Photo Credit: beautyinthebag.com
Iâ€™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 youâ€™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 thatâ€™s when she said, â€œItâ€™s the NexGen manicure. How do you not know about this?â€ (I didnâ€™t know about this because I had been going to the same nail tech for over five years who doesnâ€™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 hereâ€™s how it went down:
- I was given about 100 color swatches to choose from. I wanted to go natural so I chose â€œA14,â€ which is a cross between â€œFunny Bunnyâ€ and â€œBallet Slippers.â€
- My old â€œregularâ€ 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 drillâ€”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 hereâ€™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 havenâ€™t actually been cut in three months, yet they look better than ever. Iâ€™m assuming the file drill cleans them up without me even realizingâ€”and I havenâ€™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 Iâ€™m dealing with it.
You may be wondering how it comes offâ€¦ 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 wonâ€™t just scrape off).
Are you thinking to yourself, Yeah, but what does a NexGen do to your natural nails? In the fleeting moments Iâ€™ve actually seen mine over the past few months, Iâ€™m here to tell you that they are in better shape than ever. Theyâ€™re strong and look beyond healthy. Frankly, itâ€™s shocking.
All and all, Iâ€™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). Iâ€™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?
Photo Credit: beautyinthebag.com
Dallas is not only a 26-year-old self-taught artist, but she’s also the salon owner of Dallas Beauty Lounge, which has a waiting list of more than 80 people. She has been painting nails since she was 14 years old but didn’t get into the business of painting nails until she got to college. Now 8 years later, Dallas has built a beauty empire! Besides being the most talented in the area, Dallas is also the most sought-after, anybody who is somebody in the Pittsburgh area goes to Dallas Beauty Lounge. Dallas and her team take nail art very seriously, they want their clients to leave with custom art that reflects their personality, they are on the cutting-edge of trends and products.
Like most of you, I love nail polish. Right now I’m loving it all shades of blue, rich or vibrant purples, pale pink tones and black, but unlike most of you I love it only on my toes. For my fingers, I’ll always choose a nice clean buffed nail over color any day. There’s just something about a buffed nail that I can’t get enough of. It’s chip free so perfect if you’re more the low-maintenance type and gives your nails an understated “finished” look with a healthy-looking, natural sheen.
You might be wondering what my dilemma is. The truth is, if I step into a salon to get it done, it’s hard for me to justify spending the same amount of cash on a mani when I won’t be getting the “included
Photo Credit: sephora.com
Formula X is certainly a different kind of nail experience. First of all, it is a huge range. Walk into any Sephora and you will be overwhelmed with the choices of a rich rainbow of colors, cool textures, shimmery metallics, glow in the dark neons, over the top glitters, and wild eye-catching finishes. The extensive selection will set every nailaholics’ heart a flutter. For me, however, I was searching for my go to beige, creme, pearl, and shell tones. (I know…yawn).Â If you can’t decide on your favorite shade, Sephora has a clever tester set up on the displayâ€”you slip your fingers under a clear acetate sheet and polish over your nail to see how it would look against your skin tone.
When it comes to beauty services, I’m all about saving time. Between working on my collection of Apple electronics 24/7, carrying around a bag that weighs a ton, running from meeting to meeting, in and out of taxis, etc. my typical mani lasts 2-3 days tops and I usually break at least one nail. I tried one of the home gel kits but it was too complicated and messy for me to stick with. I don’t have a schedule that lets me go for professional gel manisâ€”nor the patienceâ€”and I’m too ADD to sit still long enough to have it done anyway. Therefore, my nails really take a beating and it’s not pretty.
So the promise of lasting well (like a whole 7 days!!) without chips and without UV light exposure that can cause skin cancer, got my attention. The idea of being able to take off or change your polish without soaking or using a sharp instrument also appeals.
To get into the Formula X frame of mind, start with the System Kit ($32.00) that contains 4 key steps needed to deliver the whole Formula X experience. It includes a cleanser, base coat and top coat, plus the color of your choice (that is, if you can pick just one!). I was skeptical about why I really needed to use the Nail Cleanser instead of just washing my hands, but after trying it, I can see the benefits. It gets your nails and cuticles squeaky clean without oils, dirt, sweat, or residue, so they are ready to accept the polish. The Base Coat is supposedly designed to be an adhesive primer that forms a sticky layer, thereby helping the polish stay in place. Next step is the color of your choice. And the last step is toÂ finish with their signature shiny Top Coat to protect your mani and voilaâ€”you’re done! It’s that fast, easy, and it looks like a pro did it.
I’m in LOVE with Formula X. In fact, I’m going back for more colorsâ€”and I might even venture out of my comfort zone this time (brights or metallics?). I especially love the Neutrals and the New Classics collections. I am very impressed with the long wear time and chip-free formula. And I’ve already bought the System Kit for two girlfirends for the holidays.
Ladies, this nail polish is a MUST try!
Look for Formula X on Sephora.com and in Sephora stores, prices range from $10.50-$12.50 depending on the polish.