I love having nail extensions and have now had them permanently for just over a year. My natural nails were always pretty terrible and working as a hairdresser never helped since they were wet and exposed to chemicals constantly.
I absolutely love having long pointy (stiletto) nails but have learnt a few things along the way that I thought I would share.
1. Consider the shape
Stiletto nails are known to lift and come off easier than their square or round counterparts. Start off having them not too long to get used to them and then you can go longer if desired. For the retro look without the sharpness of stiletto nails, try the almond shape.
2. Keep on top of maintenance
Ensure you are getting regular backfills. I go every two weeks, if I am a week late, I risk lifting and possible and whole nail to come off.
3. Avoid having the extensions removed
When I first started getting acrylics done, I thought I needed to get them removed and a new set applied every 3 or 4 backfills. This led to my nails getting much weaker underneath and because my natural nails never really caught up, I had a lot that would break or lift off.
When I used to get them removed every few times, the ladies would just slide something underneath and pull them off (it really hurt!) and one time my natural nail ripped a little exposing the nail bed underneath- not fun! Every time you rip off a nail, a layer of of your natural nail will come off along with it meaning they’ll keep getting thinner and thinner.
In the last 3-4 months I have only been getting backfills and haven’t had any break AT ALL except for last week but that was because I was a week late getting them done. My natural nails have grown underneath, giving the acrylic a better anchor and meant I can have a longer length.
4. Protect them whenever possible
Wear gloves whenever possible if you are going to have your hands submerged in water for extended periods of time. Also if you can remember to quickly dry underneath your nails after washing your hands, this will help stop the water lifting the acrylic from your nail.
5. Polish and design
If you are like me and are pretty hard on their nails, having your hands in water etc, opt for gel colour instead of regular polish over the top. I found regular polish would start to look dull and wear off the tips and sides after the first week so I switched to getting gel colour instead (i.e Shellac or G’Lish). This means it stays super shiny for the full two weeks and there is minimal wear on the ends..
Go for a the Dita Von Teese style half moon manicure to disguise the regrowth of the nail. If you want any kind of design like the half moon or my new favourite heart shape, supply a picture reference! Don’t rely on your manicurist to know exactly what you mean. That way there is no mis-communication and disappointment.
And finally, choose wisely where you go and if you find a good nail technician, ask for her/him each time so you can build a relationship and they can get to know your preferences. There can be some very poor hygiene standards at some of the cheaper nail salons but so far I haven’t had any problems apart from the one incident mentioned earlier. Whilst there are some high end nail salons that can do extensions with minimal/no damage, most of the time they are going to really damage your natural nails. This doesn’t bother me as I don’t plan on taking them off anytime soon but it’s something to bear in mind if you are thinking of just getting them for a occasion- be prepared for damaged, weak nails after getting the extensions taken off!