Insider secrets to keeping your salon manicure looking fresh as new through the holidays
Fact: Gel manicures cost a pretty penny and are dreadfully drying to boot – well, certainly more so than your basic bring-home polish, at any rate.
Happily, this needn’t be the final nail in the coffin for your monthly meet-up with your manicurist. Click through the gallery slides for some “handy” tips for prolonging your professional-grade polish, and have fun throwing your hands in the air like you just don’t care!
Most intriguingly, my trusty nail technician notes that the longevity of darker designs pales in comparison with their lighter compatriots. Apparently, chips and cracks don’t show up as easily on milky pastels, which means you’ll be able to scrape by with the same manicure for longer without others noticing any imperfections. Makes sense to me!
Korean gloves, that is. These cool contraptions – try these Leaders Insolution Amino Hand Masks, $5 each, that I stumbled upon while browsing the beauty aisles of Sephora’s swanky new Ion Orchard store – work much like a moisturising manicure mask to iron out the creases and crinkles on your hands, and can be slipped on while watching tellie for a super-shot of hydration. Bonus: The targeted treatment is also amazing for alleviating painful hangnails!
Are you a hygiene freak obsessed with hoarding hand sanitiser? Trash those toxic tubes right now, which are more often than not absolutely alcohol-laden (read: dehydrating), and pamper your paws with a hugely hydrating “bath” instead.
Look out for gels with glycerin and botanical oils, which are milder on your manicure. Product recommendation-wise, I’m obsessed with the plethora of perfumed options from Crabtree & Evelyn’s Conditioning Hand Wash, $30 each – the Rosewater edition is especially ravishing. Top tip: Decant your gel and stash them in cute little containers for use in lieu of skin-stripping soap and solutions.
Nourish damaged nails back to life with a comforting cuticle cream every evening. Simply slather on oodles of ointment – I’m head over heels in love with Aesop’s ravishingly restorative Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm, from $37 – around each nail-bed, then wipe off any excess after about five minutes or so. Easy-peasy!
Is your latest gel mani irritating your cuticles? Grab a clean toothbrush (dip the tip in olive oil for a beautifying boost, if you like) and swipe it along the edges of your nails. The manual sweeping action of the bristles serves to dislodge dead skin and other bits and bobs from your nails, giving you a cleaner canvas with as little trauma to your talons as possible. So much kinder and gentler to your cuticles than the blunt mutilation of conventional clippers, too!
Do you peel off your acrylic or gel nails when they start to flake? Girl, #stahp. Ripping off tenacious acrylic topcoats can take layers off your actual nail – including the entire nail-bed itself. Not worth it, to put it mildly. What to do instead? Well, you’ve already invested good money on your mani, so woman up and cough up cash for a professional removal.
Finally, hold off on the gel manicures if your cuticles are already in bad shape. Instead, consider dialing back on the drama and letting your nails “breathe” every two months or so by making do with nail polish off the rack. To be extra safe, zero in on products labelled as “3-Free” – this refers to the unholy health-harming trinity of toluene, dibutyl phthalate and formaldehyde – and ask your friendly beauty counter staff for advice when in doubt.
Bottom line? Gel manicures are absolutely gorgeous, but they do require some extra loving if you want them to last. Good luck!