Monday, November 21, 2011

Nail Salon Newbie

I have always had nice fingernails. Not like I was going to be a hand model or anything, but I was able to keep them looking nice at home with a little nail polish. I never felt the need to visit the nail salon on a  regular basis to get fake nails and then keep them maintained. It just seemed like a waste of money, and I didn't really care to be "one of those women."

Until now. Somehow I've reached the point where I just can't grow my nails long. They've gotten brittle and insist on breaking off at the quick. In short, they are a mess. So now I need to become one of those women. And I don't know how.

Now, I don't mean I'm really a complete nail salon newbie. I've had manicures and pedicures when I felt like being pampered or before special occasions, like my wedding. I just haven't gotten fake nails, and I don't know the first thing about it.

That, dear readers, is where you come in. I've got questions, and I'm hoping you have answers. So help me out here:

1. Are acrylic nails and sculpted nails the same thing?
2. Is one type of nail better than another?
3. What should I be looking for in choosing a salon?
4. What is a reasonable price? Does that vary depending on the part of the country you're in?
5. What should I tip?
6. How does maintenance work? How often? What if I want a new color?
7. What about air-brushing? How does that work?
8. What else do I need to know?

Okay. I think that covers it. PLEASE!!! I seriously need your expertise here. Thanks in advance.

UPDATE: #9. How do you type with them and not feel like they're going to pop off?  You can see these are life-changing questions here.


  1. haha--I have no knowledge of this process. When I was little, my piano teacher would cut my nails herself if she heard them click on the keys. (to this day, I can't stand my nails to click on the keys).. then as a nurse, well.. long nails, yuk! ;) Good luck! Post a pic of your new nails.

  2. Yeah, sorry, I don't have anything to add other than I'm interested in knowing the answers to all of these questions too. I never go, but should I change my mind in the future I would like to have something to refer to! :-)

    Good luck! And I agree with Kelli, pictures when you are done please.

  3. Well, thanks anyway, girls. Hopefully someone will come along and give us some answers. And, yes, I'll certainly share pictures of the afters. But not the befores. That's just too scary.

  4. I don't know most of the answers... but I had acrylic nails once and I hated them. Expensive to maintain, hard to get off, and my real nails were wrecked when I did. Also, they are so stiff that if you catch your nail on anything it has no give and bends back! Ouch. My friend lost a fingernail on her seatbelt buckle that way.

    Now for a treat I sometimes I have shellac. It's like nail polish, but they set it under UV lights. I like it because it's really nice and shiny, lasts much longer than nail polish, but isn't as obvious as 'fake nails'. It has a bit of give in it, if your nails grow very long they may still break, since it's not super strong. But I find it's great for protecting my natural nails and letting them grow a bit longer underneath than they would on their own since it adds strength.

    Don't know if all that's of any interest to you, but thought I'd share anyway!

  5. Wear a short skirt and no-one will notice your nails. I';m not really helping, am I?

  6. I'm a nail biter and I've always had brittle nails so often I do get acrylic nails put on. There is a new thing called gel nails and I do those and like them. You have to go back approx. every 2 weeks for a fill though and it's pricey - $40ish. I always get a natural color or French manicure and keep them shortish. Hope that helps. (-;

  7. Oh boy. I haven't had my nails done in such a long time. Since my wedding, I think! (Yikes. Maybe I'd better get on that.) I really liked acrylics, but they grow out quickly, and they are stuck to your nails. No getting them off easily. When you do get them off, your nails are trashed. It's kind of gross. But they look really nice. If I could go a single day without getting white board marker dust in my hands and nails at work, I'd get them again. Maybe. The cost is another thing to consider...

  8. Laura, thanks for the info. I know what you mean about the white board marker dust; it's everywhere.

  9. Where do I begin?? Acrylic is the product used. Sculpted just means they free formed the nail rather than gluing a tip on. Choosing what type of nail depends on many things. Acrylic is the strongest but gel is good too. If a Tech tries to get you to use fiberglass but its a powder then its not fiberglass. Fiberglass is a fabric. Anything that is liquid and powder mixed is an acrylic. Just as a warning cause people will try to up-sell and they are giving the same product. Find a salon that you feel comfortable in and can talk to the person. She will be holding your hand for an hour! :) If you do decide to put nails on you should go every two weeks to keep them up. Different salons will charge different prices. I charge $40 for a full set and $25 for a fill. My gals normally tip $3-$5. I hope this helps. If you have naturally nice nails, just get a manicure every two weeks. And maybe a pedicure every four. :)

  10. Wow! That's a lot of helpful information. I do have more questions, but I think I'll look for a manicurist who can get really specific with helping me out. I've been given a few local names to try. Thanks so much!

  11. I kept my nails done all summer long, using a new salon process called shellac polish. It was amazingly long lasting and it kept my nails from breaking.

    Here's a link that seems pretty accurate, based on my experience.

    The cost is startling at first, but at my salon, a "polish change", which included shaping, cost $19 + tip. Pretty good for a manicure that will last more than 3 weeks.

  12. Thanks, paranormalist. I'll look into that too.


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