Darrell Barrett Salon and Spa provided all complimentary treatments for me. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not an early adopter when it comes to hair and beauty treatments. But if someone suggests something to me, I’m game. Like trying the vichy shower and hydrolifting facial at Darrell Barrett Salon and Spa a few weeks ago. Or putting the American Wave in my hair at the same salon. And if I could handle giving over my body, face, and hair to trusted experts, surely I could handle a new nail treatment.
Now, let me start by saying that I have manicures maaaaaaaybe once a year. I might do pedicure a little more often but usually I’m an at-home kind of girl. And you know why? Because every time I get a manicure, the polish chips within two days. TWO DAYS!
Admittedly, I’m rough on my hands and nails but if I’m paying money, I expect longer than two days! And this is why someone should have explained gel manicures to me.
Gel manicures really only came into the salon scene in 2011 but still… I’m clearly 6 years behind! If you’re like me and you’ve never had a gel manicure because you prefer to keep you nails natural looking, here’s what you need to know:
Gel manicures, when done by caring, experienced, and trained professionals, are gentle to the natural nail and the polish stays intact on the nail for at least a couple of weeks with high shine and no cracking, peeling or chipping.
So off I went to Darrell Barrett Salon and Spa with the intention of getting a new type of manicure called dip powder nails, where the pigment for the nail color comes from a powder “dip” and is then sealed with a top coat. That was until I saw Sarah’s nails (Sarah who had just done my fabulous American Wave the week before). Her nails had this amazing holographic effect and I couldn’t look away!
That’s when I met my nail technician, Beth, who led me back to her manicure station and showed me some of my options, including the dip powder nails and the holographic gel nails. I was sold on the holographic gel nails but I needed to figure out if I wanted nails just like Sarah or if I wanted my own shade.
You’ll see dip nail color choices as well as a few of the holographic gel nail choices. The main difference between holographic shades is the gel polish color that’s used underneath the holographic powder.
On the right hand side, you’ll see nails with both a white and a pink gel polish underneath and at the top of the photo, you’ll see it with a black gel polish underneath, which is what Sarah had.
Knowing I’m a neutral kind of girl, I chose the white gel polish for a more traditional holographic look. And off we went.
Step 1: CLEAN UP THOSE NAILS!
My nails weren’t in horrible shape but they definitely needed some trimming, shaping, cuticle clean up, and buffing. Beth told me she tends to buff nails more when she’s applying the holographic powder because it tends to emphasize ridges and other imperfections in the nail bed.
Step 2: BASE COAT!
As the name implies, a base coat is a pretty simple layer designed to protect your nail beds from the polish.
Step 3: POLISH!
Beth applied two coats of the white gel polish and made sure I rested for a brief period under UV light to “bake” the layer on. In fact, I rested under the UB light after every application (base coat, polish, top coat).
Step 4: TOP COAT!
This step is more important than it sounds. Beth used a tack-free top coat to ensure the powder would do it’s thing when applied directly to my nails.
Step 5: POWDER!
This part BLEW MY MIND! I’m still mesmerized when I watch it. She literally used a eyeshadow applicator to rub the powder directly on my nails. She then folowed it up with a top coat. After a short time under the UV light, I was done!
Presenting… My Holographic Gel Nails!
You guys. I could not stop looking at my nails. But my next question was… how long would they last? I’m happy to report that after THREE WEEKS and 2 days, creating garden beds, mulching the yard, washing endless dishes, HOURS of typing, and just generally all around abusing my hands, I’ve just received my first chip. And I would bet you have to look pretty hard to see it.
I definitely have some growth on my nails but I’m not ready to let them go. I’m going to take them to one more event with me before I say goodbye… for now.