The Business of Nails

As far as girls go, I’m a little high maintenance. I can say this definitively, having recently discovered I have more beauty appointments per month than social engagements.

I spend a solid hour getting ready in the mornings, and use so many different gadgets, lotions and potions that sometimes, I feel like I’m performing a series of magic tricks alone in my bathroom.


I’m not very good at it.

My most recent beauty obsession, however, is Shellac nail polish.


For those of you who aren’t familiar, Shellac is a manicure technique that gives the same effect as gel or acrylic nails, without all of the damage. It goes on your nails just like regular polish, and then is “cured” by sticking your hand inside a little UV light box for about two minutes after each coat.


When you’re done, you get a sweet manicure that lasts for up to two weeks.

Since Shellac was first launched about two years ago, a multitude of similar products have been released trying to capitalize on its success. The one I’ve been getting lately is called Artistic Nail Design. It has more colours than Shellac, a shorter drying period and uses an LED rather than UV light. (It still looks like a microwave to me.)

The shellac or shellac-type manicure is great for a few reasons:

  • It’s really shiny. What? Like you came here for deep thoughts.
  • It doesn’t chip. Somehow, I always seemed to chip my regular manicures within one hour of leaving the salon. This literally brought me to tears once. It had been a very long day.


  • It dries immediately. No more sitting around, watching TV on closed caption while you get yelled at to “be very very careful!!”

But Shellac also has its downsides. For example, I used to use my fragile lady nails as an excuse to get out of unwelcome/arduous tasks, like washing dishes, opening pop cans and placing keys on a key ring.

Like a modern day Lisa Turtle
Like a modern day Lisa Turtle

Now, at brunch, I have no choice but to open my own miniature jam and creamer packages myself.

The other downside to shellac is that you have to go back to the salon to get it removed.

Since it’s made from the blood of 8,000 glamour unicorns who sacrificed their souls in the name of beauty, it’s almost impossible to get off yourself. You have to go back to the salon, where they place little cotton balls soaked with acetone on your nails, wrap them in tinfoil, and let them soak.


I will admit, it sort of makes you feel like a crazy homeless person trying to pick up radio signals.

But just imagine how those poor unicorns felt.

Soon you’re done; and you’re sitting there looking at your jaundiced, scraggly-assed nails, when suddenly you spot the little plastic colour sampler on the table next to you. I didn’t know they had tturquoise! You think to yourself. That would totally go with the new circle scarf I got for Christmas!

……. And BAM. You’re $40 in the hole again.

In the words of the great Prophet MackLemore “I call that getting swindled and pimped”.

Yo! $50 for a manicure?
Yo! $50 for a manicure?

But you know what?


Because anyone who comes up with a kick-a$$ business strategy like that deserves the money we suckers pay.

I’ve been going through the whole shellac relationship cycle for about 8 months now; and while it’s ruining me financially, my nails have never looked better.

Currently, I am rocking this extremely professional shade of Easter Egg Purple:

Umm.. can you say promotion??

My nails have also been growing like weeds. I brought this up with my manicurist the other day, and she told me that your nails actually grow faster with nail polish on them. Apparently they don’t like foreign substances on top and try actively to “push it off” by growing.

I find this idea somewhat distressing. Here I thought my nails enjoyed being a fun, vibrant colour. I thought they appreciated the creative statement they were making. But apparently, I was wrong. They hate it so much, in fact, that they will their little nail hearts to grow at an accelerated pace just to be rid of it.

I’m not sure I can keep exploiting my nails like this. When it comes to the price of beauty, the buck’s gotta stop somewhere.

Question of the Day:

Ladies- Do you get your nails done regularly?

And in the unlikely event that any male reader has made it this far, first off, I apologize for the incredibly first-world-problem that was this post. Secondly, I applaud your resilience and tenacity.

So I will now ask you this:

Have You Ever had a manicure? Would you?


32 thoughts on “The Business of Nails

Add yours

  1. My nails are almost never naked, but I do my own manicures. Its not about how well you paint them, but how well you clean them up πŸ™‚ Have you thought about getting one of those kits where you can do your own gel manicures?


  2. I don’t get my nail done any more. Funny enough, I did more maintenance/prettiness stuff when I was university student. Most people are broke WHILE in university. Not me. I go against the grain. I’m broke NOW. So no more threaded brows and gel nail appointments.
    I had a kickass job for a few months (before the idiots there pissed me off and I peaced out), and it was near enough to a salon that I got hooked on shellac nails. It is a beautiful, beautiful thing. Someday, I will be back to it. But, DAMMIT, they need MORE COLOURS!


      1. I agree Shellac totally needs more colours! That’s why I like this artistic kind, it has way more!
        Sometimes I feel like I was a bit more of a spendthrift in University too.. especially when it came to booze and going out clothes lol


    1. Gob’s magic needs no explanation. It’s all around us. And it speaks for itself. PS did you hear they announced the new season is premiering in May? Can’t wait


  3. love it….let’s face it a manicured hand just looks so great so of course once we get hooked we keep it up. i love mani’s but they are just not working with my current life so i pedi and get a mani with clear polish –what i like it having my nails cleaned up by someone else. i do the shellac pedi when i go away but for some reasons it just doesn’t ‘gel’ with my nails. even with shellac i chip so i tend to bring my own polish so i can touch up. when i go a crazy colour i end up buying another bottle of polish so it ain’t a cheap habit–but one i try and keep up nevertheless. when i was preggers i had fab fab feet i pedi’d about every 3 weeks. keep up the good fight!!


    1. You totally deserve a pedi every 3
      Weeks when you’re pregnant. I think I would try to get one every day! I like the cleaning up aspect too.. When I do my nails myself they only look good from far away haha


    1. You’re welcome! Might I also suggest a lovely shade of greige? Perhaps “You Don’t know Jacques” by OPI. I think it would compliment your storm trooper helmet very well.


  4. I tried shellac for the first time recently, because I wanted to know how they’d hold up (considering my nails are constantly breaking, chipping, cracking, etc., etc. in daily life/work) and was pretty impressed. Plus they looked fantastic. I moved apartments with shellac on and there was not one chip in sight until about a week later (which was 2 or 3 weeks after the manicure). Unfortunately, considering I have a terribly long day scheduled every day of the week, and the closest vaguely affordable nail salon in my area is 30 minutes away, the manicure has either chipped off or grown out so there’s just tiny spots of shellac left. My nails are definitely stronger than they were though. That’s the other thing about them, they supposedly make your nails stronger, and that seems to be the case. I think they are positive. And definitely better than acrylic.


    1. I agree, my nails are stronger too! I have never gotten acrylic but part of me has always wanted to get one of those crazy ones you see at salons sometimes.. You know, about 5 inches long with 6 colors and jewels on each one, as well as a picture of a cat?


  5. I’m currently addicted to shellac, it is so fun! I never used to get my nails painted because I knew they’d look like garbage in two days. It is like a whole new colourful world has opened up to me. There’s a place on Dundas W that does them for $20!


  6. Wow, mind blown! I had no idea my nails didn’t like my new gold polish as much as I did. Here I thought they were growing longer so that I could apply more?! No wonder they have slowed down since I took it off. Little buggers.


  7. If I’m lucky, I get a $15 haircut maybe 3 times a year…that’s it…and yet Hubby still accuses me of being “high maintenance”…since when is asking him to do something around the house classify me as “high”! I should add up your nail costs alone so that next time the accusations fly – I have ammunition! Ha!


  8. Haha! Hilarious, as per usual =P

    Love the nails and that colour, but I’m pretty disastrous at getting my nails did. Just don’t have the perseverence to keep up the maintenance! I fail at being a girl *bows head in shame*


    1. Um I think thats ok since you are pretty much amazing at everything else? Singing, playing the guitar, portaging, going on crazy hiking adventures.. let me take care of the nails for both of us πŸ™‚


  9. I don’t know if we have this stuff in NZ. Looks amazing. I am waaay too lazy with fingernail polish, I crack it out once a year on special ocassions. Toenails though – for sure. Seems to last forever!


  10. I’ve been a slave to Shellac for a couple of years now. Sadly, I had to take a break because my nails were drying out. The polish started popping off and during the most inappropriate times. Once I lost one while mixing up ravioli filling for a dinner party. I never did find the little bugger. 😦


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