Jul 26, 2013

Manicures: What you need to know

It's so nice to take the time to treat oneself to a proper manicure.  Salons offer not only a range of manicure options, but also product options.  This post is to help you decide what manicure services are best for you and how to guarantee you are getting what you're asking, and paying, for.

At Perfumes Plus we offer manicures with regular nail polish, a UV top coat for regular polish, and Shellac gel polish.  We also remove both regular and Shellac polish.

1.  Pay attention to the products being used.
There are a plethora of brands and products in the Aesthetics industry - not all are created equal.
Here we will go through some of the most widely used options and what to look for when having them applied.

Shellac.  Shellac is a trademarked gel polish from the brand CND.  When you ask specifically for a Shellac Manicure, you should see the actual CND Shellac bottles, as shown below:
Knowing the actual product you've had applied is key.  We see people come in regularly asking to have their Shellac removed and after we start the appointment realize it is not Shellac, they were just told it was.  If you see something other than what you've requested ask why.  A salon that's just hoping you didn't notice is not the salon for you.  If the salon prefers to use a different brand of Gel Polish just make sure to ask what the particular brand & product is, and what the removal process is.  Ask for a card with these details written down so you can show the nail technician  if you go to another salon to have the product removed or if you want the same product applied again.  

There are many excellent Gel Polishes on the market. All Gel Polishes, including Shellac, need to be cured under a UV Lamp after each step (base, colour, top) and need to be professionally removed.  If you see a powder being added it is NOT Shellac or Gel Polish. Only Acrylic nails use a powder in the application process. If your nails are prone to peeling and flaking then gel polishes may not be the best option for your nails.  The removal process for gel polishes can be drying as pure acetone is used, and even those with normal, healthy nails need to have cuticle oil or cream regularly applied to maintain proper moisture.  We often recommend applying Shellac for vacations or special occasions but not for continuous, week after week, wear.  Regular nail polish manicures in between Shellac manicures seem to produce the best results.

*Gel Nails. Gel Nails are a popular option for those who want extra length and durability.  They are completely different than a Gel Polish like Shellac.  A tip is adhered to the nail to add length and then filed and buffed for a smooth finish with your natural nail before the Gel is applied.  When having Gel applied it is painted on with a nail brush from a pot of colour.  If you see a powder being added it is NOT Gel. Only Acrylic nails use a powder in the application process.
Gel Nails need to be "filled" regularly and need to be professionally removed. Gel nails are most commonly removed by filling (manually or with electric dremel) or buffing.  Over time this can be very hard on your natural nail.  Gel Nails are different then Gel Polish like Shellac and only salons that offer Gel Nails can properly remove them safely and efficiently.

*Gel Overlay.  This is when the gel is applied to your natural nail; no tips to lengthen are added.  This is great if you want long lasting colour and don't need length.  A Gel Overlay is still cured under a UV Lamp and needs to be filled or buffed for removal, just like Gel Nails.  Gel Overlays are different then Gel Polish like Shellac and only salons that offer Gel Nails can properly remove them safely and efficiently.


Soak-Off Gel. Soak-Off Gel is different from both Gel Nails and Gel Polish.  It is hybrid of the two options. It is cured under a UV Lamp and needs to be professionally removed.  While it is 'soak-off' it is not the same product as Shellac or other gel polishes.  It is best to have it removed at the same salon it was applied.      OPI Axxium Soak-Off Gel shown right.


UV Top Coats. UV Top Coats have been around for years but are just recently becoming more mainstream due to major industry advances.  They are applied as a top coat over regular nail polish and then cured under a UV Lamp.  They provide a longer wear than regular polish alone and offer long-lasting high gloss shine.  Manicures that have been sealed with a UV Top Coat are dry to the touch instantly and can be safely removed at home with regular nail polish remover; no removal appointment at a salon is required.  Because no soaking is required for removal this is an excellent option for those who find the Shellac or Gel Nails removal process too damaging on their nails.

2.  Know what you are booking.  
If you are unsure about what's included in a service just ask - the receptionist or Aesthetician/Nail Tech will be able to explain everything included in the treatment and the approximate amount of time it will take - this will help you choose the service that's best for you.   

3.  Don't make last minute changes.
If you want to change the appointment, or add something on, make sure to call ahead.  A french manicure takes more time than a regular manicure, a pedicure takes longer than a manicure; if you surprise your Aesthetician with a request they may not have adequate time before the next client or the results could be disappointing because they rushed to try and accommodate the change.  

4.  Polish removal takes time, especially Shellac. 
It's always best to mention if you already have polish on when booking a manicure, that way the receptionist can leave a little extra time for the removal. Also, be sure to mention if you have Shellac on your nails.  Shellac takes between 10 - 15 minutes to remove and is considered a separate service in most salons.

5. Don't be afraid to speak up.
If you have a question or are unsure about something your Aesthetician/Nail Tech is doing speak up. Any reputable salon will want you to be satisfied with your service and that includes being heard and understood. A good Aesthetician is one who is passionate about what they do and is happy to share knowledge that can improve your experience in the salon and maintenance at home.

*Gel Nails, Gel Overlays, Soak -Off Gel & the removal of Gel Nails, Gel Overlays or Soak-Off Gel are not services provided at Perfumes Plus.