me feel good. No matter how tired I feel, when I have well manicured hands, it makes me feel more alive! Is that weird? Haha.
I started to get them regularly. I enjoyed it because I got to indulge in Food TV or HGTV and 50 minutes later, I had some pretty good looking hands. The price was really good too. The salon I went to has specials on Mondays and it cost $35 for a full manicure. Score!
Then, one day, I was so annoyed with how much time it took out of my day to go to an actual appointment (my job is based on appointments and I just get really tired of having to be somewhere. First world problems, I know.) As I sat in Pho 99, waiting for my bun bo hue and J was chatting away at something, I aggressively picked off the gel polish on each mail . Not recommended as it can damage your nails, which happened to mine. They weren’t all wrecked but about half of them had seen better days. Oh well. It felt really nice. I felt like I could be as rough as I wanted and not feel like I wasted $35 + tip. But my nails also looked like sh!t. I painted them regularly until most of the damaged parts grew out.
I told my story to Haley from Chatters and she is such a sweetheart, she sent me care package for my nails! So thoughtful!
These products from CND VinyLux are pretty remarkable. They were pretty close to being gel without the hefty price tag and time. WIN-WIN!
Make your mani last longer – here’s how:
- Long Wear Top Coat
- Speed Spray
The Speed Spray speeds up your drying time AND nourishes at the same time, like the SolarOil. I used this on Liv – because how many 7 year olds can actually sit around for more than 20 seconds? Or is it just mine who can’t? Who am I kidding – even I can barely sit still for long enough! This is my ultimate favourite of the bunch. It took away the tackiness a minute or two after spraying. I even transferred my wet laundry to the dryer after! I was still gentle but I would have never been able to do that without it.
Next up, Long Wear Top Coat. I don’t use top coats mainly because they tend to be thick and takes extra long to dry! But this one is different. I sit there for about 6 minutes and there is no more tackiness. If I can sit still for 6 minutes, anyone can. 🙂 It uses natural light (yes, like daylight!) to harden and resist chipping over time. And the top coat makes a HUGE difference. It is definitely worth the extra effort because it makes my manis last a few more days! And when it comes to at-home manicures, a few days is a big deal. It says that you can go a full week of ‘fashion perfection’. Using the top coat for me meant 4 full days without chipping. On the 5th day, I did some aggressive scrubbing of the sink which I think led to the chipping on my index finger. A teeny area looks like it could start lifting on my middle finger. (I’m right handed.) My left hand was still chip free.
A few helpful additions….
Being that it is December, my cuticles were super dry so I applied the SolarOil nightly (or whenever I remembered). This product didn’t help make my mani last longer per se, but it did keep them moisturized – when I remembered to use it! Because this was a daily application, it was challenging for me to use regularly enough to see a difference. It contains a blend of oils and each has its purpose to moisturize, nourish and heal. A healthy nail bed and cuticles are a part of a pretty manicure. But I needed something quick and easy: speed spray was a much better option for me.
Haley picked out some pretty colours but to be honest, I’m a nude/pink girl all the way. During the holidays, I might pull out the oxblood or classic red but that’s as adventurous as I get when it comes to nails. Liv, on the other hand, ADORES colour so Taffy was perfect for her. Lavishly Loved is the perfect shade of sheer soft pink. Each polish brushed on smoothly and easily on adult size nails and little one’s. I had my work holiday party on this particular day and wanted something a little more opaque so I opted to for something I already had. I used Sally Hansen ‘Devil Wears Nada’, which is a nice nude pink. I’m not sure if using the nail polish from the same line will make my mani last even longer but it’s worth a try! I’ll report back when I do use it. But for the time being, I’m pretty happy with the results using the Speed Spray, Top Coat and a polish from a different brand.
When you’re already rushing out the door, schedule is packed with work, shopping for gifts, holiday parties, you don’t need to waste more time fixing chipped nails or booking appointments at the salon! The Speed Spray and Long Wear Top Coat are my secret weapons now for a longer lasting at-home manicure.
So tell me, are you team profesh manicure or team DIY?