I'll Try Anything Once: Kawaii 3-D Nails

It felt like my nails sprouted hard, lumpy tumours. But I dealt with it for the sake of journalism.
Publish date:
April 6, 2011
shoppables, nails, i'll try anything once

For this edition of I'll Try Anything Once, I decided to go for D.I.Y. 3-D nails, or what I like to call "doll nails" (since they're mostly plastic and very cute). 3-D nails are made up of plastic beads, fimo-clay appliques, rhinestones or plastic cabochons shaped like hearts, bows, flowers, fruit, candy or anything else that's just plain cute. The decorations are applied to natural or fake nails along with bright, pretty polish and glitter. They're over-the-top, very elaborate, and very girly.

A bit of inspiration from the web [ sources: #1, #2, #3]

Since I'm a hands-on (pardon the pun) type of girl, I decided to try the trend out for myself. First off, I got my supplies together. I ordered cabochons from a shop on Etsy, bought rhinestones from the dollar store, and bought some heavy-duty (and terrifying) nail glue from the drugstore.

The Painstaking (And Very Pink) Process

The supplies, including Avon's Cotton Candy ($5, avon.com) and Essie's Minimalistic ($6.99, nailpolishoutlet.com), cabochons from Etsy, All Season Instant Nail Glue ($1.09, sallybeauty.com) and rhinestones from my local dollar store.

I started by painting my nails in alternating shades of pink (Essie'sMinimalistic, a pale lilac, and Avon'sCotton Candy, a bright bubble-gum shade). I let those completely dry first, because the glue wouldn't adhere to even slightly wet nails, which I discovered when I tried it. Oops.

Next, I got together all of the stones and plastic decorations and planned out my simple designs. I opened up the bottle of nail glue and started by applying a thin coat to the backs of the cabochons and rhinestones, and then popped them on the surface of my nail using tweezers and careful hands. No matter how careful I was, I still managed to get glue on my skin and kind of freaked out (the packaging said it was skin-bonding! Were my fingers going to fuse together? Was I going to be left with lobster claws?!) But everything seemed to work out fine and I still have 10 individual fingers. Phew.

Once the glue dried and the little bits of nonsense were secured to my fingers, I started to get annoyed. I like to keep my nails short. And while this wasn't exactly the same as rocking 2-inch acrylic nails, I still felt hindered. It felt like my nails had sprouted hard, lumpy tumours. But I dealt with it for the sake of journalism.

Now it was time for the opinions of other people. I'm in a play right now, so I asked my co-stars for their honest, serious thoughts on the nails during rehearsal. "Gaudy," said Chris, as he made a semi-disgusted face. Hey, I asked for honesty. My co-star Jessica sighed and said, "Why is it Japan starts both the best and WORST trends?"

I was fed up with the nails and decided it was time for them to go. But they weren't ready. Regular nail polish remover would not dissolve the glue and eventually I had to break out nail scissors and slide the blade under the big heart cabochons to remove them, which felt like my nails were about to pop off themselves. I am cringing just thinking about it. All of the warm water, heavy duty nail glue and capfuls of nail polish remover have left me with dried-out, ancient looking hands and cuticles that no hand cream can rescue.

While I think 3-D nails can look killer on other people, they just don't really suit my look OR my day-to-day hand comfort. And the process to get them on (and take them off) was too tedious for my low-to-medium maintenance beauty routine. I'll stick to simple 2-D nail styles from here on out.