Friday, 30 December 2016

Hearty Nails: at-home vs at-school manicures

Yes, hi, I am a procrastinator. You might've noticed by the absolute lack of posting consistency in any kind of online place I can be found. Today's excuse is that...I really wanted to have the new logo ready for the next post. I really thought I'd be done with the full blog makeover by now but design takes a lot longer than expected. Mostly because I'm not a professional so basically I barely know what I'm doing, and any little thing takes hours of frustration and mental screaming.
The logo is in fact ready now...as of yesterday...but then I decided to use it for the NEXT next post. As in, the new year's first post.
Today I'm coming to you with a pictureless post (!).

I am going to talk about how I do things differently when I do my nails at home and when I do manicures at school. In case you didn't know, I attend beauty school, and manicures are one of the most popular services (right up there with waxing).

The main difference is in my attitude towards it. At school it has to be as perfect as I can get it because I'm graded on it, but at home it's more like...anyhow pop a colour on there for the pretty.

The speed is a big difference. At home I usually paint my nails while at the computer watching stuff or just generally distracted, and I can easily wait half an hour between coats because I got distracted by shiny things. At school, the whole manicure should be finished in half an hour. That includes the massage.

We do a little hand+forearm massage by default with all manicures at school. It is one of the favourite things of clients usually, but obviously at home I will always skip it. Closest I'll get to a massage at home is applying some cuticle oil or balm while my nails are naked, hours before painting them.

Filing and cuticle pushing are pretty much the same...at school we would soak the nails in soapy water to soften the cuticles, but honestly not everyone even needs to soften them. In any case, we only push the cuticles, never cut. We have been taught that health & safety doesn't allow cuticle cutting. And then I'm a hater of cuticle cutting myself, for years before school, so I only ever push my own cuticles.

A massage with oil means that we have to degrease the nails thoroughly before painting them; we do this with good ol' nail polish remover at school. At home, if I've oiled my cuticles too close to painting time I'll just go wash my hands with normal soap. But since I usually do that hours before I paint, it's rarely a problem.

When applying the colour, I already mentioned I can easily spend ages between coats, and I also don't have any problem applying 3 or even 4 coats sometimes to get the opacity I want with some polishes. At school, more than 2 coats of colour is really nigh unthinkable.

At school, I usually clean up before top coating, because it allows the colour to dry that bit more, but to be honest I barely need to clean. If I do, we do it with some cotton stuck to the end of a wooden cuticle pusher, soaked in acetone. This sounds complicated but once you figure out just how much cotton is good and how to twirl it just right so that it stays tight on the stick, it's really very easy. Meanwhile, at home I'll just carelessly flood cuticles and paint the skin around the nails, wait for it to dry, and then scratch it off. It's all very glamorous and professional. It's a good thing I very very rarely flood the cuticle these days even when painting carelessly.

Now, the top coat itself is a difference. At school we have just the one, and it's not particularly quick-drying. Lately we've had a quick-drying spray though, so that helps. At home however, I actually tend to use two different top coats: a thinner runnier (usually cheaper) one, and a thicker, quality, quick-drying one. The thinner one goes on first, as a way of protecting the thicker top coat from any possible colour transfers. It's the it's-ok-to-mess-it-up top coat, the one you don't care might turn grey or have random runaway flecks of glitter. The thicker top coat is then the one to seal it all, the real protective shiny coat, so it has to look perfect and not have random glitter flecks or discoloration.


And that's it~ My home manicures last me a really good time, unless I happen to have my nails in a bad state and they're breaking or peeling in layers, in which case there's very little that can help. At school, I haven't heard any complaining, so they must be satisfied, surely.

Next week, on the year's first post (with the new logo!), I will share some tips for making your manicures long-lasting. Until then, let us rejoice that this monster year is finally ending.