Sunday, 24 November 2013

Manicures - Acrylics, Gels and Shellac

This is a different post for me. I don't often review nail products or manicures because I don't paint my nails. For years now I have been getting fortnightly manicures by a local nail technician. Over the years I have tried many different products and styles and have become a bit of an expert! In a recent #bbloggers chat I was answering some questions on general manicure knowledge and decided to write this post, a mini guide to getting your nails done.

Where to go
When I first started getting my nails done I went to various salons and nail bars, trying to find someone I really liked. I came across some mobile technicians on Facebook and booked a few to come to my house. Eventually I found a girl who did exactly what I wanted, had great prices and was great to chat to - it can take 2 hours so good chat is a must! I have now been going to the same girl for over 2 years, either at my house or hers. Mobile technicians or people working from home are much cheaper as they don't have salon rent to pay. I like staying with the same person because she has come to know what I like and what suits me. 

Acrylic nails gets a bad rep. They are thought to be the worst for your natural nail and they look more false than others. Personally I didn't have too much of a problem with mine. I like how hard wearing they are and they definitely last longer than any other manicure. They do damage your natural nails but so do gels if you get them too often. For me the worst part of acrylics is the time it takes to remove them! Removal can be very costly mainly because of the time it takes! I also always found my cuticles would be red raw from all the filing down! 


Gel nails can be applied as an extension or as an overlay. All of the above pictures are of gel extensions, some using tips and some sculpted. The French manicure is hand painted onto a clear tip rather than a white tip being used. I prefer this as it looks more natural. The bottom picture are a set of gel extensions with a Shellac Hot Pop Pink top coat. 

Gel extensions are my manicure of choice when my nails are up to it. They are hard wearing, I have mine for 2 weeks and then have infills which last a further 2 weeks. Occasionally I can lose an individual nail but usually they stay intact for the whole time. It takes around 2 hours to apply these and then around 30 minutes of filing and soaking to remove. I have to be honest and say that they do affect your natural nails. A break is very advisable to let your nail beds breath but personally I don't take my own advice on that! My nails are left paper thin and can be quite red under the nail. The more damaged your nail bed, the less time your gels will last so it's really a good idea to give them a break. 


Shellac has been very popular recently. It is the cheapest of the manicures, takes under an hour to apply and can last up to 2 weeks. How long Shellac lasts on my nails really does vary. The good thing about Shellac is that it doesn't damage your nails in the way gels do. It can leave them a little dry but not thin. If my nails are in good condition, my shellac will last 2 weeks. If not then it will start to chip around day 7 or 8. There are some gorgeous colours available and it also makes a great pedicure, lasting for ages on the toes. 

Removal of shellac is easy and takes only 10 minutes. It can easily be done at home meaning that no extra appointment at the salon is needed. All you need to do is soak your nails in acetone for 5-10 minutes then use an orange stick to push away the product.

Recently I have been getting a layer of Brisa Lite under my Shellac to help it last longer. This is basically a very thin gel which only needs one coat but should increase the durability. With both I will get nearly 3 weeks from my nails! 

Personally I think you can't beat a French manicure! However I do like to mix it up to stop boredom. I am a big fan of accent nails - having a different design applied to the ring finger - and tend to get them on most manicures. I like glitter accent nails and always go for real glitter pushed onto the nail rather than a glitter polish because it looks so much nicer. 

As I have said, breaks from artificial nails are a must! Cuticle oil is another crucial step and can help your product last longer as well as keep your nails and cuticles in good condition. It sounds obvious but we careful not to use your nails for anything! By this I mean no opening cans or removing pins from the wall! As my nail technician says - 'they are not a tool'! Always wear rubber gloves when washing dishes as over soaking makes the nail lift. 

The Downside of Gorgeous Nails 
You can't open cans or tins.
It's hard to get the pound out of shopping trollies.
Typing your PIN number in is a challenge.
People don't think you work hard.
Vaseline and body butter gets right underneath them.
If you attempt to apply false lashes, you stab yourself. 
It's tough to pull up super tight leggings.
You can't get the caps off to do your tyre pressure. 
Buttons are a challenge.
Fastening a necklace is a no no. 

I hope this was helpful! If you have any questions then feel free to leave them in the comment box below :) 



  1. I've just had extensions applied after years of not having them. I love the way they look and agree with every point about what you can't do when you have them! lol ;)

    1. I'm having overlays just now to take some of the pressure off my nails but back to extensions next week!!!! X

  2. I really want to give Shellac a go, for me they look the most natural x
    Beautyqueenuk xx

    1. Yeah aw yeah they def do! Usually the cheapest too x

  3. I've always wanted to try Shellac - I love how natural it looks! x


    1. you should totally try it - it's great :)


I read every comment and will reply if you have a question :)