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Goodbye to Bad Nail Days

Chipped and bitten nails are no more a problem with the invention of nail extensions which are as good as natural nails

There was a time when manicures were restricted to those who had the capacity to grow their nails long enough for them to be worked on. There is nothing more feminine than a perfectly filed set of nails bearing that smooth sheen of lacquer, but much to our dismay, not many of us have the tendency to grow our nails – thanks to the dreadful nail biting habit or even worse, brittle nail texture. To zero down the worry lines, Botox was invented. For a perfectly aquiline nose, rhinoplasty was invented. So why not have an impeccably manicured pair of hands without having to go through the trouble of growing nails? Cosmetology has wheezed down to salons offering a plethora of nail extension services, which are relatively long lasting, natural looking and of course reasonable on the wallet.

Acrylic Nail Extensions
Due to innovation in the field of nail extension, there are plenty of other alternatives now available which are safer for your nails but acrylic continues to be the popular nail extension technique and with regular care and maintenance, it is probably the best choice. “An acrylic full set will take anywhere between an hour to an hour and a half,” says Gajalakshmi, nail technician at Oryza Rejuvenation Day Spa, Chennai. Acrylic is the sturdiest material used and also the thickest, nevertheless a qualified nail technician will be able to file the nail to the length you prefer and can make it look thin.

In every nail extension procedure, the cuticles are first pushed down using an orange stick, so that when the nails are stuck from below, they look as natural as possible. “After pushing down the cuticles, the nail surfaces including the edges are buffed a bit. The rough texture makes it easier to stick the plastic nails,” says Gajalakshmi. Depending on whether you want to get just a nail tip or an overlay, the nail technician first attaches a false plastic nail tip to the edge of your own nails with a nail adhesive and then nips it down to the desired size. Then, the acrylic, which is a mix of powder and liquid solution, is applied to the nail from the nail bed to the end of the tip, which is then layered until the appropriate thickness. The nail technician then files down the nail surface and then the nail shape to either oval, round or square. “After the nails are buffed to perfection, you can either go in for a nail oil application or a gel application – the latter comes with an additional cost,” says Gajalakshmi. Your nails are then ready for polishing.

When the nail has grown over the weeks and a gap is formed from the cuticle to the edge of the acrylic that was previously at the nail bed, you will need to visit the salon to get the gap refilled with acrylic or if you want to remove them, you can ask the nail technician to safely take you through the correct method of soaking your nails in acetone and gently buffing it off.

Gel Nail Extensions
Relatively, gel nails are gentler on natural nails as there is no need for extensive buffing of the nail. The gel which is used is a component that strengthens and promotes growth of natural nails,” says Gajalakshmi. This method uses a substance that is applied to the nail and your hands then go under a UV lamp. Gel nails can be sculpted to your liking and they give a delicate impression rather than a bulky one, as it tends to be thicker in the middle to give it strength.

Choosing gel nails involves no drilling, dust or the smell that other nail applications have. Gel nails are more expensive than acrylic nails but the telltale signs of refills are less evident because the nail looks very natural at the nail bed rather than an obvious elevation. Gel nails last longer and are more durable as they are flexible. In time, the gel will shrink making it water durable and resistant.

Within the gel and acrylic nail extension techniques, some elite spas offer an array of nail extension services to suit every customer’s requirement. From French nails to glitter, confetti and natural nails there are different forms of nails available to appease to the tastes of the wearer. If either of these methods seem a little too expensive, you can always opt for the prescription nails, which are not as permanent but still have a natural effect.

Guide to Maintenance Post Nail Extension

  • Do not soak the nails in water for too long
  • When cleaning dishes or washing clothes, try and use gloves
  • Use cuticle oil 2-3 times a day to nourish your nails properly
  • If possible, avoid opening boxes or any other utensils using your nails
  • Never pull or yank these nails as it applies unwanted pressure on your natural nails
Salon Courtesy: Oryza Rejuvenation Day Spa, 46/1, Chamiers Road,Chennai -600 028. Ph: +91 44 42110930/40.

While the jury is still out on the plusses and minuses of this latest product to emerge from the cosmeceutical stables, women (and men) continue to jab themselves to instant beauty.
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