If you don’t know it yet, you soon will–I am a nail addict. When I have cash available, my favorite splurge is a manicure. When my pockets are empty, I do my own happily. Nail polish at the house of Jensy is stored in an antique dressing table. The entire collection of polishes has reached over 100 bottles and is mainly comprised of Essie but there are beloved Chanel and Dior hues from my days as a beauty editor as well. I save those for special occasions. This treasure trove is also replete with emery boards, clippers, buffers, primers, remover, cotton swabs, and cuticle tools. But my favorite thing to do is leave the house, head down a couple blocks, pick a color, and relax for an hour.
|Oh, Le Vernis,
how I do love thee…
The trouble with manicures, though, is that they never last. Especially when my nails have had a chance to grow long due to summer sun, extra vitamins, or a little less typing/dishwashing than an average week, they become that much more susceptible to breakage and chipping. It kills me to watch as the perfectly filed and painted masterpieces crumble to a chipped, stubby mess in a mere 48 hours. And in my line of work, having a crappy manicure is never a good plan. What’s a girl to do?
My mother has always been my go-to for all beauty advice. She is a life-long adventuress in this department, and I truly trust her advice. In the early 70’s when long, straight hair was the only acceptable look, she would do her homework with her long waves rolled up around empty soup cans to straighten them, holding perfectly still beneath a stand-alone dryer like those you see at salons to this day. She’s been blonde, auburn, chestnut, dark ash, golden medium, and every shade in between (BUT NEVER GRAY). She tried the Keratin smoothing system before I did, turning me into an avid supporter–though we’ve both quit recently, due to chemicals. Mom has had every type of facial there is, becoming a connoisseur of creams, serums, and masques. In the early 90’s she tried gel tips on her nails, but the result left her cracked, short, and sad. And recently, Mom fell in love…
Now, there is a lot of nay-saying out there today about the modern UV Gel polish manicure. Apparently letting your nails dry under that UV light can lead to cancer and a host of other issues. But, then again, so can drinking from a styrofoam cup, standing too close to a microwave, talking on a cell phone, and walking down a New York City street, if you believe everything you hear. So, I was willing to take the chance and give this mani a try–especially after watching my mother get through Thanksgiving and then Christmas with one perfectly intact manicure a month despite the baking of several pies from scratch, the washing of countless loads of dishes and clothes, the typing of numerous client-related letters and personal emails, the snapping on–and then off–of doggy coats and leashes, and the list goes on and on. She rejoiced, she raved, she encouraged, and then she put $40 in my checking account and told me to see for myself.
The first time I got my gel polish manicure, I was a little annoyed. The process took about an hour and required a turn in the UV dryer after each layer was applied. But then–like magic–the final coat was rubbed down in lotion, and I was sent on my way. No need to sit and wait, no risk of smearing or having to come back for a touch-up, just out of there. Brilliant. And the color was like nothing I’d ever seen. She took a layer of delicious lavender and layered over it with a multi-hued glitter that made my nails sparkle and shine in the sunlight like no other polish could. I got compliments everywhere I went, and the best part–it lasted for about three weeks. The ONLY reason I went back for a do-over was that my nails had started to grow, creating little crescent moons at the cuticle. My second one was a blood-orange so show-stopping that it pained me to final replace it.
I am currently in week two of my third gel manicure and happier than I’ve ever been with my nails. Due to the protection the polish provides, my natural nails have grown so long and healthy, so strong, that I find myself constantly staring at them in wonderment–Are you really my nails?? Are you truly this long and gorgeous? Eek!
You can discover the glory for yourself, too, at almost every walk-in salon in the city. My favorite brand to date is the OPI system, as they utilize little pots of paint and a narrow brush that eliminate any room for error. No matter what the brand, have fun experimenting with layers. Any glittery shade over your color of choice will turn heads, and a bold red is a come-hither favorite that will bring your man on his knees. Have fun, ladies, and thank my mom when you find yourself on week three of your manicure with miles to go before your next appointment.