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First Time Having Acrylic Nails

Updated on May 29, 2018
Ricki-Lee Keeley profile image

Ricki-Lee has been taking some time this year to try new things whilst keeping journal entries to reflect on and share these experiences.

Pretty Xx
Pretty Xx | Source

TLDR

As a chronic nail biter, I've never had long nails before! Not even real ones. So as a special treat for my 23rd Birthday this year I decided to spoil myself and splurged on a manicure, pedicure, and acrylic nails. This is the story of my initial impressions of a nail salon and subsequent experiences every few weeks. I'd have to say with a cheeky smile that I became accustomed to the luxury of it all very quickly.

First Time at a Nail Salon

My first visit to a nail salon.
My first visit to a nail salon. | Source

The Initial Hype

During my first experience at a nail salon, I was too scared to try acrylic nails. Mainly due to all the ways I'd heard that they can damage your natural nails. So I decided to go for shellac instead, a stronger than nail polish gel that sets instantly.

That first experience was exciting, I wanted to know what all the tools did, asked lots of questions despite the language barrier inhibiting comprehension on both ends. It was a lot of fun, I loved the colour, staff, and general ambience of the salon.

However, after finding out (after the fact) just how hard shellac is to remove, I figured acrylic nails really couldn't do much worse. I was both right and wrong about that as you'll soon discover.

Luxurie Becomes Normal

So although my first experience of a nail salon was curiosity-inducing, exciting and euphoric. The second was not quite the same, to say the least.

First Time with Acrylic Nails

Manicure and pedicure with polish.
Manicure and pedicure with polish. | Source

Not So Hyped Anymore

Deciding to treat myself for my 23rd Birthday this year I went ahead and made an appointment to get a manicure, pedicure, and acrylic nails. The morning was chill as, a shopping spree, followed by a trip to my favourite coffee shop, then off to the salon to pick a colour. But soon enough the differences from the first time versus this time started to become obvious.

Gloria Jeans Tim Tam Chiller & Nail Colour

Treat and pamper.
Treat and pamper. | Source

Pretty in Pink

First time with Acrylic nails.
First time with Acrylic nails. | Source

So Spoilt

Although my first time was very wow this is awesome and new. My mental dialogue during the second experience was far from the same. The wait time from the first to second time wasn't different but I was far more impatient, thinking;

  • "Why are they taking so long"
  • "Where the seats always this slanted forward"
  • "Can they hurry up, I'm cold"

The lady who did my acrylic nails kept digging into my hand with her nails but at this point I'm still too polite to say anything and just went with it. In the end I was happy with the finished product. Even if I didn't yet know that it was a really poorly done job. How was I meant to know? New at this and all.

On top of all that I learnt quickly that you can't touch anything for at least half an hour after having nail polish applied. Setting spray or otherwise! So shopping done.

Shellac Versus Nail Polish

Shellac is stronger, longer lasting and sets instantly under a UV or LED light. Bottom line, if you have a choice, Shellac is the best option!

Longer Than I've Ever Experienced

Now they may not look very long but it was certainly an adjustment for me. I could feel the pressure difference for days, wondering if that feeling would ever become less prominent. I couldn't touch type anymore because my nails would get in the way. And I didn't know how much pressure I could put on them opening things because I was still worried I might snap them.

Fast forward to less than a week later. I could touch type again (albeit with an adjusted angle). The pressure feeling became unnoticeably normal and I'd learnt the nails where strong enough to withstand almost anything.

Broke a Nail

First time I've broken a nail and it didn't even hurt. It had become lose a few days before and I intended to have it repaired the following day anyway. Helping move a filing cabinet my nail nicked the floor and came straight off. So I'm now thinking breaking a nail doesn't hurt (yeah right!).

Better Service and Discovering New Things

A lighter pink with a twist #ColourChanging.
A lighter pink with a twist #ColourChanging. | Source

Repaired for Free

The following day during my second visit to the salon that did my first acrylic nails, I was informed that the nails shouldn't have broken anywhere as easily as it did. They fixed it for nothing and made some adjustments to the rest of my nails to make sure they would stay secure. The lady that did them this time was much gentler and overall neater. Highlighting how poor of a job was done the first time.

This time I wasn't messing around with Nail Polish and went straight for Shellac.

Another main difference between this visit versus the previous one was that I wasn't as shy if I didn't like any aspect of how my nails were being done. I spoke up straight away. Better to have it done right the first time right?

Discovering Colour Changing Nails

During this second appointment, I overheard another lady choosing a colour a few seats down and the guy doing her nails warn her that they change colour. She rubbed the demo nail and sure enough, it changed colour. This spiked my interest and when it came to selecting a colour myself I asked him to point out which ones change.

I went with a light pink to dark pink colour. Light pink when it's hot, Dark pink when it's cold. Then proceded to brag about this for days because it's something I'd never seen before. Even know the change was almost too subtle to notice.

Colour Change Round Two, New Salon!

Best colour changing nails!
Best colour changing nails! | Source

Trying a New Salon

Although the staff I encountered on my last visit were friendlier than the one before, I decided to try a new place this time. Initial reactions confirmed it was only luck that I didn't have the same experience at both places. Another lady whose nails were almost finished was loudly complaining about the nail technicians nails digging into her wrist. Though the one who did mine I have no complaints about. They didn't have as large of a selection of colour changing nails but they did have a better overall ambience. And the colour change was pleasingly much much more dramatic.

I went with what I thought was a dark and light purple this time. But when my hands went under the LED light my nails turned bright pink! I'm not complaining at all!

Comparing the Differences

 
1st Time (Shellac)
2nd Time (Acrylic)
3rd Time (Mood Magic)
4th Time (New Salon)
Hype
High
Average
Minimal
None
Waiting Time
Long
Long
Average
Short
Salon
Red and Black Decor
Plain Black Decor
Plain Black Decor
White and Bamboo Decor
Staff
Friendly
Snobbish
Helpful
Indifferent
Rate Experience
10 Stars
5 Stars
6 Stars
7 Stars

Tiny Tip

I thought Acrylic Nails would be just as damaging to my natural nails as Shellac, but I've found if you catch your nail on something and it pulls at your natural nail cause blood blisters underneath.

Not unmanageable but an extra caution.

Take care all.

Summary

So it seems as you've all probably found with a lot of other things that luxury becomes the norm really quickly. Even a necessity as is often the case with airconditioning. Shaking things up by trying new places seems to help. But more importantly never be afraid to try new things. All too often I get caught up in over thinking to even try. This has been an experience. And even if parts didn't seem to work out so well, lesson learnt, experience gained.

Overall I've enjoyed the process of getting my nails done regularly. I'll keep exploring different salons at least until I'm confident I've broken my nail-biting habit. Maybe one day I'll be able to shellac my naturally long nails!? Who knows. Leave any questions in the comments section and I'll be happy to answer as best I can.

Cheers.

Ricki-Lee K

Feedback Time

Has this article increased your confidence and or curiosity to try acrylic nails?

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© 2018 Ricki-Lee Keeley

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