Ever since I was a child, I was very fascinated about having long, well manicured nails with shiny nail polish on it. Maa had around 2 or 3 nail polishes from Lakme which found their place at the dressing table top, and I would lovingly gaze at them. However, owing to my strict convent school, I seldom got a chance to apply them. I distinctly remember a particular incident from my childhood. I had once visited a family friend’s place, and she had an entire crate of nail polish to herself in all possible colours. An entire crate! I was awestruck! Owning these many nail polishes at the same time was a big affair back then! During my college days, I did grow my nails a little, but never went beyond the conventional shades. I happily flaunted my maroons and pinks then. It was only after I started working that I got a little overboard with my collection of nail polishes and nail art tools. When I had visited Thailand recently, every nook and corner had a nail bar where women got their nails manicured. These nail bars also offered nail extensions services. However, due to paucity of time, I could not pamper my nails then.
I had heard about nail extensions and gel manicures, but they always seemed pricey to me. However, when R4 Professional Salon & Spa launched their gel nail extensions @Rs.799/-, I was tempted to try it. I booked an appointment with them, and reached on time for my nail extension session. This will be a detailed post of how things went about with my nail extension session, and its aftermath!
First, I was given a fan shaped nail polish board where different nail polishes were displayed. I had to choose one for myself. French manicures would cost a little extra, and since it was my first time, I decided to opt for the normal gel extensions. I chose a copper based glitter colour that I thought would suit me.
My old polish was removed and my nails were clipped short. My cuticles were pushed back. Then my nails were buffed so that there would be no shine and moisture on it.
The nail stylist then chose plastic extensions which were of appropriate size of my nail tip. She took time to match it with the size of my nails, and then applied the extensions with the help of a glue. The extensions were applied leaving a little bit of my natural nails aside. She then pressed the extensions to my nails and let it dry under a UV lamp. Then she took a buffer and started buffing my nails lightly, specially where the artificial tip meets the natural nail, so that the surface looked even. This felt a little painful. She even clipped my ingrown nails.
Then my artificial nails were filed short. I specifically told them to keep it short, since I do a lot of household work and my work at office requires a lot of typing and writing. After my nails were of my desired size, she asked me about the shape that I would prefer. I wanted square nails with rounded tips. She shaped my nails accordingly.
Then a dehydrator was applied on my nails. This was followed by a nail primer or a base coat. It was let to dry under a UV lamp. Then she applied two coats of the gel polish of the colour which I had chosen in the beginning. She made sure that the coats had dried before she applied a new coat. My nails were cured beneath the UV lamp in between each coat. The second coat felt a little thicker than the first one. She wiped off the excess nail paint that crept to my skin. This was followed by the final top coat, and my nails shone! I was asked to wash my hands, which I did. The process was finished off by applying a cuticle oil on my nail bed.
The entire process took around two hours at the salon. The salon staff was friendly, and chit-chatted with me throughout the process. My nails looked very natural. Nobody could tell that I had got extensions done.
Nail extensions do feel very weird in the beginning. In fact, you realise the true worth of your nails when they are replaced with extensions. It took me around three days to get used to it. I have started being extremely careful about my extensions. Though they are quite hard than natural nails, yet it pains if you apply pressure on your nail tips. My lifestyle has slowed down considerably. I take time to unbutton, open the door latch, unscrew bottle caps, and so on! I eat my meals with a spoon (instead of using my hands). Today itself, I had tried on my contact lenses, but by the time I wanted to remove them, they would not come off, thanks to my nail extensions. I have vouched not to go for nail extensions ever again. I lead a very hectic lifestyle, where I do most of my household work on my own. Nail extensions aren’t really my thing. Though they look classy, I am typically bored of it, and I miss my natural nails. However, they can be a great alternative for people who can maintain them and cannot grow their nails.
You need to take proper care of your extensions, and keep your hands and nail bed hydrated at all times. Eventually, the nails will grow, so you need to get a refill done every 21 to 30 days (depending on your nails growth).
Once I had accidentally digged into kadhai chicken, which left my nails with a golden hue (because of the turmeric). I wiped off my nails with an acetone free polish remover (by Colorbar) and my nails got back their original copper colour. I finished it off with a gel top coat. You can apply other nail paints (if you get bored with the one you are sporting) and later on you can always remove the colour with an acetone free polish remover.
Now the worse part! You need to visit the salon again for removing these extensions! I am still trying to find out a way if I can remove them at home.
R4 Professional Salon and Spa’s Address: 60/146 H.P. Dutta Lane, Behind Old Better High School, Kolkata – 700033 (Near Lake Gardens, towards Golfgreen). To book an appointment, call 98300 06630.