Fashion Friday: Acrylic gel nails & glitter polish

Me with red acrylic gels
Me with red acrylic gels

When I went to Hong Kong, I went to The Nail Library to get gel acrylics done. I learned quite a bit from my experience.

The most important thing I learned is that there is a difference between acrylic nails and acrylic gel nails. Acrylic nails are basically fake plates of plastic stuck on your nails. Acrylic gel nails are painted onto your nails so they are sort of “molded” to your nail surface. I didn’t know this prior to getting my nails done. I just wanted a nail design that would last a long time and that was pretty.

I didn’t get any fancy nail art done. I just got my nails done in red, and I loved them.

The other things I learned are relevant to this fact: acrylic nails are not for me.

My nails lasted just over three weeks before I felt the need to peel them off. You have to get your nails “filled” every month or so, or basically, when the nail starts growing out and you can see the growth. A bit like when you colour your hair and the roots of your hair start to show after a while. The thing is, my nails grow very fast, likely due to my high protein diet (eating lots of fish and eggs1). Within a week, I was already seeing a lot of visible growth.

It became unsightly by the time I hit the three-week mark, and not to mention, my hair was starting to get snagged on the the base of the acrylic gel nails. It doesn’t hurt, by the way. But because the polish was chipping, it meant that when I brushed my hair or ran my fingers through it, it got snagged on the chipped polish. To be honest, I could not imagine spending $30 every couple of weeks just to get my acrylics filled in. If my nails grew slower, I would not mind it.

I ended up peeling my red nails off a few days ago. It was sad, and I felt bad that they had not lasted longer. I absolutely adored them while they lasted, though.

Acrylic nails are not for clumsy people, I once read. This is quite true. I know myself to be really rough with my hands sometimes and I sort of appreciate that I have tougher nails now, but working really hard with your hands can damage acrylic nails. They are very strong but they are not indestructible.

Would I get acrylic nails again? Probably, if for a special occasion or if I wanted to treat myself. But it would be very rarely, and I would not be keen on getting them filled unless my nails stop growing so fast. I sort of prefer to paint my own nails. I also still acknowledge that I can be indecisive, and get sick of nail colours often2. I generally paint my own nails every two weeks. The only issue I have with it is my impatience in waiting for the polish to dry.

However, after I peeled off my acrylics and rubbed oil into my nails to reduce the dryness, I decided to try painting my nails again with the new nail polish I bought in Japan.

“Smoothie nail” nail polish
“Smoothie nail” nail polish

My nail polish collection lacks in the sparkly/glitter department. I don’t normally like glitter, as it looks tacky. But when I went to Tokyu Hands in Japan, and spotted some glitter polishes, I had to buy at least a few. I strayed from the tacky, very bright ones, and bought two that were labelled with Smoothie Nail. They were 504 yen, which a little pricey at about five Australian dollars, but most top-branded polishes cost twice as much, so I didn’t fuss.

I like how the polish is a creamy pastel shade, and there are just enough specks of glitter to balance it out. In contrasting colours, too! The specks are quite vibrant but contrast with the actual polish colour. There are even tinier specks of glitter, which balance out the entire mix.

The variation I decided to try
The variation I decided to try

I tried the pale yellow polish on my nails, which has big specks of red and light blue, and tiny gold specks. I put on a non-chip base coat, and put about three coats of the polish before sealing it off with a coat of clear polish.

The look on my nails under lights
The look on my nails under lights

When I applied just one coat of the polish, the yellow wasn’t very visible, which is why I added more. It was a bit difficult to get an even number of specks to be spread out on all the nails. Overall I was happy with the finish, and I liked how specks on deeper layers were less prominent due to being covered up by the yellow, so it looked like they were floating inside the polish. Another thing I really liked about the polish was that when it dried on my skin after accidentally getting it on my skin around my nail, it was easy to peel off. Much better than having to pull out the nail polish remover or struggle to scrape it off when dry and hard.

The whole hand under a light, at night
The whole hand under a light, at night
In more natural light
In more natural light
  1. I have to say that since becoming pescetarian, my nails have become less brittle and bendy, and stronger, because I have had to get my protein from sources other than land meat
  2. I chose the red for my acrylics because red is my favourite colour and it would be unlikely that I get sick of the colour too quickly.

Comments on this post

Your nails look very pretty. :) I hardly ever paint my nails, as I have a tendency to bite them. :( I can see how it wouldn’t make sense to get your nails done if they grew quickly, as it could get expensive. I mean, I guess it would if you had a job where your hands were on display…or if you were to get engaged and people were constantly looking at your hands. *shrugs* The color that you chose to get is very pretty, and I agree that the final effect looks great. :)

Ooh, I love the red. It’s such a fantastic colour, and typically what’s on my nails too! /eee

Yeah I’ve made the acrylic gel manicure mistake before. I usually get them before I travel so that I don’t have to bring nail polish. They look beautiful and they don’t chip, and whenever your nails look nice you always seem to feel really great in my view! I say that as I have chipped polish on right now. 🙄 But they are absolutely the biggest pain to get off oh my god.

I do love the sparkles! They’re just a hint of sparkles and not anything too bright, it’s a great colour!

Tip: when painting your nails run them under cold water and they’ll harden up so that you don’t get fed up with them and mess them up while they’re drying! /heart

Your nails are beautiful! I have never done acrylic nails but for my entire life my mother has had them. She does them every 2 weeks and I don’t think I’ve ever seen her without acrylic nails. I guess they’re just for some people and not for others. I would hate them. My mom tried to talk me into them for my wedding and I refused!

I adore the sparkly nail polish! I, too, have a huge collection of nail polish, but I seem to have a fair amount of the glittery kind… XD It’s one of my favorites. Although it’s a huge pain to get off once you’re done with it. The nail polish remover doesn’t seem to want to scrub it off most times.

I’m so jealous of your nails. They’re naturally long and thin and elegant ♥ Mine are short and stubby… when I paint them, they just look like little M&M’s sitting on my fingers O_O

Ahhh, acrylics! They can be a pain, I feel you. I decided to try them out last summer, but I had on the hard ones, not the gel. And they weren’t put on by the nail studio, I bought the cheap $5 ones from the pharmacy. Needless to say, they ruined my nails lol.

I love the nail polish you got from Japan, it’s so pretty. It reminds me a little of ice cream? Haha, the matte color and the glitter make me think of birthday cake ice cream. It looks really yummy. I wish I could find something like that here in the US.

I can’t remember what kind of nail polish I got done for my manicure but I know it lasted for three-four weeks. So, I think it was gel but I actually liked them. I know it’s not for everyone but my nails don’t grow that fast so it’s wasn’t too bad, you know?

Pretty nailpolish! In the third picture of you holding up all your fingers and hand reminds me of what Sailor Moon does when she transforms. I’m such a geek. Hahaha

My friend gets her nails done almost every other week. It cost about £15 at the place she gets it done. I can’t possibly imagine spending about £30 a month on my nails. I like to keep my nails relatively short as I’m always at the computer typing. I find it really uncomfortable to type with longish nails. Same as you, it’ll be something I’ll do on a special occasion.

(It’s been a while since I last commented on your blog! I’ve been reading blogs via Feedly, but lazy to comment. Trying to back into the habit of commenting. Been following you on your journey to Hong Kong and Japan. Japan looks amazing, can’t wait to go there someday.)