Fake Nails Gave Me Better Skin: Important Life Lessons (Sort Of) From Wearing Artificial Nails

They're JEWELS, not TOOLS!
Publish date:
September 24, 2013
fake nails, nails, life lessons, advice, peeling onions, better skin

After 26 long, tedious years of wearing them short and au naturel, 11 days ago, I woke up and decided I wanted to get me some real, bad ass, mean-business nails. I've long admired the nails of the WAH girls on their Instagram accounts -- I've got a proper nail crush on Ellie Harry who is one of their star nail artists. She can paint ANYTHING on a nail bed, guys. She's a genius.

I'd been perving over her Instagram and was bemoaning my own tiddly little nail beds, and wishing that mine would grow healthy and strong so I could file them into that witchy point she has, when BAM! It hit me. HERS WEREN'T EVEN REAL. I COULD HAVE THEM TOO. Yes, it took me that long to actually consider the fact that I could just pay someone to make them look like that. I can be a bit slow sometimes.

So morning came, and I did a little research. I found a reputable (read: locally reasonably famous) nail salon, turned up and had a chat.

"What are you after, then?" the manager of the salon asked. "Well, I've got a photo on here..." I reached for my phone. She cut me off mid-sentence. "Eugh, you're going to show me the pointy ones aren't you?"

I asked if that was a problem. She looked down her nose at me. "Well, we can't do them. The girls here manually file the gel and we just can't get the shape you're after. I wouldn't usually recommend them as they use acrylic used in car parts, that's why they wear those little masks, but you're best off going into one of the little Chinese places in town.

They use drills. They'll wreck your nails but if that's the shape you want, that's what you're going to have to get."

OK then.

So off I flounced, aspirational photo in hand, and turned up at a small salon in the centre of town she mentioned that I'd never noticed before. There I sat down, with one guy immediately setting to work, buffing and filing my spindly little nails on one hand while his colleague took my other hand and got going. They glued the nail tips on in a matter of seconds -- choosing from a box of what looked like hundreds of different sizes and shapes -- all the while I was expecting one to be wonky or not fit right. Nope -- they judged them perfectly. Each tip fitted just right.

They then clipped the sides into the pointed shape I wanted using nail clippers, and FILED THEM MANUALLY. No drills! "See, it can be done!" I thought to myself, thinking that the manager of the salon I spoke to previously had essentially chucked away nearly £50.

They weren't wearing masks either. And yeah, I don't know the quality of the gel they used, but I'm really pleased with them -- they haven't lifted, or dried out -- they're still smooth and perfect 11 days on. And they were £20 cheaper, so YAY.

So off I trotted with my new delightfully pointy nails, stopping to photograph them of course -- because otherwise how would anyone ever know they existed? If a nail is painted and no-one sees is it still painted? Or something. You know what I mean.

In the past 11 days, I have learnt how to navigate my way around this cold, cruel world we live in with my new stabby nails. Here's what I've learned.

I've got better skin!

I never really realised before how much I touched and picked at my skin. I wouldn't say that it was a problem, but I've noticed now how I'd have a quick scratch while typing, or squeeze a spot absent mindedly or just generally touch my face a lot. The thing with the pointy witch nails is that I can't get the satisfying scratch I want, or get the right spot squeezing leverage.

Therefore, I've stopped bothering to touch my face as a recreational activity -- and LO AND BEHOLD, my skin has honestly never looked better. I generally have pretty good skin anyway, but the little crop of bumps on my forehead that have been there for all time have now completely disappeared. Coincidence? I think not.

I'm a better lover!

My new nails kind of make me feel swaggy and sexy, because they are. I was totally down to bone after getting them, because I felt like a new me, and hey! They're good for a gentle back scratch! I shan't write about how good they look while wrapped around something meaty, because my family might be reading.

I'm a faster cook!

Despite the saying "Tthey're jewels, not tools," I have found them pretty useful. Like a Swiss Army Knife attached to my fingers! They're really good as pincers to stop you getting croissant grease all over your fingers, and man alive, peeling a red onion took a mere FRACTION of the time! One drawback is that making apple crumble topping -- ie; hand mixing flour, butter and sugar, feels really gross when you've got long nails for the mix to get stuck under. I swear I've washed my hands about 75% more often since having them.

I've learned stuff I didn't know before!

I did some research on how to best care for my new nail swag, and in the process LEARNT STUFF! Learning is fun.

  • You're supposed to treat them as you would your real nails -- so if you wouldn't risk opening a can with your natural nails, don't think just because your new ones are made of acrylic or gel that they'll withstand a lot of effort.
  • Keep them as dry as possible -- as too much exposure to water not only causes lifting at the sides, it also leads to bacteria. Wash up using gloves and always dry your hands off thoroughly after washing them. And use anti-bacterial soap! Bacteria and acrylics are not friends.
  • If you accidentally break a nail or part of one lifts, never glue it back down yourself. Just head off to the salon, where they should fix it for free or at least for a lesser fee than a set of infills.

Got 'em? Hate 'em? I've decided -- after learning how to type quickly again (that was hard, man) -- that I'll definitely keep my nails in this style. £20 every three weeks or so seems a small price to pay for being to peel an onion at a Guinness World Record speed. The only problem I'm having is choosing how to decorate them next. What a tough life.

Natalie's on Twitter: @Natalie_KateM