I like, and rather enjoy, things that are neat, organized and pretty. This is not limited to "things" such as shoes, jewelry, cookware or my standing mixer (I have an unhealthy obsession with my KitchenAid mixer. Seriously) but extends to keeping house, caring for my clothes and having pretty nails. So, the Sunday after my Ironman, I decided to get a manicure and went to the place in DC where I had been going for years. It is not a spa, but a standalone storefront whose primary service is nails. After picking out my color, I sat down at the station and the manicurist told me about a new product (or new to this particular location) that she guaranteed would stay on my nails for 2 weeks without chipping or coming off. I was sold on the product immediately, even though it came at double the price of a manicure. I figured it would save me time, as the polish would last twice as long and she had the same color in the long-lasting polish as the regular nail polish that I had in my hand. I work on my computer, cook, clean, do laundry and dishes, workout... I thought if this product could keep my nails looking great through all of that, than I was sold.
The product, called gel nail polish, is NOT an acrylic or fake nail that would ruin my natural nails, but just a longer lasting product, I was assured by the manicurist. Thirty minutes later, my nails looked great and I was headed out to continue with my day. I was told to "cook, clean and do all of the things you normally do, and they will look like this 2 weeks from now!"
About a week later, they started to chip and then started to bubble around the bottom where the nail meets the skin. When I went back, I was told that's what happens when water gets under the polish and the piece of gel starts pulling away from the nail, and that my nails grow too fast which was why the polish was coming off (Really?? Because I'm pretty sure that I don't have control over the speed at which my fingernails grow). She "fixed" them by pulling the polish off of my nails (the polish laughs in the face of nail polish remover) and painting over them. They looked awful.
I decided to go to another salon to have a manicure and the woman proceeded to tell me "the real truth about gel polish."
While it's not technically acrylic, it is somewhere in between that and polish and DOES ruin your nails, making them weak and brittle. As she was pulling the strips of product off of my nails, I was cringing as it was taking a thin layer of nail off with it. After spending some time buffing my nails, they looked a lot better, but they are still not smooth on the surface and you can see the ridges where the nails are thinner in some spots from pulling off the gel.
Lesson Learned: If it sounds too good to be true, than it probably is. I will continue to get manicures, but I will NOT be getting the gel polish. Ever.