I’ve been committed to weekly manicures for as long as I can remember. In fact, I used to say that having a standing appointment was one of my life goals, once work and parenting duties no longer constrained my schedule. (I grew up with this manicure mentality, as my mom had her standing appointment at 11am on Thursdays for as long as I can remember.) But between my weekly calendar reminder to make my next appointment, trying to carve out the hour to get there and back to my desk, and forking over $21 each time (including tip), manicures started to feel like more of a chore than a treat. (In case you’re wondering, gel manicures were reserved for vacations and business trips because they wrecked my nails.)
About three months ago, I ran into a friend and was amazed at how fantastic her nails looked. They were so long and strong I had to compliment her, and that’s when she said, “It’s the NexGen manicure. How do you not know about this?” (I didn’t know about this because I had been going to the same nail tech for over five years who doesn’t do it.) Then I started asking other friends if they had heard of it, and alas, one has been getting NexGens for years, and another had just recently started. (Both were addicted.) I brought it up at Pilates and my instructor gave me a recommendation, so I called to make an appointment from my car after class.
I had absolutely NO idea what to expect, but here’s how it went down:
- I was given about 100 color swatches to choose from. I wanted to go natural so I chose “A14,” which is a cross between “Funny Bunny” and “Ballet Slippers.”
- My old “regular” polish was removed and my nails were shaped and buffed a bit to give them a little texture.
- A clear polish was painted on, and my fingers were dipped into a jar of powder. (This step was repeated three times.)
- At this point, I got a little nervous because my nails looked really dull and super-thick, but then they were thinned out and contoured with a filing drill—and a clear, shiny topcoat was applied.
- After about 40 minutes I was done. My nails were completely dry and I was in awe of how good they looked. Where had NexGen been all of my life?
And here’s the best part: YOU ONLY HAVE TO GO EVERY THREE WEEKS. No chipping. No peeling. No dulling. The only change you see between leaving your appointment and going back for your next one is the growth at the base. (Another reason I like to stick with a pale shade.) One big surprise has been the cuticle situation. They haven’t actually been cut in three months, yet they look better than ever. I’m assuming the file drill cleans them up without me even realizing—and I haven’t had ANY cuticle issues since my first NexGen. (I always struggled with jagged cuticles, the subsequent picking and resulting boo-boos in the past.)
Another major takeaway here is that you can expect your nails to get LONG. My nails never got beyond a certain length before breaking or splitting (or me biting) before NexGen. After about a month, I basically had to relearn how to type. I also came to discover that it can be really hard to pick things up with these nails. But with that said, I love them so much I’m dealing with it.
You may be wondering how it comes off… Similar to a gel manicure, you either soak or wrap your fingers in foil with acetone. The main difference is that once the polish is soft, the nail tech uses the file drill to get it all off (because it won’t just scrape off).
Are you thinking to yourself, Yeah, but what does a NexGen do to your natural nails? In the fleeting moments I’ve actually seen mine over the past few months, I’m here to tell you that they are in better shape than ever. They’re strong and look beyond healthy. Frankly, it’s shocking.
All and all, I’m only sort of exaggerating when I say that the NexGen manicure changed my life (and no, I do not have any financial interest in the company whatsoever). I’ve even starting convincing the ladies next to me at the salon to try it, and I sing its praises to anyone who will listen. Are you convinced?