The truth is I thought about not blogging about this manicure.
I love Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Pacific Blue so much, have lusted over it for months and rejoiced like crazy when Awesome Ashley sent it to me as a surprise during our first swap, and I feel that this stupid mani just doesn’t do it justice.
But then I realized, now is my chance to write about bad manicures.
As polish junkies in the Philippines, we are lucky to live in a place that gives us access to affordable manicures, pedicures and other nail treatments. You can find women who will do your nails for as low as a dollar or two, spas that offer manicures and pedicures for five dollars.
But while this gives us a reason to rejoice, this also means we need to be extra cautious. A lot of our manicurists aren’t real nail technicians, many fly by night spas do not sterilize their tools.
I have nothing against manikyuristas trying to make a living. A number of them are pretty good – like Nelia. I love Nelia and I will always love her but we had to say our goodbyes when I moved houses. I’ve never found a girl as good as Nelia. And my nails have never looked as good as they did when she was the one doing them.
My point is that we have to take care of our own nails – because no one else would do it for us. We owe it to our nails to protect them from ingrowns, from cuticle abuse, from infections, from bad manicures and pedicures.
That’s exactly what I failed to do last Monday. And until now, I still feel like apologizing to my poor nails.
I spent the weekend reading Ji Baek’s Rescue Your Nails and I have declared that book as my new bible. Every polish fanatic – actually, everyone, polish fanatic or not – should read it.
Inspired by Ji, I kept moisturizing my cuticles the entire weekend, treating them to generous amounts of Lemony Flutter. My nails – and my cuticles – looked good. Healthy, super healthy.
My MAC On The Prowl had finally chipped (after eight crazy days!), my nails were bare and I was ready for a fresh coat of polish.
My week was going to be crazy busy – I had deadlines, meetings, cupcake orders, Cats gala night, pages to close, a trip to Davao – my only chance to get my nails done was Monday night.
Jill and I didn’t get the chance to go to our favorite nail place so she decided to call a nearby spa for home service. They sent two people over.
The thing is, I thought about doing my own nails this week. Yes, I was that inspired by Ji. But then I thought, if I can get a professional to do it – why not?
Unfortunately, the girls sent by that damn spa were not professionals.
I watched the girl doing my pedicure like a hawk, making sure she just cut my nails straight across.
When she started my manicure, the girl scraped my nails with the cuticle pusher. I normally enjoy this part of the manicure but not this time. Gentle was not in her vocabulary, she actually made me wince.
I told the girl not to cut my cuticles and she nodded so I thought she understood what I meant. But she attacked the skin around my nails with a nipper anyway. When I told her again not to cut my cuticles, she nodded again. At that point, I already felt pain in my left ring finger.
My nails were uneven too – some were longer than the others.
And oh my god, when she started applying the polish on my left hand, I couldn’t believe my eyes. She applied polish so fast, not pausing between coats and not caring that there were major streaks and that cuticle drags had appeared. She didn’t even make sure that my whole nails were covered. I tried pointing out the streaks to her – very patiently, let me stress.
She had to redo one nail and I’m pretty sure she was annoyed.
And when she started applying polish to my right hand, I was silenced. I sat there, frozen to my seat, as I watched her spread one thick coat of polish on my nails. One thick coat so she wouldn’t need to do two coats or three. One thick coat because she was in a hurry to finish.
I swear, at that point I just felt like asking her to leave.
But I didn’t. I just gritted my teeth and paid her.
Their spa charges a measly P150 for a mani-pedi. I have paid and would gladly pay much more than that for good service.
Jill, who is excellent at doing her own nails, did not have a better experience. The girl who did her nails didn’t know how to use a nail cutter properly. Her nails were uneven and one was cut so short that it actually hurt.
After the girls left, I inspected the damage. My polish was a mess, my cuticles looked sad. My left ring finger still hurt. The skin around my nails looked and felt raw. My nails and cuticles looked far from healthy.
I tried to salvage the manicure, reapplying the polish on a couple of my nails but I felt that my nails had gone through enough trauma for the night so I left most of them alone.
I swear, I actually apologized to my nails and cuticles.
Because the polish had been applied so thickly, it didn’t dry completely. When I woke up the next morning, my polish was full of tiny little dents made by my hair while I was asleep.
Again, I love Pacific Blue, have gotten a ton of compliments on this color (it is a very bright cornflower blue – brighter than this picture shows) but I really don’t love this manicure.
We are never calling that spa again (actually we want to call – but only to complain). I wish this country actually had a regulation board for spas. It seems like anyone with a tiny dark space and a handful of uniformed women feel like they have the right to call their place a spa.
But until something is done about this, there’s nothing we can do but make smart choices. And do what we can to combat crimes against our nails.
Pacific Blue and I will have another chance – and next time I’ll make sure to find a spa and a girl who will treat my nails and cuticles with the care they deserve.