I come from a family of women who religiously get their nails done. Not in a ‘lazy bitch’ kind of way, but in a stoical, 1950s attitude to beauty – ‘I will always be presentable to the outside’ kind of way. Having unpainted fingernails is always noted as the worrying, silent symptom of emotional breakdown.
I am by far the worst at getting my nails done (read into that what you will about my mental state). Manicures for me happen rarely, but recently I have been getting better and they have been happening more frequently.
I wrote about the benefits of shellac in my wedding survival guide. I discovered shellac a couple of years ago (referred on by my female relatives of course). Shellac has been on the ‘beauty block’ for a while now, but in case it is new to you, it is very hard-wearing, gel-based nail-varnish that is dried completely in-salon (using UV lighting). Its a great option if, like me, you are completely incompetent and smudge your manicure the moment you leave the salon (and are then too embarrassed to go back in and ask them to touch it up again…).
With two weddings and a birthday party in May I decided I needed to pull in the big guns and get a shellac manicure. And to sum up how equally split my affections are between the North West and the South West I got my hands done in Wandsworth and my feet done in Chester…I know…it would have been so much cheaper and less hassle to get both done in one go (there basically wasn’t time).
For a mani-pedi in Wandsworth there is no beating Jo Partridge – the Wandsworth common branch do a really high-quality shellac manipedi for £35 – which I think is really great value.
I got at manicure there right at the start of May (for £25) and my nails are still going strong. As you can see I went for a very nude colour – but that is just because I am pretty bad at taking shellac off when it chips, and nude is less noticeable.
Nailista is a nail salon I discovered in Chester over Christmas, that specialises in manicures, pedicures and eyebrow waxing. Its very friendly, fun and lovely-looking, but also reasonably priced. I got a pedicure there a couple of weeks ago (again in nude to match my fingers) and that was £25. Nailista always tend to be able to fit you in too, which is handy, but you can get a discount booking online, which I really like.
By the way – as many of my friends have asked me this – to take off shellac you need to wrap your nails in cotton wool soaked in an acetone based nail polish remover and then cover them in tinfoil for about 10 minutes – very space cadet. After that you basically scrape it off with something metal ( fairly distressing). Once you take shellac off its a good idea to use a treatment oil (I like OPI Nail Envy) and to have a break from shellac for a few weeks to let your nails breathe and repair, to prevent any damage.
Both Jo Patridge and Nailista offer loyalty card schemes – and I am definitely proving myself to be loyal to both in a polygomy kind of way.