Friday, August 26, 2011

My Gelish Manicure

I bought a groupon-like deal from Shiokdeal, a Singaporean website similar to Groupon but without the "Satisfaction Guaranteed" box on the website. That was my number 1 mistake.

I wanted to try a gel manicure, the kind that is applied like nail polish from a bottle, and dried under a UV light, because I was considering buying my own UV machine and either gelish/shellac polishes to DIY, but I wanted to see what it was like in real life before making the investment, and this was the worst $22 I ever spent.

The salon I went to is in the Adelphi, on the third floor. It's called Image Beauty Spa. I'm not afraid of putting their name out here because I want to show everyone what my experience with them was like, and this is a fair comment, perfectly justified, and not defamation because my pictures show their workmanship for it is.

A gelish manicure is a gel manicure, from the OPI brand. The difference between it and regular polishes is that it won't dry without curing under a UV lamp. The benefits are that it's supposed to stay on for 21 days, like Shellac, if you know what it is.

Anyway I made an appointment and went to the salon the next day. This was several weeks back. The salon turned out also to be the kind that did facials and stuff, with a separate room for manicures. The manicurist wasn't the friendliest, and when I went in, she told me to just take a seat, then shoved some nail wheels in my direction, saying "nah. choose!" I figured she meant choose the colour. I wanted white with glitter on top, but as it turned out, the glitter would cost $5.

She started off by wanting to file my nails, but hearing the awful stories from the girls on the Nail Board about manicurists shaping their nails all weird, I had filed my nails in preparation the night before. I told the manicurist I didn't want my nails filed, and she asked, "Sure? Your nails not round not square. Funny shape." But I told her I still didn't want my nails filed though I felt a little insulted. I thought a "not round not square" nail shape would be squoval.

I asked her about doing my cuticles, and she said that would be an extra charge of $5 again, so I refused. I was pretty stunned by then, because I had done some reading online, and I knew that if you applied the gel polish on your cuticles and cured it, it would lift because it's not on your nails.

Then the manicurist started filing the surface of my nails, so I quickly stopped her. I had read and knew that filing the surface of the nails wasn't necessary for the polish to adhere for 21 days, it could adhere despite not being filed, and filing the surface of your nails is a terrible thing to do because it really weakens your nails, so I stopped her after she did my little finger.

She slapped on the primer, might I say too, ALL over my nails and the skin around it. Then applied the base coat. Then two coats of colour, and a top coat, which was again smeared on the skin around it. The only time she was careful to scrape the polish off my skin was when applying the white polish. It's as if it doesn't matter when the polish is clear because no one will see it.

I was awfully appalled, because it's not not filing your nail surface that will make the polish lift, it's the painting on your skin! She further told me that she had been doing nails for 4 years. I couldn't believe it. I could paint nails better than her, and I didn't attend nail school nor have I been a manicurist for 4 years.

Want to see the results?

Look how she painted the cuticles on BOTH thumbs.

Now look how she painted the skin on the sides of both nails.

See how the colour is so uneven? And bubbling! WTF. It's not even supposed to happen with gelish!

See how she painted my cuticles?

She did wrap my tips, but clearly didn't know how to cure the polish properly because there's shrinkage here! Look at the middle finger!

I know to most people this isn't too bad, but I really expected more from a "professional", and from a gelish manicure. If I can do my nails better than her, then she shouldn't call herself a "professional". I know that I don't paint that well, particularly when using white polish, but gel polishes are different, they're usually self-levelling, and pretty even, but this manicure sucked. It was dentable even when I left the salon.

The funniest part was that I met someone I knew after I left the salon. My toes were painted with Color Club's Wishlist Red, a gorgeous red glitter in red polish. I told this person that I just had a manicure, and he looked down and complimented my toes. (It's a man, and I guess not all men are familiar with the differences between a manicure and pedicure). I told him that it was actually my fingernails that just got done, and he looked at it and said "Oh, um, that's nice too."

This was a horrible experience for me. I took this off by myself 2 days later, by using the foil method. My little finger which got filed down was all jacked up, in the end I had to buff the remnants of the polish out. I guess this is why shellac is more popular than gelish, no filing needed.

I made a complaint to shiokdeal, and I guess they forwarded my complaint to the shop. They decided to give me a refund, which I'm very grateful for because the crap on my nails is not worth SGD22. However, they also said "After investigating, though there is another side of the story to this episode" in the email they sent me. I asked what this other side was, still waiting for the answer!

Anyway I'm just putting this out here to forewarn anyone thinking of getting a gelish manicure from that shop. Also, I'll probably buy my own UV machine and polishes and try them out myself. Look how shiny it is!


  1. Gelish is by Harmony, not OPI brand if im not wrong... I heard ecogel is good, no filing required i think. now u know why singapore's manicure/ nail care industry just cant soar... :P