The beauty disaster equivalent of Brexit
Well groomed nails are the foundation of our civilisation… As a low maintenance kind of girl, usually did my own, until I discovered the magic of gel.
Gel nails at Fenwicks with Nailinc.
A professional gel application appears to be a quick, no maintenance beauty solution: tah dah! perfectly groomed nails. Smooth, glossy colour and practically indestructible, I wrote about it back in April, in this very blog. It saved me tons of time and at £60 a go, though perhaps not inexpensive, it seemed reasonable by London living standards. The little nail bar at Fenwicks is scrupulously clean and looks very inviting.
Look under the glossy veneer
Sadly, underneath all the shine and the gloss, gel applications were ravaging my natural nails. It is disappointing that the trained nail technician did not warn me about the potential damage of indulging in back-to-back gels. They are practically addictive and had treatments every 3-4 weeks, for about 6 months. My nails looked beautiful, one could not stop admiring them.
Six months later
Fast forward, by October, when I had the final round of gel removed, it was a shocking sight. My natural nails looked dreadful, weakened, peeling, bloody corners in a true state of distress. I have a sneaky suspicion, the technician may have been removing them incorrectly, with a bit too much enthusiasm and a nail file. If you want to end up with misshapen, deformed nails, that seemed to be the way to go about it.
I looked at the wreckage of the post gel result and refused to have another application. I also requested a different technician to complete the process. The managements reaction was disappointing, though perhaps not surprising. They were very sympathetic, glued the nails together in a haphazard way and said, I’d have to “wait for the damage to grow out”.
The verdict of this sad tale, is that there are no shortcuts. I think I will now go back to DIY pedis.
Warning: Gel cons:
# only safe to apply on healthy, strong nails.
# repeated applications, could lead to misshapen & deformed nai, permanently.
# It is NOT a good solution to disguise damage, it will weaken the nail even further.
# Should come with a warning on the packaging, that some damage is inevitable.
# There are also additional concerns about cancer and the use of UV lamps.
The glamour: Gel pros:
# A Gel application is probably Ok to try as one off treatment, for a special occasion.
# beautiful, glossy finish that’s virtually indestructible, (though remember it’s the gel thats indestructible, not your nails)
# choice of colours is limitless and a good beautician can even mix to create a special shade just for you. Especially handy if you want to match shoes or dress, corporate or wedding cake…
After the ordeal, my poor nails have been receiving lots of tender care. Mostly in the form of soothing words, daily oil application plus the miracle mani – pedi masque for Barry M.
Nail care to nourish and restore: Nail mask and nail rehab
Barry M nail mask Is described as a pampering party for nails and costs just £3.99. Well worth a try and creates a soft look camouflaging the ugly damaged nails. As well as nourish and care for abused nails. I also tried Sally Hansen nail rehab, which is also showing some promising results. Both products can be bought inexpensively at a chemists and thankfully do not require ‘professional’ skills to apply.
It will take me 6- months to a year to get my nails back into a state, fit to face the world. I was lucky to have realised the disaster and stoped the gel applications while relatively healthy nail beds were still intact.
Personally, I will not be putting my nails through that ordeal again. Condition and health are far more important than fake gloss.