December 18, 2012

Clara H. Daily, Nails

The Truth Behind Cheap Acrylic Nails

My client came to me with this set of nails. A grown out set of acrylics.

I had to remove this set (wasn’t done by me) and do a new set of sculptured nails because they were thick, and pretty badly done. It didn’t complement her nails or her fingers, the shape and thickness gave the illusion her fingers were short and stubby.

So here’s a little tip, if you want your fingers to look more slender and lengthy, go with an oval or almond shape. It visually enhances the nail bed, fingers and hands.

It’s easy to walk into any nail bar and ask to get acrylics done, especially in Australia or the states, where cheap acrylics are a dime a dozen. Years ago people loved the look of simple french acrylics, where you just popped into any nail bar and they stuck a nail tip, drilled the surface of your nails and slapped on some acrylic or gel on top of it to create a $50 set of nails. I have to be really honest here. They are atrocious.

Here’s explaining why:

1) The type of acrylics they use.

Many discount nail salons use acrylic products that contain a chemical known to industry people as MMA. MMA (methyl methacrylate) to put it simply for you, is basically a substance used to form a very hard and strong polymer (in the combination of the acrylic liquid and powder) The smell is very distinct, almost sharp and fruity and it is clear and mostly colorless. You will be familiar with it if you visit these nail salons often and you can ‘smell’ a nail salon even though you’re at the end of the street. The use of this substance in acrylic nails is highly problematic, because even thought they do form a VERY hard acrylic nail, when your nail does break, the artificial nail inevitably takes layers (or your entire) nail off with it.

The reason why your nails are $45, is because an acrylic system that contains MMA is DIRT CHEAP and mostly made in China. The use of this product is already banned in the United States because they cause a lot of health problems to the nails. Nail deformities, breakages, allergies and even the fumes are toxic to both you and more so the technician who sits there 12 hours a day slapping those acrylics on. In the United States, they have a licensing department to conduct regular checks on these salons. Unfortunately in most other countries including Australia, it isn’t that stringent, so many discount nail salons get away with using crappy and toxic products. So please be careful when you pick a salon. Plus, because the molecules in MMA laced acrylics are packed so closely together, REMOVING THEM IS AN ABSOLUTE NIGHTMARE. Ever had to sit at the salon for a full hour with your hands in a bowl filled with acetone? Or ever had a technician clip away at your nails and have them feeling paper thin because you didn’t know better?

So please think twice before hopping into one of these places. Or you might end up with this ->nailsforspecktraHorrible, crass, badly shaped nails with weakened nail beds. This is what I have to work with sometimes. I have to reiterate, I am a nailist with a solid training background, not a God of nails or the Wizard of Oz.

2) The Drill.

The thought of a nail drill in the hands of an untrained/inexperienced/technically weak technician makes me shudder. They are the cause of that raw feeling you get post nail application or most especially after the removal of your nails. The drill is used because manual filing is slow and laborious, and time is money. However filing layers and layers of your nails away with the drill is unacceptable. It thins the nail plate and gets thinner with every new set or infills you get. I have gotten so many clients over the years with ‘hot spots’ on their nails, which are areas of the nail that are filed so thin they burn and form a red raw spot on your nails. Or paper thin nails I can hardly work with. I’ve always said, without a proper preparation process and a good nail foundation, there is no way your nail enhancements will last and no way your nails will stay healthy even after months of wearing enhancements.

3) Poor Training

This is a direct relation to the above two I just mentioned. A well trained nail technician can advise you on what you need and do it well using the right products for you. They know a good shape for your nails, can sculpt a proper set of nails without using plastic stick on tips and not burn a hole through your nails. She should also be able to understand and communicate well with you with regards to your needs or preferences. Many a time my clients, or ex clients of theirs walk out of the salon with an entirely different set to what they intended when they made the appointment.

If you wouldn’t put a bad face cream on your face, why would you put crap products on your nails? You pay peanuts you get naughty monkeys.

I hope everyone understands these points and make a wiser selection with your nail places in future. Nail session are meant to be fun and relaxing, not pain driven and stressful. You should only be worried about what’s the latest gossip to share with your nailist.

ANYWAY, back to my client’s nail makeover, these are her nails after I removed the old set and replaced them with almond shaped ones.

Post nail art (warning vulgarities ahead) haha.

I hope you have enjoyed my little educational segment on nail enhancements. Questions to [email protected]!


Clara H