LAST WEEK we talked at-home gel nails, but for those of us who want the longest lasting results and can’t be bothered to tinker with them ourselves (ahem, me), we turn to the salons for our gel manicures.

Basically, they begin off by gluing a hard extension to your nail, which starts to look very Ripley’s Longest Nails World Record (it’s gross, really). Once they’ve got the whole set adhered, they trim then file down to the shape and length you’d like. This is where the “fake nail” appearance comes from, and at first it feels really weird and the constant fear of ripping one off somewhat takes over your life (but only for a little while, trust me). Then, they essentially paint on layers of gel, curing briefly under a lamp in between layers. The final two layers are your chosen colour, which dries to a shiny finish.

Depending on how fast your nails grow, you’ll need to get a “refill” every two to three weeks ( I usually make it to three). This is usually significantly cheaper because they’re only redoing the gel layers, not the extensions. They simply file off the colour, clean behind the nail, and reapply the gels. So as you can imagine, as your nails grow out, the extensions get filed down and over time, the nail is no longer an extension but just your nail itself. For someone like me who can barely grow her nails, this is amazing, and I’m completely content with my results. Some say this destroys your nails, but if you’re diligent with the upkeep, you shouldn’t see any visible issues, just a consistent, neat manicure.

Anna Raponi

Anna gets her nails done at Beauty Tips and Spa in Oakville. 

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