Monday, February 3, 2014

Journey to natural nails

I love painted nails. I love getting tacky designs for holidays. But I hate the cost. I've been getting my nails done regularly (every 2-3 weeks) for the past few years.

At first I was doing shellac manicures, which I loved, but for whatever reason, the polish would still lift and I'd end up peeling it off. Don't do that. It's terrible for your nails. I LOVED my nail lady. She is a perfectionist, but also charged $50 for a shellac manicure, and I just couldn't justify paying that much when I would peel the polish off after a week or so. I still feel bad when I walk in to get my hair done and see her. I feel like I've cheated on her since I just stopped coming.

After stopping shellac, I took a break to let my natural nails grow back. As soon as they grew back,  I went to a new salon to get a gel overlay. I gradually became more and more curious because every time I went to the salon, it seemed like they were doing acrylic nail fills and then just slapping on a gel topcoat before painting my nails.

I was right.

Yesterday, while enjoying a lazy Sunday, I started to google the differences between gel nails, acrylic nails, gel overlays, etc. One article basically said that many salons try to scam you into thinking you are getting gel nails, when really it's the same acrylic with a gel topcoat. Anything in powder for is acrylic. DON'T BE FOOLED! I have been paying $10 extra for a gel fill vs an acrylic fill just to get a layer of gel on top of the acrylic. SUCH CRAP! I liked the look of the nails since they a chip proof, but they are also very thick and after 2 weeks, they are too long and I can't trim them without going back to the salon for a fill. At least I was paying $25 vs $50. And she great at doing fun designs.

Let's take a step back. Why was I all of a sudden doubting things? Well, I've always wondered how good or not so good getting your nails done was. With regular manicures, how clean are the tools? With acrylics, that scary drill can't be that great. It sure does make your natural nails super thin. And shellac…well it also made my nails thin, but that's because I peeled the polish off. Once again, a no-no. To top it off, people keep mentioning how the UV lights used to dry the shellac-style nails are no different than using a tanning bed. For the past several months, I've been following a girl on Instagram, "she's erica". She does nails in FL and is a pro at wacky nail art. Besides liking to see her designs, she also occasionally posts things about her client's nails and how nails should really look if you're going to a worthy salon. I would see her posts and think to myself "wow, my nails do not look that healthy". She refers to traditional nail salons as "chop shops". Everything they use is in a unlabeled container, so you really don't know what they are using. Many salons use ILLEGAL products because it's significantly cheaper, which is how these salons can keep their prices lower. This was sounding all too familiar. I was thinking of all of these things every time I went in for a fill and finally googled it. Once I came to realization that I had been scammed into paying $10 more for just a gel topcoat, I decided (yesterday) that I would no longer be getting my nails done regularly at the salon.

What I really wonder is why I can't just go to the salon and get the gel topcoat straight on my natural nails? I haven't asked, but instead I found a few products that I'm going to try at home. I'll do another blog post on that later.

In the meantime, I had to get rid of my current acrylics. Instead of going to salon to soak them off, I decided to trim them and repaint them until the grow out. Well that was yesterday. This morning I pulled them all off myself. Once again, DON'T DO THIS! My nails are super thin now. I watched some tutorials on how to paint your nails at home, and I actually didn't do a bad job! Now I need them to grow out to be healthy again, and then I'm going to buy some at home "gel topcoat" products to try and achieve an anti-chip mani at home.

Once that happens, I'll post more details! For now, here are a few pictures!

This was a shellac manicure from Halloween 2012:

This one (below) is acrylic with gel topcoat from Halloween 2013. Tacky, I know! :)

And this is the paint job I did today! This is actually my dominant hand, meaning I used my left hand to do it. I think it turned out pretty well! Should only get better with practice. The main trick…do not paint too close to the cuticle! That is how they look sloppy! BTW - this color is OPI - Linkin' Park After Dark. 

xoxo - Lauren

Saturday, February 1, 2014

My first post...!

So...I decided to start a blog! Hooray! 

For my first post, I'll share a little bit about me!

My name is Lauren. I'm 26. I live in Maryland with my husband, Jeff, and our sweet puppies, Henry (3 yr old golden retriever) and Alaina (7 year old beagle). The picture below is one of our engagement pictures, taken in October 2011. Time for some new family photos! Jeff and I are both from St. Charles, Missouri and grew up 15 minutes from each other. However, we didn't meet until college. We began dating our senior year and when I got a job in Maryland after graduation, he decided to come with me and we moved in together. He proposed in Las Vegas in August 2011, we got hitched on September 8, 2012, and bought our first house in May 2013. And here we are! My plan is to use this blog to document my DIY projects, travel adventures and other domestic things. I named the blog "technically domestic" because I live a nerdy, technical life in my day job in the computer security industry, but turn into a wannabe housewife during my evenings and weekends. :) Thanks for reading!