H2O-soluble nail polish scam?
November 30, 2006 6:38 PM   Subscribe

Do all nail salons use polish that comes off quicker than the brands you buy in stores?

I've only had a manicure twice, and like the look; just a simple, light color - nothing fancy. Both times I went to the same nearby nail salon. But both times, as soon as my hands were exposed to water (once, washing my car, once, just showering) the polish started to peel off right away. This doesn't happen with standard store-bought polish; do salons use water-soluble polish just to keep you coming back more often? Or do I need to find a more upscale place? (Any recommendations for the north-of-Seattle area, if so?)
posted by TochterAusElysium to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I'd say you need a more upscale place, or at least one that uses better polish (OPI is a brand I see a lot in salons). I have just the opposite problem, in fact -- when I get a mani/pedi at a salon, I practically have to scrub my nails with polish remover to get it to budge at all. I've still got polish on my toes from a month ago that literally will. not. come off.
posted by scody at 6:58 PM on November 30, 2006

I've had the same thing happen at home. I bought perfectly normal Sally Hansen polish, did my nails, and said goodbye to the polish as soon as I stepped into the shower. It especially rankled because I'd done a French manicure that took forever to get right.

So if the polish you chose at the salon was Sally Hansen brand, that would explain it.
posted by booksandlibretti at 7:12 PM on November 30, 2006

I can relate to both the OP and Scody. It seems that my pedicure lasts forever, but my manicure can start chipping in a day or two. The salon I go to uses high quality polishes, but I am really rough with my hands--typing isn't the best activity to preserve a manicure.

I also usually choose sheer light pinks for my hands, so maybe the light pigment has something to do with it? Who knows. I always have read to buy the same color polish so you can do touch-ups at home. Maybe that would be an option for you. Me? I just let them chip, until the next manicure.
posted by LoriFLA at 7:16 PM on November 30, 2006

Best answer: Go with the OPI brand of polish. Some salons actually charge extra to use it on you, but it really does take a beating. I had a manicure a few months ago and it took two or three days of waiting tables for it to start the (non OPI polish they used) chipping. On my feet the OPI lasts more than a week, with a French pedicure.

(Yes, that's right, I don't shave my legs, but oh I do like a pedicure!)
posted by bilabial at 7:36 PM on November 30, 2006

Best answer: I can say that manicures at the fancy spa/salon places last FOREVER, whereas those at the cheapie, nail-only places...not so much. Of course, you get what you pay for. The spa place charged me a ton, but they spend a ton of time with you, making sure they put top coats on, dry your nails perfectly before you leave, etc. So I vote for upgrading your salon.
posted by GaelFC at 7:42 PM on November 30, 2006

I get pedicures at my local cheap but well maintained nail salon (mani/pedis are the one thing you can get cheaper in NYC than the 'burbs), and they last forever- polish usually doesn't start to chip until the 2nd week.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:45 PM on November 30, 2006 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks all, for another mystery solved! I've already located a nearby place that uses OPI.
posted by TochterAusElysium at 7:48 PM on November 30, 2006

You had your question answered already, but I'm also wondering if hardness of water might come into play too...Anybody knows how minerals and such can react with nail polish?

I think it's also important that if you're going for the "at home" option, that a good base coat and top coat is necessary. It's extra steps, but it helps the polish to last longer and the polish color looks nicer and shinier.

I use the cheapo stuff from Missha, but even using their propietary base and top coats make the colors seem more vibrant than if used alone.
posted by kkokkodalk at 7:53 PM on November 30, 2006

Whoops, forgot to mention that nail places usually use a base and top coat which is why they look nice and last longer.
posted by kkokkodalk at 7:54 PM on November 30, 2006

You can always take your own polish with you if you think your salon's polish is cheap (or old and repeatedly thinned with acetone, which I've seen happen occasionally). People do that all the time, because someone's bought a polish to go with something specific. I like having the variety to pick from, though.

An "at home" tip: if you remove old polish and always before you start putting new polish on, wash your nails with a scrub brush and soap. You don't want polish remover residue or skin oils under your polish.

I love the Sally Hansen diamond-tough polish, though. I did mine on Tuesday and they're still chipless, which is like a record for home paint jobs on me.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:53 AM on December 1, 2006

I go to a fancy place in Tribeca, NYC and one thing I've noticed -- there's not a blower or light dryer in the joint and my mani/pedi (or as I call it, medicure) lasts a lot longer when it dries naturally.
posted by thinkpiece at 7:26 AM on December 1, 2006

I agree that OPI is wonderful, quality polish.

I have a related question -Does anyone know if it is customary for nail salons to trim toenails? The one I go to sometimes does and sometimes does not. Is it appropriate to ask? I keep my toenails in good shape, but would prefer to get them trimmed during a pedicure.
posted by melangell at 7:39 AM on December 1, 2006

Most of the salons in NYC use Essie brand nail polish. It lasts forever!

The key to having your manicure last is to avoid the UV light dryer and topcoat - use the fans instead.
posted by discokitty at 8:54 AM on December 1, 2006

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