Who doesn't love getting a manicure and pedicure? Hands and toes primped, pruned and nails painted to perfection leaving little jewels atop each digit like shiny bling! And if that weren't enough, the benefit of sitting back, being pampered, reading a trashy magazine or just people watching lost in your own thoughts, ah... bliss!
Sadly it is yet another maintenance regimen adding to the monthly midlife beauty bills along with hair, skin, makeup and the endless treatments and products that we find essential to remain feeling gorgeous at this age in life!
Now enter the gel manicure, raising the price of our little luxury by at least $15, almost 100% in some cases. It's benefits: it doesn't chip; it lasts two weeks; stays shiny and you don't have to wait for it to dry since it dries under a lamp almost instantly. The disadvantages are that you cannot take it off yourself. The nail lacquer has to be filed off, soaked in an acetone bath and wrapped in foil for 10 to 15 minutes. Then it has to be chipped away from your natural nail, ouch, just writing this is making me cringe! Your own nail is left soft and fragile, the top layers buffed down so the gel adheres, and weakened by the rock hard substance that is gel polish.
I've had a total of two gel manicures and that was more than enough. I've been blessed with strong healthy nails, but I had to wait several weeks before having another manicure so that my nails could recover from the damage one gel manicure could impart.
Don't get me wrong, the gel manicure is the perfect answer to a two week vacation or an extended trip out of town, especially if you're going on a safari!
In my line of work, I want my toes and fingers to look their best all the time, God knows my toes need all the help they can get! I also want to keep them strong and healthy, and I don't want the maintenance costs to break the bank.
Tip 1 - Forget the Gel
Introducing OPI Infinite Shine Products. This line is long-lasting and harder wearing than regular polish and is a much simpler and faster process than applying gel and a lot less damaging. It's a step up from regular polish. It brings the price of your mani/pedi back down to the regular price but salons do charge an additional fee for this product, in the case of my salon, an additional $5 is added to a manicure or pedicure treatment. Not so bad compared to the gel price, but it still mounts up if you're wanting to visit your salon regularly.
By avoiding the gel manicure, you're already on your way to restoring your nails back to their former glory. Now to restore your price per treatment back to it's former glory - the original cost of a regular manicure or pedicure.
Tip 2 - Avoid Paying the Upgrade Fee
Visit your local Ulta or Sally Beauty supply store, and purchase the Infinite Shine Primer and Gloss Brilliant lacquer for yourself. These are shown above. The clear is the primer and the black bottle the glossy top coat. Note: the OPI Infinite Shine Product line has silver top bottles, including the colors. If you purchase your own products, including your favorite color and take these with you to your salon, you should only have to pay the regular manicure pedicure price, with no extra fee.
Tip 3 - Using Regular Colors
The Infinite Shine product line doesn't carry every OPI color, like my current favorites "Let's be Friends" and "Stop it I'm Blushing"! Don't worry, just use the OPI Infinite Shine Primer and Gloss top coat with your regular color and you'll still see the benefits, including no extra fee at the salon if you take in your own Infinite Shine products.
Tip 4 - Cut out the Unnecessary
Pushing back and snipping away cuticles, digging around the nail bed and buffing nails is all well and good once every few weeks. All these procedures are usually a normal part of the average manicure or pedicure treatment at most salons.
The cuticle is an integral part of the digit. It's the only barrier between your nail and the inside of your finger, it's sort of like the seal around the door of the refrigerator. If it's lifted or cut back too far, the protection is compromised and bacteria can get in and very quickly turn into something nasty and painful. My advice is to keep the cuticle pushing and trimming to a minimum, just enough to keep it tidy.
On that basis, there should be no need to have a manicure or pedicure every time you go to the salon to have your nails painted. Ask for a "Polish Change" in between visits. A polish change at my salon for finger nails is $7. A reputable salon will include filing the nails to even up the shape, removal of the previous color, and a repaint in the color of your choice.
Boom, you have just reduced the price of an unnecessary manicure to the price of a tall vanilla latte, and your nails will thank you for it!
The gel treatment, although it doesn't chip and retains shine, does show a distinctive regrowth in several days with a gap forming between the cuticle and the start line of the lacquer as the nail grows out. This can be irritating and cause fidgeting with the uneven surface on the nail.
The regular treatment using Infinite Shine products is not as hardy as the gel, in that the possibility of chipping and wear is more prevalent. However, for $7 you can get a Polish Change which takes fifteen minutes or so, and your nails are as good as new.
You can click the thumbnail link below to purchase your Infinite Shine primer and top coat as a duo pack and save $5 on purchasing them separately!
I wish you a wonderful weekend, and thank you for stopping by!
Karen Serino is a life and style blogger, sharing fashion, fitness and fun for youthful women in their forties, fifties and beyond.
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Click the picture below to see my interview with the lovely Jonet Wooten from Fabulously Chic Over 50