Not so great manicure

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-03-2009
Not so great manicure
6
Wed, 11-07-2012 - 1:14pm

So as part of my ongoing makeover I'm trying to focus a little more on the smaller details like accessories, nails, makeup, and hair.  Not necessarily a really made up look, but a bit more than my basic roll out of bed style lol.  Now my hair stylist offers those gel manicures and since I type a lot (which leads to chipping in 1-2 days) I was very excited to try one and also support her business.  My hair always looks fabulous and her hair/nails/makeup always look great so I added on a manicure to my regular hair appointment.

But here's the problem.  My nails look horrible.  Really really horrible.  I am certain a teenage girl could have done better.  Let me start at the beginning.  My hair stylist doesn't work in a spa, so I wasn't expecting a spa manicure with all the frills.  I've gone to no frills nail salons before and still found the service satisfactory however.  So my nail service starts with a little cuticle sloughing and filing/shaping of my nails.  There was no soaking or cleaning.  I wash my hands regularly, but I figured soaking/cleaning was part of the process everywhere.  Then she applies the base/polish/top coat in the manner required for gel manicures.  Now I picked white for my color with sparkles on top (she only had like 5 colors to choose from), but she only did one coat of the white so it looks all thin and streaky.  I didn't notice this at the time because I was relaxing and gabbing.  Some of my nails are lumpy and have lint stuck in the polish!  Oh and she left a ton of gloppy polish all over my cuticles and if any of you have had a gel manicure you know its not easy to clean this up do it yourself style.  There's even polish under my nails that not only looks weird but is seriously driving me crazy.  Gel manicures cost more than standard ones so I'm more irritated.

Now I'm very interested in trying a gel manicure elsewhere, but how exactly should I explain that to my hair stylist if she notices a manicure on a future appointment?  Is it obvious that a manicure is gel or regular?  I seriously can't tell, but I'm not too knowledgeable of them anyway.  I don't want to offend her and she has a number of satisfied nail clients.  I intend to continue having her do my hair and will happily send her referrals for that.  I just don't want to hurt her feelings and I don't want to feel guilty having my nails done elsewhere.  *sigh* 

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Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Wed, 11-07-2012 - 1:57pm

I had a not-too-dissimilar experience a year ago.  My regular nail salon was always understaffed, so I tried another one near me.  I had a lovely conversation with the owner, and I was happy to have found someplace new.  However, the service there varied wildly - one of her daughters did a great job, the other one clearly was unhappy to have to work and not be a SAHM - and it was always a bit of a mess.  On top of that, the family members shouted to each other in Vietnamese in the middle of conversations with clients.  I was never quite sure whether they were talking to me or to each other.  It was disconcerting, and since the quality of the manicures was inconsistent, I stopped going there.  As lovely as the owner is, it was just too annoying.

Incidentally, my experience\s with manicures in high-end salons and spas is that they've ALWAYS turned out worse than the ones in an ordinary nail salon - the owners just don't seem to know what products work best, day in and day out, like in a salon where people come every week for a $12 manicure.  I go to 3 different nail salons, and any one of them can do a better job than the high-end hair salon where I drop $160 a month on a cut & color.  Plus, if I get an inexperienced or just plain bad nail tech, I'm only out $15 vs the $35 at a "spa."

I don't think you owe your hairstylist any explanation for not going to her for manicures.  Nor is she likely to care that much or even ask you about it if you're wearing polish.  I do my own manicures quite often - no big deal to my nail salon.  Last week I took my son for a haircut at the salon I used to go to, and I was entirely unembarrassed at taking him to the same stylist who used to do mine.  I prefer the guy who does my hair now - that's the way it goes!

The way I see it, it's *my* hair, *my* hands - I'm going to go to whoever makes them look best, and I don't have to explain that to anyone.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-03-2009
Wed, 11-07-2012 - 2:36pm
You're right I should go to whoever does a better job. I'm on a lean budget now so something like a manicure is a big splurge for me and it isn't unreasonable to expect it to look nice. I was checking the reviews for local nail salons and there are a few that are worth trying. They charge what my hair stylist charges, but they also include soaking/cleaning, more color choices, hand/arm massage. Not the same type of frills one would expect from a spa, but nice touches.
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Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Wed, 11-07-2012 - 2:56pm

To me the finished product is always the most important thing:  did I get evenly applied color that goes all the way back to the cuticle, with no bubbles, in the shape I asked for, and neatly trimmed cuticles that aren't peeling a day later. 

The other things like wait time, background music, massage, and environment, make a difference in how pleasant the overall experience was, but no amount of environment can compensate for poorly applied polish or a top coat that starts peeling or chipping a day later.  The salon service takes only half an hour, but the manicure itself has to last a week!

Avatar for ubergeek
Community Leader
Registered: 09-23-2010
Wed, 11-07-2012 - 3:13pm

Hi there!

I get gel manicures religiously every two weeks. They will never soak your nails or do any primping beyond a slight cuticle fix and filing. It's because you can't have anything on your nail or it won't stick. They need to be super dry and have zero oils. So that part was normal.

The streaking is not normal. I'd definitely go to a regular nail salon. They are more familiar with what's what. You may get a bad egg at a nail salon, but if you go to a popular place you should be safe.

As for your hairdresser, I wouldn't say anything. If she brings it up, I would just say "Yeah, my <insert friend or family name> gave me a gift certificate to a place." :)

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-03-2009
Thu, 11-08-2012 - 6:06am
Oh I didn't know the polish wouldn't stick if soaking was done. That's good to know. The I-had-a-gift-certificate is a great idea especially with it being the end of the year and people give those things out like candy. I'll keep that story in my back pocket =)
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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-03-2009
Sun, 11-18-2012 - 2:26pm
So these gel manicures are supposed to last 2 weeks and mine did, even though it didn't look great in the first place and there were a few small chips after the first week. My stylist also told me how to remove the polish myself and thankfully it worked and didn't damage my nails. It'll probably be awhile before I try another gel manicure at a different place and hopefully that will be a much better experience.
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