Look at My Nails! Custom ManiQ Manicure

Cosmetics technology advances at an incredible rate. I know you guys have heard of acrylic nails. You’ve probably also heard of gel manicures (like Calgel) and — the latest breakthrough — gel-polish hybrids (like Shellac by CND). These options are tougher (longer lasting), more expensive, and not as DIY as regular polish. But in addition to their multi-week weartime, gel and gel-hybrids let you create nail looks impossible with ordinary polish.

When I was in New York for Fashion Week, I met up with fellow blogger and professional nail tech Solessence — and she asked me if I’d like her to do my nails. Heck yeah!

Hillary doesn’t just offer excellent manicures; she also specializes in “after-market” upgrades, like glitter. If I was going to step up my manicure in terms of technology, I wanted to do something I COULDN’T do with regular polish. I decided to go for full-on glitter.

Hillary used a gel-polish hybrid called maniQ (by Young Nails). I have naturally peely nails, and Miss H said she’d found flexible maniQ to work well for splitting or peeling nails. She buffed my nails lightly to get rid of any peeling, pushed my cuticles back, then got to work.

She applied base coat, two coats of dark blue (Blue 101), then dusted my nails with very fine iridescent glitter (craft store? MAC glitter? I don’t actually know).  Finally, she applied a top coat to seal it all and make it smooth. After each coat of varnish, I stuck my hand in a UV lightbox to cure. The process took an hour and a half in all (including our myriad color tests), and the results were DAZZLING.

You’ve never seen a manicure that looked so precisely like a mermaid’s tail. The glitter rainbowed down to blue at an obtuse angle, up to yellow-green-with-a-bit-of-orange at an acute angle. Something about a gel-hybrid topcoat makes glitters insanely sparkly — they’re clearer and brighter and blingier than you would have thought possible. People walked across the room to ask me what was on my nails. And it was really nice to wake up every day with my manicure looking as perfect and shiny as if I’d just had it done.

I peeled labels off things and pried my way into boxes fearlessly. This stuff is STRONG. After three weeks I had one tiny chip on my thumb.

Naturally, your nails will grow in 2-3 weeks. I tried not to think about the growth too much, and resisted the urge to push back my cuticles. Honestly, the manicure was so blingy, I don’t think anyone really noticed (or they were nice enough not to say).

Hillary advised me not to clip or file my nails (as that would risk breaking the seal). Unfortunately, I wear contacts, and at some point my nails just got too long. I did my usual clip-and-glass-file and didn’t have any problems (my nails weren’t difficult to clip or shape, and it didn’t seem to affect the manicure at all).

Hillary/Solessence lives in Wisconsin, so if you also live in Wisconsin and you’d like her to do your nails, give her a call:

Hillary Fry
Harpo’s Classical & Innovative
5585 N. Diversey Blvd
Whitefish Bay, WI 53217

Her gel manicures start at $35.

Finally, in order to write a proper article about the experience, I needed to document the removal process. I called Young Nails, and they explained that my options were either to go to a salon and have the manicure filed off (yikes!) or soak my fingers in acetone. They suggested using the foil method (soaking a cotton ball, positioning it over the nail, then wrapping it in aluminum foil to hold it in place) — they said 10 minutes ought to get it off.

Ten minutes did not get it off. I can only assume that my glitter choice made the removal process more complicated, but getting my fingernails clean was a long and traumatic process. I ended up soaking my fingertips in straight acetone for 20-30 minutes at a time (via the foil method, in multiple sessions across several days).  Soaking made the polish brittle, and then I could scrape/chip it off with a fingernail… but scraping too aggressively was damaging.

Maybe the removal process would have been easier if I’d gone to a salon. My takeaway is that gel-hybrids yield dazzling results… but I think I’ll get it done on my toes next time.

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Share this Post:
Digg Google Bookmarks reddit Mixx StumbleUpon Technorati Yahoo! Buzz DesignFloat Delicious BlinkList Furl

8 Responses to “Look at My Nails! Custom ManiQ Manicure”

  • Phyrra says:

    LOVE the look of your nails! Gorgeous!

  • Georgina says:

    it does remind me of a mermaid’s tail! (even before i read the part where you said so) the glitters look wonderful and mesmerizing, beautiful mani! but the removal sounds like a nightmare to me! hehehe

  • Karla, what a beautiful writeup! Thank you. Technology is moving at blinding speeds. I wish you had asked me about the take off, I was kind of wondering where you were with that. I do highly recommend salon removal – someone trained will be able to take off in faster time with no damage.

    That said, Young Nails maniQ colors is a flexible gel product and has a fussier removal process. I don’t find the glitter really extends it, it is just the nature of the product. We primarly went with this because of the blue base. YN had provided products for me and were pretty excited when I shared your look and the glitter technique which they hadn’t seen. Just a note, I have a post coming on this but I’ve used my glitter technique with CND Shellac (the only gel-hybrid on the market, it is patented) since they came out April of last year and the removal is easy peasy, no damage. That is truly a 10 minute takeoff, no hype.

    Thanks again for letting me do your lovely, lovely nails (perfect, really) and so happy you enjoyed them. xo

  • Wow, your nails are absolutely gorgeous! It reminds me of tiny creatures phosphorescing in ocean water. I would seriously consider doing this but the removal process (more like ordeal!) scares me. I have no patience and would end up wrecking my nails.

  • Hey Karla,

    I work at a nail salon and have my manicurist license for a while now. We refuse to use the new gel technology on customers with real nails because of the issue of removing it. Not only that but it also ruins the nail bed because the gel hardens after the UV light and so the nail bed has to bend with the gel in order to firm and dry. Buffering or filling the gel off is actually the only way to remove the gel properly.This will also remove layers of your nail bed and make your nails more sensitive until that part grows out. 100% acetone will not do the trick either unless u want to dry every drop of moisture from your fingers for about 1 hour.

    I’m so sorry u had this experience and hope your nails are doing better. I’d just stick to nice manicures and maybe buffing them shiny for a natural look. Polish is the nicest way to get fancy too. Sometimes the best is just simply doing the simplest to our nails.

  • Hi Jennifer,

    I need to add that it is incorrect information to put out that “new gel technology…ruins nail beds” and that filing it off is the “only way to remove properly”.

    Which new technology? Flexible gel? Soak off gel? Gel polish? Gel polish hybrid? Hard gel?

    You get the point.

    Results vary by product, performance, wear time, application/removal procedures and original nailbed health/problems. If you are not using these products, how do you know how they perform? There are too many issues to cover in a comment section. As a nail tech and beauty blogger myself I repeatedly test and use a wide range of products, and a blanket statement like that is simply not correct. It’s great that you have the best interest of the client in mind, it is what we should be focused on, but it is harmful to add fear when there shouldn’t be any. It’s all about proper product selection and technique. In this case, I am very surprised Young Nails recommended filing off a soakable gel (the whole reason for soakable gels is to avoid an electric nail file) and also suggested she try removal at home. As an acrylic heavy company I’m thinking that *as trained technicians* they are thinking it is faster for them to file off. The new gel products may be in a bottle that looks like nail polish, but it is not for home use. I get multiple calls from nail techs each month that ask for help – imagine the uninitiated consumer? There is still training involved to really enjoy the benefits that come with wearing and removing the variety of new gel technologies out there.

  • ashlayton says:

    Republished from my comment on a nail forum at KarlaSugar’s request. Some additional information about the difference between CND Shellac and OPI Axxium:

    shellac is made by cnd and it a polish gel hybrid. it comes in a bottle like nail polish and paints on like a np but cures in a uv light. OPI axxium is a soak off color (same principle) but it is painted on like a gel cause it is a gel. it comes in a little tub. both are cured in a uv light. both are said to last very long. i personally prefer shellac. opi chipped too easily for me. but people have luck with both.

    also the opi color range are named after and inspired by their np cousins (ydkj lpad) but do not exactly match whereas the cnd cousins of the shellac colors match exactly.

    also manicurists have ‘roughed up’ my nails before the opi, but cnd states that that is unnecessary for shellac.

  • I do youngnails gel polish all th time. You have to file the shine off the nail before soaking. Then when you start to remove, you cannot take all cotton off at once. Only each as you work. As soon as its out of the acetone, it starts to re harden. 10 min every time with NO damage to the nail EVER!

  • Name (required):
    Email address (will not be published) (required):
    Comment (required):
    XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>