In 1996, I began my affair with acrylic nails. Up until this time, my hands were constantly being washed in hot water because I had small kids to raise and my hands were a mess. When my youngest went to kindergarten, my husband gave me a gift certificate to a nearby nail salon to have my nails done professionally. He appreciated the look of fine nails. The first time I had my acrylics put on, I had to return back to the salon twice -before driving away- because I immediately smudged my new nails as I was getting in my car to go home. It was definitely a learning process to make sure the nails were totally dry before leaving because I would undoubtedly mess up my newly fashioned nails each visit.
I found a wonderful nail artist, Tammy, and remained with her for 14 years!!!! Yes, it was a hassle at times to fit in an appointment; Yes, I had to be careful not to mess them up before I could drive away; Yes, it cost a chunk of my play money. But I felt it was all worth it because my hands looked great and I got a lot of compliments over the years. I tend to talk with my hands in my profession, when I get out to speak in front of people, so it was an added benefit to have visual aids that looked terrific.
Occasionally, I would add up how much I was spending on this little activity, but, whenever I got to the bottom line, I would always hyperventilate and quickly wipe the amount out of my head. After all, why cause undue fuss. I was certainly worth the cost (Ahhh…a typical line of women under 50).
This past Spring, I recalculated again, and nearly had a heart attack when I truly faced the amount I had spent on well coiffured nails. Then and there I decided that enough was enough. I had spent a small fortune on this little activity and it was time to move on. Was I still worth it? Of course. Did I need to constantly spend a sizable amount to prove it? No. That is part of the liberating process of being over 50. You have the confidence to say no, with gusto, to non-needful things and not have to second guess yourself later.
So, in April, off with the acrylic nails after 14 (yes 14) years. The reaction from my family? My daughters said, “It was about time.” And my husband said, “I had only meant for you to do it a few times, not 14 years.” Really? I didn’t realize everyone had such a strong opinion.
It takes 4 – 6 months for your nails to fully recover from years of acrylics . During that time, I got monthly manicures to help my thin nails transition. I learned how to perform my own manicures when I started up a conversation with a nail specialist at a local beauty supply store. She steered me toward products that helped my nails return to normal. Today, my natural nails look great and I am so happy for my decision.
One thing I had forgotten though, was how nail polish is prone to chipping, just after a day or two. And how tacky chipped nail polish looks, especially if one uses their hands in their line of work. Then, I read a Facebook post from my friend Tiffany N. (a 30 something woman) who raved about this product, Say Hello to Shellac – CND Tiffany told how this product doesn’t chip and stays super shiny for 2 weeks on your regular nails. I visited the web site to learn more and found a salon close by that offers Shellac nails. Everything they advertised was true: shiny, long lasting nail color. And the best part? It costs no more than a regular manicure.
I will not go back to a regular nail salon routine, but I now have an alternative when I want really nice looking nails. Like for last week, when I had to make a presentation to a state wide school board conference. Or, for the holiday season when I have a lot of engagements to attend. I recommend you give it a try if you are looking for the occasional spiffy looking nails and hands.