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My name is Jill and I’m a Gel Nail addict.
At least I was, until recently.
See, I wasn’t blessed with them most elegant of nails – and don’t get me started on my cuticles. For years I suffered from serious Nail Envy of anyone with Nice Nails.
Life was so unfair!
Then, a few years back some genius invented Gel Nails (personally I thought they should get a Nobel Prize for Services to Bad Nails).
Suddenly, for the first time ever, I too had Nice Nails.
I was hooked.
As I rattled on here to no-one in particular. I LOVED Gel Manicures. They left me feeling fabulously groomed; so groomed I could have passed myself off a British Airways Stewardess…if only I could’ve mastered a Donut Bun.
Like all addicts, I ignored the downsides.
I’d skim over the Daily Mail‘s dire warnings about the dangers of UV Lamps.
I blanked out that time I found myself a dodgy nail salon and my cuticles were cut until they bled.
I blanked out that other time I found myself in another dodgy nail salon (no, I don’t learn by my mistakes) and my nails were prepped with a big scary sander gizmo…like something you’d sand a floor with.
I hated the Growing Out Phase when the top half of my nails were a lovely glossy red and the bottom half were, well sorta minging.
I really hated the Pinging Off Phase where I’d find myself with nine beautifully shiny gels nails and one gel-less nail that looked like something prehistoric that had washed up on a beach…then three days later, I’d find the pinged off gel nail inside my tights.
And worst of all – GETTING THEM OFF. Having gels removed was never pleasant. Sometimes it hurt. Always, it made me over-salivate.
But I could live it all…just to have Nice Nails.
Then, out of nowhere, I started having this recurring nightmare where all my nails fell off and were scattered around me like autumn leaves fallen surrounding a dying tree. Now don’t you try telling me that ain’t sinister.
After that I couldn’t ignore how damaged my nails looked when gels were removed. They were soft and bendy and ridged and took ages to recover. Then I read this article in which Bastien Gonzales, the Nail Guru (it’s a thing) says that nail polish, should be reserved for special occasions and the rest of the time we should go au naturel, like his dear old French granny, and apply oil and buff nails with a Chamois Leather (that’s French for an Old Shammy).
Now, generally in life, anything that dear old French grannies do is alright with me, so I skipped my next manicure and bought this little bag of tricks.
…and went Cold Turkey.
I became obsessed with cuticle oil. I applied it at every opportunity – in client meetings, at traffic lights, chatting to strangers, as I swiped left, while on hold to Scottish Power for an hour, going through airport security, on the beach (not a good idea). I was relentless.
Fast forward a few months and Holyshmoly my nails are in the best nick of their brittle little lives. I’m not saying Chanel will be calling me up anytime soon and begging me to be a hand model…but I have Nice Nails.
Last weekend I treated myself to Opi Ballet Slippers (only for special occasions, Bastien!), as worn by Kate, The Duchess of Middleclass, and without blowing my own trumpet, I’m starting to look like one classy bird.
Like any recovering addict it’s one day at a time. Who knows, I might mainline a bit of Santa Baby Red with Ring Finger Glitter for Christmas or a Naughty Nude for a trip to the sun, but at the moment I’m good. It’s just me, my cuticle oil and my old shammy…and at £25 a pop for a gel manicure , I’m saving a small fortune.
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