Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Red Nails That Weren't Meant to Be

The last couple of days I have been noticing some very nice manicures which featured brightly colored polish. I have never had anything other than clear polish or light pink. But I had gotten up my courage to go for red – not a whore-y fire engine red but a deep almost burgundy red.

Shear Shack was a zoo today, with people getting ready for lots of parties. Sophia did my hair and eyebrows in between two color jobs. Then she pawned me off on a shy-looking young girl from Pakistan for my manicure. I carefully picked out just the perfect red while waiting for her to begin the manicure. I should have been a little suspicious when after each step she would ask, “Is OK?” She then told me that she worked part time and was in beauty school the rest of the week. I asked if she had learned to do manicures in beauty school, to which she replied, “Oh no, we just learn that here.” The initial steps were fine and I really love the massage and the hot cloths on my hands. But when she started to apply the perfect red nail polish, things started to fall apart. After each nail, she was using her own nail to remove paint from my cuticle. Five nails in, when she once again asked, “Is good?” I took a look and realized that it was indeed NOT GOOD! My nails looked like a 6-year-old had painted them. I immediately realized how forgiving clear polish is and how perfectly applied red polish must be. The disaster continued when she couldn’t find any polish remover to take off all this ugly color. Finally she found the dregs of remover in a bottle and did her best to get it off. She offered to find someone else to do the red, but by then my heart just wasn’t in it. So instead we settled on a single layer of Top Coat, I paid the bill, and was happy to leave. My young manicurist repeatedly said, “I am so very sorry,” seeing the disappointment on my face, but there are times to just move on and this was one of them.

Two lessons from this beauty attempt: Don’t go on a day when everyone else is going. And make sure if you are getting colored polish to find someone who has passed the manicure test in beauty school already. Better yet, notice some perfectly manicured nails and ask who did them.


Blogger Washington Cube said...

You really do need to go to a licensed manicurist. I've only seen that using their own finger edging thing in the Asian-owned shops. Professionals either clean your edges with a special tool, or they use an artist's brush and acetone to clean the edges. They should not be using their own fingernails.

I had my manicure today: OPI's Berry, Berry, Christmas. A bright red. You are right. Red is the most difficult color to work with, and it requires a lot of cleaning on the edges, but not "too" much if they know what they are doing.

Don't get discouraged on red and try again.

4:56 PM  
Blogger always write said...

Oy, vey. You see, people? This is why I don't do my nails. Yeah, I use the piano as an excuse, but in truth I just don't think it's worth the heartache. You glamour girls, you're way outta my league.

11:26 PM  
Blogger Velvet said...

Cube's right, only the Asian salons use that finger trick.

On the upside, be happy this was your only transaction with this woman. Nails can be uncolored. Hair can't be "un-cut."

1:55 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Cube -- I will heed your advice and look for a licensed manicurist for my next attempt at color. I can imagine that Berry, Berry Christmas is a beautiful red.

AlwaysWrite -- I have this ongoing dilemma about nails and piano since I am serious about playing. Just at the point where nails look good, you start to hear clicks on the keys.

Velvet -- You are so right about hair. I really trust Cambodian Sophia to give me a good cut. I'll stick with her, but look elsewhere for future manicures.

8:46 AM  

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