Why I won’t stop getting gel manicures

Despite what you may think, I’m not the kind of girl who pays for regular beauty treatments. I’ve never been to a hairdresser, I pluck my eyebrows myself, I don’t have eyelash extensions, lip fillers or anything else like that. Everything that I do to beautify myself as such, I do at home with my own products, for free. I think that to a lot of people, I can come across as quite girly but I have my moods! There are times when I’m a lot more chilled out and simple but also times when I’m wearing a full on pink outfit and I’ve taken a lot of time with my hair and I feel like a full on glam queen, you know?

One of the things that really makes me feel glam is definitely my nails. This time last year, I hadn’t even discovered manicures yet. I was still painting my own nails in my bedroom and smudging them five minutes later when I couldn’t be bothered to wait for them to dry. It was only when I realised that I physically do not have the patience or skill to paint my own nails that I started to think about getting them done.

The first time I got them done, I got acrylics. I both loved and hated them. Aesthetically, they looked great. Practically, I couldn’t do anything. However, I got them re-done for my holiday to Greece in September and then it was only when I came back that I gave my nails a break and got them off. I then tried painting my own nails again and when I realised that they looked awful as usual, I decided to go and get shellac put on my own nails and see how that went instead.

Since then I have honestly never looked back. Getting shellac put on your own nails is a full on game changer. Your nails look natural – the shape is a lot better than fake nails in my opinion. It doesn’t smudge, it doesn’t chip for a good 2-3 weeks, it’s shiny, it’s smooth, I absolutely love it. Getting my nails done at the salon makes my life that little bit less stressful, which sounds silly I know but it’s honestly true. I just go to the salon once every few weeks and half an hour later, I am sorted. Having your nails looking neat and shaped is really important I think. Your nails are something that everybody sees all of the time so it’s the same as brushing your hair or moisturising your skin to me. As you can probably tell, I love a pink nail. Any shade of pink is just so me and I can’t resist!

Where do I get my nails done?

I get my nails done at Chelsea All in One Spa on Kings Road. It’s really convenient for me and there is just such a lovely atmosphere in the salon that I love going there. They offer you teas and coffee if you want and the staff are so friendly. Also, I can book all of my appointments online. I’m a very organised person so walking into a nail salon and asking if they have time to do my shellac is not really something that sits well with me. I need to know that I’m getting them done on this day at this time and I’ll be paying this much, thank you very much.

How much does it cost?

I pay £30. I know this is pricier than normal but it’s the same reason I pay £50 for my tiny gym. It’s within walking distance of my house and they make it very easy for me to book in a slot with them. I’m happy to pay £30 because I’ve factored this into my monthly outgoings and the people are so lovely, they fully deserve my money!

How long does it take and what do they do?

Before I got my nails done, I really wondered what they actually do. So first of all it takes about 30 minutes. You go in and in order to get the gel nail polish off, they wrap your fingers in acetone soaked cotton wool balls and foil. Then you have to wait for about 10 minutes and they come back and scrape the remaining nail polish off. They also use this kind of nail drill to buff any remaining polish off. Then they file, cut and shape your nails as you instruct. You then have to wash your hands and then they begin painting your nails. After each coat you have to keep your hand under a UV light (this is the part that can be damaging and cause skin cancer) for somewhere between 30 seconds and a minute and then you keep switching hands under the UV light until the final coat is finished and set.

What are the risks?

I am not sure that there is actually conclusive evidence, to suggest that the UV light used in gel manicures, relates directly to your susceptibility to skin cancer. However, we know that UV light is harmful and I have to say that it does get pretty warm under there sometimes as you’re waiting for your nails to dry! People also say that shellac weakens your nails and that they can become “paper thin”. I really think this depends on your nails. Mine have honestly never been longer or stronger. They used to break constantly and now I can grow them out in a month or two, so you’ve really got to do your research and as with all beauty treatments, just make a decision on what you’re willing to do yourself.

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