Tips for Your Tips: 3 Rules for Getting Nail Enhancements

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Girl getting a manicure


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I'll admit it: I'm obsessed with my nails. They're my favorite accessory, as well as my pride and joy, and I enjoy taking care of them. But, there are many girls out there who don't feel the same, whether they want long natural nails but can't grow them out, or just don't share my passion for the DIY manicure.

Fortunately, this is where nail enhancements come in handy! Acrylic and gel nails have gotten a bad rep in the past from natural nail fans, but when done properly, false nails can totally transform your look without harming your natural nails. Keep these three tips in mind, and you won't go wrong!

1. Do a Test Run with DIY Falsies

Nailene So Natural false nails

If you're like me, you probably cringe at the thought of gluing on some cheap plastic nails from a drugstore, but fake nail companies have come a long way in the past few years! Today, there are sizes and styles available for every nail shape, and the best part is: they're inexpensive.

For a great natural-looking false nail, I recommend Nailene So Natural nails. They are a great french style that you can even paint over.

Once you have your false nails, follow the instructions carefully and always shape the nails to fit you perfectly. These nails are only made to wear for a few days at a time, but they will let you get a feel for what a full set of artificial nails will feel like.

2. Do Your Research

There is a false belief that the acrylic and gel used in nail enhancements somehow harms your natural nails. In reality, this is not true. The damage actually comes from unskilled nail technicians using drills to file your nails down. This results in severely damaged nails that take months to grow out (if you're lucky). If the technician drills too far they could damage your nail bed, and those damages could be permanent.

To avoid this, here are three things you need to do:

  • First, you should only allow a licensed technician to touch your nails. If they are licensed, you can bet their license will be proudly displayed. If you don't see a license, leave!
  • Next, make sure they are not using any type of drill on your nails! Did you know the most common drill used in nail salons is a Dremmel? They are sold in hardware stores and are used on wood! Yikes! A good technician should lightly buff the surface of your nail with nail buffer at the most.
  • Finally, your should be able to clearly communicate your expectations to your technician. Would you go to a hairstylist who styled everyone's hair the same? Doubt it. Your technician should find out what your lifestyle is like and what purpose you want your enhancements to serve. Not every customer should be treated the same, and if you technician isn't willing (or able) to discuss your needs, go somewhere else.

Finally, I hate to say it, but when it comes to gel and acrylic nails, many times you get what you pay for. Good, healthy nail enhancements are not going to be cheap, and if you find a salon willing to do them for much lower than other salons in your area, chances are they are using cost-cutting measures that could harm your nails.

3. Take Them Off the Right Way

Removing artificial nails


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Even once you've had your nail enhancements done, there is still a danger you could harm your nails by removing them the wrong way. Here are some tips on proper nail enhancement removal:

First off, you cannot, I repeat, CANNOT bite, pick, pry or pluck your enhancements off your natural nails. The two are bonded together. If you try to remove them this way, you will do some serious damage to your natural nails. Fortunately, many nail salons will either offer free nail removal if you get your nails done there, or will charge a small fee to remove the nails. (My salon even throws in a free manicure!)

If you've never removed your own nail enhancements before, I highly recommend allowing the trained technician to show you how. They will soak your nails in a solution of pure acetone, and will then wipe away all the remaining gel or acrylic. Once you learn how, this process is super easy to safely do at home!

Your Thoughts?

As you now know, nail enhancements can finally give you the nails you've always wanted, without (if you follow my tips) damaging or harming your natural nails.

So, what are YOUR thoughts on nail enhancements? Are you rocking artificial nails or do you prefer to go all-natural? What are your experiences with enhancements? Got any tips for other CF readers? Make sure to leave them in a comment.