It’s on the tip of your...fingers?
Now that I’ve caught your attention, I know you’re dying for me to tell you what this enigmatic practice is and why it’s apparently plagued American women. Shopping? We knew that one already. Religiously watching The Bachelor? No surprise there. Do me a favor: look down at your fingernails. There’s a good chance they’re painted. According to Statista, annual spending on nail salon services in the U.S. is about $8.36 billion. Salons charge an average of $19.50 for a manicure and $32.25 for a pedicure. Regulars at the nail salon usually go every two weeks, running them an average of $1,345 per year spent on their nails. And guess what? There are MILLIONS of regulars. A plague.
In recent years, nail care trends have cropped up and have made going to the salon a bit more of a ritual. First there was gel polish, dried with UV light. And then came the powder polish, created with a dip technique. As nail care methods have advanced, so has the expectation of perfectly groomed nails. After being surrounded by so many perfect nails, and knowing so many ladies who are salon regulars, I decided to do some field research. Was having perfect nails really worth over a thousand dollars every year?
First up, I tried my very first gel manicure. The finished result looked just like regular polish, nothing too crazy, which I liked! Overall, the manicure was presentable for about two weeks - no chips and only mild discoloration! I have to say, as someone who is notoriously known for sloppily painting her nails in the most inappropriate places (apologies to my friends on the Long Island Rail Road), having “perfect” nails for two weeks straight was pretty refreshing! By week four, however, the state of my nails was a different story. I know I pushed my luck, but with every other nail half peeled up, I had to rip them all off. My nails did not look happy afterwards…
Getting a little more adventurous during my next trip to the salon, I tried out a powder manicure.It was a little more expensive than gel, and the powder manicure made it look like I was wearing acrylics...I really felt like a true Long Islander! Dip powders are bonded using a glue called cyanoacrylate, which is also the main ingredient in Krazy Glue. It’s no wonder why these manicures last for weeks without budging! My one complaint here was that after two weeks, the painted part of my nail still looked brand new, but the part closest to my nail bed became a bit detached and my hair would actually get stuck in there! Very inconvenient. And once again, as the polish fell off, my nails underneath didn’t look too hot.
✨My Bonus Hack✨
I ride the subway every day, and admittedly, I love to look around at the people squished inside - you never know what you’re gonna get in NYC! On a particular Tuesday morning, I was creepily staring at a woman’s hand holding onto the subway pole and was inspired. It looked like she had a gel manicure that was past due for a touch up, BUT instead of letting her nails grow out naked, she had a coat of another nailpolish color on her nail beds. I decided to try it for myself...
My clearly outgrown gel manicure (yikes 😬).
I used washi tape to leave a triangular opening on my nail bed.
I painted the opening with a contrasting color to the one I already on.
Walah! A cool diversion from the fact that I hadn’t had time to go get my nails taken care of! (Repeat on the other nine fingers!)
The verdict after my weeks of research? I personally prefer a good gel manicure, ONLY if I have multiple events in the same two week span. Otherwise, the nail maintenance and cost just wouldn’t be worth it for me. For now, I guess I’ll stick with my DIY train ride manicures 😉.
What do you think? Gel, powder, DIY, or natural nails? And what are your nail care hacks? Let us know by commenting below!