My Experience With Gel Nails

By Issy Goode - 20:22

As a 21st birthday present my sister and mum took me for a treat at a local salon called Lasting Touch, and I decided to give fake nails a go. What harm could it be? 

I've worn tacky fake nails that you stick on for a night out a few times in the past. Throughout the night they ping off in people's faces, then by the morning you're left with three which fall off as you drag yourself out of bed. You'll later find these wastes of a pound strewn across your room, probably for weeks to come in fact. I stopped wearing them because I thought I was wasting money, and I suppose fake nails applied at a salon are a bit too...

For starters, can I just say a huge thanks to all the lovely ladies at Lasting Touch. I've been there before and my sister's been a few times and they are all just the most lovely and welcoming women. My sister and mum had wonderful back massages whilst I got my nails done and my niece had a mini-mani involving glitter and gemstones!

I was bemused by how much went into a gel manicure. Obviously being a fake nail virgin I hadn't realised the effort and time it takes. My sister thought I'd be hanging around whilst they were still getting massages but it was quite the opposite. I sat chatting away with everyone whilst layer upon layer was applied, moving my hands alternatively out and back under UV lights. I immediately considered that I probably should have researched it more.

I went for French tips because I've always quite liked them, and the end result of my fake nails was brilliant. I was really pleased with them and my sister and mum said they looked great, but as soon as I had them on I considered that I probably wouldn't be getting them again in the future. I realised fake nails are just not me. Some people look amazing and entirely normal with their fake nails on all the time, but I just feel, I guess, fake. And here was the finished result:

So, here are the pros and cons I discovered over the two and a half weeks I had them on...

- I can get toast out the toaster like a pro
- I have an excuse not to wash up if there's no rubber gloves about
- I'm also a pro at getting cupcakes out the cake tins
- I'm every cats favourite scratcher - especially behind the ears. Got kitties purring for more.
- These bad boys really won't ping off in anyone's face

- My first thought was 'I hope I can get a nail technicians note to get me extenuating circumstances for my dissertation, 'cause damn these are hard to type with' It took me about 4 days to get used to the nails and stop typing like a 70 year old
- Apparently, the fact that every computer has a different sized keyboard means that the learning process of typing with nails begins again each time you have a different keyboard in front of you
- THE PAIN. Oh my gosh, the pain when you catch your nail on something is intense. One of my fingers felt bruised
- By day 16 my hair was taking a bit of a beating. The nails had begun to peel off and every time I ran my fingers through my hair a few strands would get caught under them
- When the nails come off your fingers immediately look like chubby little sausages
- When your nails start to grow they look a bit weird. I'm glad I went for French tips because it wasn't all that noticeable!
- I was a little naughty and removed my nails myself...and this has caused my nails to look pretty battered and beaten. It got to the point where my nails were catching my hair too often and one nail had managed to ping off itself (the one I'd really bashed against something in the first week). Wondering round with a nail missing wasn't the best of looks, and removing them myself possibly wasn't the best idea!

In all honesty, as each day went by I liked my nails more and more. They made my fingers look long and slender, even when I looked slobby at least my hands looked glam and they gave me that extra bit of sass (okay I don't have any sass so they just plain gave me a lil' sass).

Whilst initially I felt they weren't me at all, they really grew on me and I came to like them, though I have to say that I do still stand by the original thought I had when I first got them. They are beautiful, BUT they do damage your nails, they cost more money than I can afford and if you have lots of essays and a dissertation to write, they seriously affect your typing speed - which with deadlines approaching, I really need.

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  1. Hey Issy! I too got gel nails as a treat (to myself! haha) on my 21st birthday as me and Matt were flying off on holiday the next day. It was my first experience with them too.. at first I really loved them, and I still don't regret getting them done as it meant I didn't have to worry about my nails all week abroad (and I wasn't prepared to spend time sat around painting my nails while abroad!) and they did look lovely. I went for a mint green and painting my toenails the same colour (as I luckily have a vast collection so was able to colour match quite easily!).. by the end of the week abroad my nails were still looking tip top and it was my toenails that were starting to chip from being in and out of the pool etc. For the price, I don't understand how people get them done time and time again! and I agree, the regrowth does look ridiculous as they are quite thick! I wouldn't rush to get them done again as I think with decent nail care, you can get your own nails to a lovely length and polish them up a beauty ;) but for a special treat, to look good for a few days (like for a wedding) I think they're nice.. I've heard shellac is good because it's very similar (gel look, instantly dry, doesn't chip) but doesn't have the clumpy, thickness that gels do.. so maybe consider having a go at that? I spoke to the nail technician about it as I was getting it done and she said that shellac is good for your actual nails underneath so won't leave them like sausages as you said haha and has pretty much the same look as gels except more natural looking (flatter) but it doesn't extend your nail length so you'd have to grow them to perfection first :) Also, negative about gels.. getting them off! I ended up prying them off with my other nails and my god was it painful! the trouble us girls go through eh?! Xx

    1. Hey Amy! Such a good idea to get them for a holiday! I wish I had been going somewhere or doing something nice. My boyfriend reckon's they'd be nice to get for graduation, but it's just the cost of them! When I went abroad I was so fed up with my nail varnish that kept on chipping due to swimming in the sea and pool, may have to get fake nails next time, a much better idea! I have no clue how people manage to get them done so frequently! Yeah mine were pretty thick, I wasn't sure if that's how they were meant to look at first, but it really does help them stay secure. Yeah special occasions it is lovely for! My housemate always get's shellac before she goes on holiday and swear by it, she's never had acrylic or gel, but reckons shellac is just better. I may try it next time! Yeah my nails look really horrible now, they look so damaged. I had to pry mine off too, fortunately they were peeling off anyway so it wasn't too painful! Definitely wouldn't rush to do that again haha, though tbh, I heard it's about £20 to get them removed! xxx

    2. Graduation nails sound lovely! I would say definitely go for it and treat yourself as it's only one day and a very big day at that! that you'll want to look back on :) oh god yeah I heard that too that it's a ridiculous price to get them removed! I remember the girl telling me as she was doing it that I would have to come back in and get them filed off! to which I thought heck with that, I'll ping them off haha. Don't worry your nails will soon return to goodness I'm sure! Good luck with the last few weeks my lovely! xxx

  2. I feel like the cons outweigh the pros haha! But to be honest, that might just be my perception because I've had gels twice and they just wrecked my nails afterwards. I have strong nails and it took me months/years to get them back to how they were. Gel nails do look gorgeous though so I can see why people love them but they aren't for me :') xxx

    Sam | Samantha Betteridge

    1. Yeah they kind of do haha! Yeah mine look so damaged now, I didn't realise they would cause them to look so bad and fragile. Really that long?! You've got me worried now because mine are weak as it is! They do look lovely but I don't think I'll be getting them again either! xxx

  3. aah i do love how they look! i personally wouldn't get them done as i change my nail polish too often, but i love how they look on other people!

    from helen at

    1. They did look lovely! I know what you mean, I did get a bit bored of them towards the end! Thanks for stopping by and having a read :)

  4. The more I looked at them the more I decide did not get them done ever ha! They looked lovely but like you say there's something about them that puts me off. She did an ace job though they all did. Glad you liked them you were right though, should've gone wth your original decision not tips. This post made my laugh out loud Is, well done xx


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