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MUG SHOT: Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Pacific Blue

July 30, 2010 by pam

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.

Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Pacific Blue

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.

Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Pacific Blue

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.


  1. shoutingwind says:

    awww!! that’s just so wrong. Naka experience din ako ng ganyan. SUS!! azar!

  2. Zara says:

    I’m so sorry you had such a bad experience! That is terrible! I guess I’m kind of the opposite of you – I’ve never had a salon mani or pedi, partly because I don’t want to pay for it and partly because I enjoy doing my own nails, even if they’re not always perfect.

    • pam says:

      i want to join your club! the book rescue your nails helped me figure out what i need to do to take care of my own nails.. ji makes it sound so easy! i will keep trying :) doing your own nails is super relaxing – except during those moments i stress out about my poor polish application.. haha!

  3. Belle says:

    I had a pretty similar experience with a home service nail thing a few months back and swore off from trying the rest after that experience. I have been planning to do a showcase of the different nail salons in Manila because I’m curious about the different services but deep inside I’m quite scared of the thought of encountering those “nail techs” that just went through a one-day training course and no certification whatsoever. I stick to those I trust now. Maybe in the future I will try to go with that original plan. But at the moment, because of all my travel, I’ve been forced to take care of my own nails and I must admit, my nails actually look quite good if I do say so myself.

    • pam says:

      I’ve been wanting to do the same pero like you, I really fear for my nails.. :( They’re still recovering from last Monday’s attack.. We need better regulation talaga. You’re right, a lot of nail techs don’t even have certification…

      I love your nails! They do look good :) I still need to get used to doing my own nails (I suck at painting them!) but yeah, I want to try doing my own manicures too..

  4. Diane says:

    Aw. That’s so wrong. The reason I stopped having manicures from salons and spas is that they scrape your nails with that metal cuticle pusher and they cut your cuticles. I also hate it when they don’t put a base coat and let the coats dry in between. Good thing, I find doing my nails theraputic. I love sitting in a corner and painting my nails.

    Pedicures, I need because I tend to have ingrown nails. I need those cleaned professionally.

    BTW, that polish is lovely. Available kaya yan dito?

    • pam says:

      i’ve started to enjoy doing my own nails too, although i need a lot of improvement in painting my nails.. but like you, even if i decide to just do my own manicures, i will still need to get pedicures in spas and salons :)

      unfortunately, pacific blue isn’t available here :( mine came from a swap with makeupalley girl who lives in Canada.. i’ve asked the local sally hansen people if they’re going to bring this color in later on.. i hope they do :)

  5. miss bun says:


    Pardon me while I pick my jaw back up from the floor.

    I was actually WINCING when I read your post. By the time I finished I had my hand cupped over my mouth. I feel your pain. When I read the word “nippers” my heart nearly stopped.

    A similar experience happened to another blogger recently… whenever I read these posts my heart just skips a beat… beautiful mugshots that i enjoy, ruined because of some mindless, cruel people who, if just took one extra minute and slowed down in what they were doing, would have made a difference. Aggh, girls who like to do their own nails like me can never imagine sitting through the HORROR! I marvel at your patience. I would have asked them to leave.

    On another note: I love your blog. I’m just passing through, but I’ve been reading for a while and your blog is the first nail blog I’ve come across, and my favorite. :D

    • pam says:

      So sorry to freak you out with this post! Haven’t had my nails done since then – I’m still feeling the trauma.. My nails and cuticles have recovered though and I’m glad :) They’re looking healthy again, except my polish is chipped.. Been on the road for days and I desperately need a manicure..

      So glad you enjoy my blog.. I love your blog too! have added you to my bookmarks :)

  6. dinna says:

    That’s a horrible experience. Lesson learned: don’t let anyone you don’t know or personally recommended by someone touch your nails. Nice color though. Actually, bagay sa yo kahit anong color.

    • pam says:

      hi dinna! it was horrible.. i really need to be more careful with the nail techs i choose..

      i love this color too and feel bad that my mani didn’t justify it..

      aww, thanks for saying that… haha! matigas lang ulo ko, i don’t really think about whether the color is better suited for people with cool skin tones, i just wear what i want :)

  7. Kate says:

    Hi Pam,

    You can’t believe how many times I read your blog in one day! :) It must have been so frustrating to bite your tongue throughout the torture but I am very glad that your beautiful nails are back in shape.

    Can I just also say that you are my nails’ fairy godmother? :) I’ve never really taken particular care of them in the past because… well, I can’t find any excuse. A month ago, a friend gave me a link to this site while scouting for new nail colors. Reading through your entries has inspired me to start taking care of my nails. And these last two weeks, I’ve been constantly searching shops for things I can use to pamper them — and lemme tell you, they’ve never looked better. :)

    So in behalf of my nails (and my friends’ nails too), I want to give you a huge hug and say thank you. And please please please keep writing. :)

    • pam says:

      Hi Kate!

      That is awesome! Getting comments like yours and meeting people who’ve been reading this blog tells me i made the right choice in continuing with Polish Police :)

      I almost quit, just a few months ago, because I told myself that what I really wanted to do was buy polish and wear it and not write about it. Now I realize how wrong I was.

      I’ve been enjoying blogging so much! And i have so many posts planned for the coming days :)

      I am so happy to hear that you are taking much better care of your nails now. And it’s not just you – I am also continuously learning about how to take care of my nails more. (Pick up Ji Baek’s Rescue Your Nails – you’ll love it!)


      I have no plans to stop writing. And thank you so much for reading :)

  8. Shoppa Holique says:

    Oh dear! Way too many bad mani experiences was the reason why I started doing my nails… well at least may silbi 3 years of art classes ko =p (steady hands – left and right!)

  9. [...] today by getting her nails painted blue after a really long time of wearing just pink polish. Yay, Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Pacific Blue! But this post isn’t about Pacific Blue. It’s about puppies. Yes, puppies. I first [...]

  10. Marie says:

    Shocks. That was a reaal bad experience. Good thing i haven’t had some mani-pedi at any spas because my mom didn’t recommend it to me. She too had the same experiences as you. These spas should get sued or something. I mean we pay right for their service but they have to do their jobs as well. :)
    OMG. I LOVE YOUR SITE. I’ve been hunting down for kinds of nail polish brands in the Philippines and because of your site, i have found some. thanks so much! Keep it up! :)

    • pam says:

      Hi Marie!

      Your mom is smart! And it’s true, some spas can be really horrible. But I have found a number of spas here that can be trusted – like Nail Spa and OrganicRituals :)

      Awesome! Glad you’re enjoying the site! Let me know if there’s a brand you’re looking for — maybe I can help you find it :)

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