The unbreakable nail

That picture right there is a 5 week old manicure. (Ignore the dry cuticles… )
Say what, Amy?

Yeah, you heard me. See the way the bare nail is grown in right at the cuticle?

And if you know me, or have been reading this blog for a little while, you know: I’m rough on my hands. I teach 6 pole classes a week and generally take at least another 10 hours of pole class, flexibility, lyra, trapeze, dance, what have you. I wash dishes (though not as often as I should), carry heavy things, I use my hands. But that manicure up there? 5 weeks, no chips, no nothing. Only reason why I got a new manicure was because my nails were so freaking long I couldn’t take out my contacts safely any more.

When I’m taking or teaching a pole class, generally I’m trying to keep my hands as dry as possible. Well, this ends up wreaking absolute havoc on my skin and my nails. For a period of two years or so, I barely bothered to get manicures or do my nails, because they would always break, chip, or wear in just a day or two.

UNTIL! I found Calgel manicures.

Calgel is a Japanese-created UV-cured nail polish-type coating that is applied in a salon. Unlike acrylics, your real nails can breathe underneath the calgel so it doesn’t weaken your nails or allow bacteria (eeew) to grow. And also unlike acrylics, the layers of gel that they put on are thin and so it feels and looks like a regular manicure. They paint the layers on, then you cure them under a UV lamp- drying them instantly. No more smudges leaving the salon!

It lasts. Three weeks. NO CHIPS. NO WEAR. Nothing. Literally. And believe me, I’m super tough on my hands. I’ve gotten my pole friends into them and now we all get them since they’re so durable. If you get them done clear, you can put any color polish you want on top (doing polish changes with non-acetone remover) and the gel will protect your nails from breaking… so if you’re trying to grow your nails out, this is perfect! And because the product is a thin gel that is workable until it is cured under UV light, you can get all kinds of crazy patterns, designs and decals. Here are some of the manicures I’ve gotten in the past:

From left to right, top row: snow leopard (white and silver glitter spots on a grey gradient background), a very fine multicolor gradient on a light grey gradient. Second row: white lace (sticker) on top of a copper glitter french, a baby pink reverse french with hand-placed tiny pink hologram glitter. The picture all the way at the top of this entry was a reverse french in a neutral metallic with a reverse gradient in a matching glitter.

Right now Calgel is still a new process, and it isn’t widely available outside of major metropolitan areas, but it is becoming more popular. I go to Marie Nails or Sakura in NYC (Marie is less expensive but has been busier than Sakura lately). The lace manicure in the bottom left is the one I got most recently, and it cost about $60 dollars. A single color manicure starts at about $40. Wherever you go, keep a close eye on the process: the coats should be very thin, like nail polish, unless you’re getting crazy 3D nail art, and if you start getting lifting or peeling within a week, give the salon a call and they will usually repair it free. Common culprits of lifting manicures is often heat (bikram yoga or baths) or very oily hand lotion.

If you get a Calgel mani, feel free to post about your experience and send a picture! = )

Tomorrow’s post: Thursday tunes!…