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"Salon nails" explained

Updated on March 12, 2012

Beauty regimes

Nowadays, more and more of us are conscious of how we look. We may go to tanning salons for that perfect sun-kissed skin, visit beauty salons for waxing, eyebrow shaping/tinting, facials, make up applications, and we book hair appointments for every 6 weeks or so, to ensure that our locks are looking at their best. What about our hands?

Hand care

Our poor hands always seem to get neglected, yet they do so much for us. Way down in the beauty stakes are our hands, although they are always on show. I'm one of those people who are guilty of forgetting about hand care. Yes, I occasionally file them, apply nail polish on once in a while and buy the odd tub of hand cream that is put in the cupboard never to be seen again!

Gel nails being cured under a UV light
Gel nails being cured under a UV light

Take a trip to a nail salon

Why not visit your local nail salon or nail bar and give your hands and nails a treat? There are so many different options available that it can become a difficult and confusing time, which is why I have tried to simplify the choices as best I can:

Traditional manicure - This is quite a soothing and relaxing treatment and usually involves hydrating cremes and oils being applied to your hands and nails and then massaged into the skin. The cuticules will be cared for and nails filed and shaped. A range of coloured polishes are available to choose from and applied. After a manicure, your hands should feel soft and smooth and hydrated, while your nails will look stunning.

Acrylic Nails - These are pre-formed nails or tips that are bonded with a special glue to your own existing nail. Your own nails have to be filed to ensure that they stick successfully to the acrylic. They instantly lengthen your nails, and can be removed by placing your fingers in acetone and soaking them to loosen the glue.

Gel Nails - These are an enhancement to your own nails rather than known as false nails. It involves thin layers of gel being sculpted on top of your own nails. A UV light is used to ensure that the gel bonds with your own nail. You can get full gel nails at the salon or just the tips done. It is a great way to get your natural nails in good condition as they will grow stronger with the gel enhancement. They look much more natural than the acrylic nails and are removed by using an electric file.

Hybrid gels - This is a combination of nail polish and UV gel polish, applied straight from the bottle and cured under a UV light. It has a high gloss finish, is less prone to chipping and lasts for around 14 days. Removal is by soaking them.

Nail finishes

There are lots of nail finish options that it can be a difficult decision to make. With all the colours to choose from, there is guaranteed to be one that you like. You can choose to contrast a few colours together on your nails or opt for just one colour. Little gems can be added for a special occasion or just to add a bit of sparkle. Visit a nail bar for a glam session and let your hands do the talking.


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    • jacqui2011 profile image

      jacqui2011 6 years ago from Norfolk, UK

      @ alexadry - I know what you mean. I only really get mine done for special occasions. I'm a nursery nurse and we are not allowed really long nails when looking after the babies. It would be lovely to have perfect nails all the time, but its just not practical. Thanks for stopping by.

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 6 years ago from USA

      I really cannot afford nice nails due to my profession of training dogs, but I really envy those that do!

    • jacqui2011 profile image

      jacqui2011 6 years ago from Norfolk, UK

      @ fastfreta - The hybrid nails sound amazing and longer lasting day to day. I usually get a voucher for the nail salon as part of my Christmas, so I hope Santa remembers again this year!! Thanks for the vote up.

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 6 years ago from Southern California

      Hey jacqui2011, thanks for the info. I've been thinking about getting my nails done again. I used to have acrylic, however with the explanation of the other types, I think I will investigate, especially the hybrid nails. Very good, voted up, useful.

    • jacqui2011 profile image

      jacqui2011 6 years ago from Norfolk, UK

      Thank you Cloverleaf, I appreciate your comments.

    • Cloverleaf profile image

      Cloverleaf 6 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      jacqui2011, some great information here on the different types of manicures available.

    • jacqui2011 profile image

      jacqui2011 6 years ago from Norfolk, UK

      @ Case1worker - I know what you mean. Some of the acrylic nails are great fun, but they damaged my natural nails underneath. They are only now getting back to normal.

      @ Pinkchic18 - Gel nails certainly are the better alternative, a little more expensive but definitely worth it.

    • Pinkchic18 profile image

      Sarah Carlsley 6 years ago from Minnesota

      Very interesting, i didn't know there were this many options! I had gel nails most recently for my wedding and they are such a good alternative to acrylic. Acrylic would have drove me crazy!

    • CASE1WORKER profile image

      CASE1WORKER 6 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      I used to have my nails done every two weeks at a nail bar but when I lost my job I did them at home. The acryllic nails are fun but can destroy your nails if you use them for a long time! Added to that my vietnamese was not that good, so i sometimes got a few mistakes!

    • jacqui2011 profile image

      jacqui2011 6 years ago from Norfolk, UK

      Thanks for reading and for your comments. I hadn't heard about hybrids til recently. They sound good, especially if they don't chip easily and last a bit longer.

    • applecsmith profile image

      Carrie Smith 6 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      I didn't know about gel nails, or hybrids. I've always been apprehensive of using fake tips or chemicals on my nails, but those sound like great alternative options! This makes me want to treat myself to a manicure at the nail salon.

      Thanks for sharing. Voted up and awesome!