Tell me about getting my nails done (manicure).
January 12, 2018 11:02 AM   Subscribe

I have terrible habits with my finer nails, mostly involving ripping off the top white part when bored or anxious. Thus I always have short gnarled looking nails.

I have tried to grow my nails (just a little, 1mm max over the tip of my finger) but they are thin and brittle and just end up bending and creasing so i rip off the end.

My fiance likes nice manicured nails. I would like to surprise him and get my nails "done" maybe even with fakes as long as they remain fairly short. Also I want color and maybe a little design But I know nothing about this. I wouldn't even know what to ask a nail tech for. I definitely think i need something to thicken and lengthen what i have right now but....can y'all explain this to me like I'm from another planet?

Bonus round: can you recommend a nail place in phila (northeast or center city) or the cherry hill mall nj area?
posted by WeekendJen to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I don't like the feeling of long nails and keep them cut really short, and I get manicures a lot. I would recommend a gel manicure, which is a nice compromise between a regular manicure and getting fakes. They'll lacquer your nails and have you put your hands under a UV light to set it. Even if you have nibbled, scraggly, short nails, they will buff and file and trim them and make them look lovely. They will also probably trim your cuticles which is very satisfying!
posted by cakelite at 11:06 AM on January 12 [5 favorites]

You sound like me. The only thing that has allowed me to grow my nails out is dip nails (also called SNS nails) because they seriously last at least 2 weeks and it is IMPOSSIBLE to break these suckers. That does mean that to take the polish off you'll need to go back in to the salon but in my mind it's worth it.
posted by whitetigereyes at 11:10 AM on January 12 [2 favorites]

Nail Bar at 18th and Sansom (Moravian, really) is a nice time because they give you a glass of wine. I don’t find manicures enjoyable, but like the outcome, so a drink helps.
posted by OrangeVelour at 11:26 AM on January 12

I don't have any experience with manicures but I used to have thin nails that bent, tore and split so easily. I took megadoses of vitamin B1 and now my nails are hard as nails! I took maybe 5000 mg or more which I figured was safe since B vitamins are water soluble. I took it for some months but I don't take it regularly now and my nails are still strong.
posted by goodsearch at 11:27 AM on January 12

If you just want it for a one off for a day or 2 you can get press on nails at most drug stores which are fun for a night out or you know just put them on for sexy fun times if your guy likes nails.

If you only want short fake nails you can get gel extensions as well as polish, not just acrylic. They are not as hard so if you want super long nails you need a tip under it, but as you want them short they'd be fine. The advantages are they are more natural looking unpolished & easier to remove if they drive you crazy just rough them up with a file & soak in acetone. . It's harder to find someone that can do gel nail extensions without a nail tip properly so you may have to hunt around.

The main advantage is as they are thinner you don't need to go in every couple of weeks to get fills done.
posted by wwax at 11:28 AM on January 12

I am a former nail and cuticle biter who has been cured by getting a gel manicure every couple of weeks. I highly recommend it.

I also keep my nails really short because it drives me nuts to feel them tapping on the keyboard -- there's a minimal amount of white showing when I don't have polish on.

You can just ask the manicurist to trim them short -- they are used to hearing this, I promise! Then once you get the polish on, they will grow out a little bit and be protected by the polish.

Plus you will be getting your hand oiled and moisturized and your cuticles trimmed, so there will be less temptation to bite and pull.

Short answer: Ask for a gel manicure (there are tons of bright colors if you want to get away from the natural look) with short nails.
posted by vickyverky at 11:58 AM on January 12 [1 favorite]

I totally agree about gel or dip nails. They are perfect for short nails and they'll stay nice longer (you can get them off at home but I really don't recommend it for someone who doesn't do that sort of thing a lot). As far as designs, you can either bring in a picture or they should have a board or something with designs they do. If you haven't considered it, you might like a pedicure. It's half an hour of foot bath/massage and if you're prone to ingrown toenails it keeps them from reoccurring for months. I wouldn't do gel on your toes just because you don't need to.

Re: the condition of your natural nails - I was a lifelong biter and I finally realized that my nails were bendy, weak, brittle, tearing, etc because I kept ripping them off. Get a good nail trimmer, keep it with you, and every time you get the urge to rip them off, clip them instead. Do that for a couple months and your nails will be much stronger. It's also good to keep a clear coat with strengtheners on them during this process.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 12:18 PM on January 12 [1 favorite]

I'm also here to recommend a gel manicure. I go through phases where I get one done once a month or so.

-The gel polish goes over my own nails (I don't like them too long).
-Gel nails are beautifully shiny. For day-to-day I like a fun color with sparkles. For nicer events I'll request French tips. This style has the added benefit of making my short(ish) nails look long and lovely.
-Gel nails last forever. The current polish I'm rocking was applied the week before Christmas. Although my nails are growing out a bit, they still look and feel great.
posted by WaspEnterprises at 12:20 PM on January 12 [1 favorite]

Oh hey, Philly person! I was going to LA Nail Bar near 13th and Spruce for a while and getting the powder manicures. I have really awful nails and gel made them so much worse. Switching to the powder/dip manicure made a huge difference.
posted by ancient star at 1:12 PM on January 12 [1 favorite]

Polaris Nail Spa at 20th and Hamilton (down from the New Whole Foods) is my new go-to nail salon. They did an amazing job last time I went (also note, my fiancé comes with me and they do extra massaging for him since he’s not getting color, whereas most other places don’t do anything extra). They are very friendly, reasonably priced, and did a great job on my manicure and pedicure.
posted by DoubleLune at 4:36 PM on January 12

I'll nth dip powder. (I'm not a "manicure person," so I can only compare to at-home and salon manicures with regular polish.)

If you're as anxious about visiting nail salons as I was--there's really no need to worry; the staff can explain anything you don't find straightforward.
posted by Carouselle at 5:03 PM on January 13

Don't get fake nails if you want short nails. There's no point because, like others are saying, a regular manicure or a gel manicure will meet your needs. Fake nails need more upkeep and are more expensive, too.

I get a pedicure once a month (and you should try this, too!), and I ask them to do a regular, non-gel manicure with it. I like regular polish manicures because they're cheaper (about $13 vs. $30 for a gel manicure), and the most important thing to me is just getting my nails cut and filed and having my cuticles taken care of rather than having long lasting polish. I get clear tinted polish rather than color because I'm neglectful and I don't want chipped color on my nails. If you opt for a regular manicure, make sure they have a fan you can put your fingers in front of while they work on you. Otherwise it takes the polish a long time to dry because they do four coats. Gel manicures dry right away.

Good luck. I love getting my nails done. The massages are the best. You'll feel weird at first but just tip them really well and set your mind to enjoy taking care of yourself!
posted by amodelcitizen at 5:21 PM on January 13

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