Remember when MFM went to Tokyo and fell in love with the totally adorable nail art? It was made of Cal Gel, which I had experienced with my mom. Well, for my birthday last year (yes, this post is an old-y), I decided to get some gel nail art of my own! There are a few places in Manhattan that specialize in Cal Gel designs, but I selected Sakura, which has two locations in the City (as well as a few in Tokyo, so I knew it was the real deal!). I spent days looking at designs online and ended up with the below. It was partially inspired by the gorgeous design Katy Perry's mom wore when I met her at the Smurf movie premiere.
|Click to enlarge and see the great details|
I know it's not for everyone, but I loved it! It was fun! Over the top girly and glittery and adorable! Exactly what I wanted to celebrate my birthday. This picture is almost a week in, which is why you see the nail growth at the bottom.
The design is an ombre of pink and purple glitter, and they attached a rhinestone bow on my ring finger. The ring finger on my other hand had small rhinestones gathered at the bottom. It was a little freaky to have a 3D object that I wasn't able to remove attached to my nail.
The technician achieved the look by mixing fine glitter with clear Cal Gel...
...and painting it on my nails with a small paint brush. The bow was attached with clear Cal Gel and covered with a few layers of clear to keep it secure. If you want to read more about the process of gel manicures, check out my post about my mom's experience here, where I outline it in more detail.
Look at this fun selection of glitter and rhinestones! There was way more where this came from!
A couple of my girlfriends and my sister came with me. Here's a look at their designs:
Red Cal Gel with a rhinestone and stud design on the ring fingers
Red Cal Gel with clear half moons decorated with a single rhinestone on each nail and a gold thread outline.
My sister went for something flashy like me :). She has gold glitter with hand painted leopard spots.
My birthday's coming up again, and I think I'll treat myself once more. I leave it as a birthday splurge because these designs can add up. A simple one-color design is not much more than a standard gel manicure, but when you start adding multiple colors, hand painted designs, rhinestones, and other decorations, it can add up.
I was able to wear this design for over three weeks without any sign of wear and tear. Eventually, I got tired of it and removed it by soaking cotton balls in pure acetone and holding them against my nails by wrapping my finger tips in aluminum foil. After about 15 minutes, I was able to lift up and peel off the gel. My nails were a little damaged because I was impatient and lifted the polish off rather than waiting for the gel to dissolve and scrape off. I was too cheap to go to the salon and have them remove it professionally, which would have been better for my nails.
I went back for a second ombre gel manicure (this time lavender and sky blue) for my vacation to Puerto Rico last August. I wanted something hardy to survive sun block, sand, and salt water, which usually tear up my normal polish. The gel did survive, but this time it lasted only a little over a week, likely because of the exposure to all of those corrosive elements.