Someone explain manicures to me please!

posted 3 years ago in Beauty
Post # 3
93 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

I don’t know a while lot except if you want longer nails you are going to want either acrylics or gels. Gels being what are stronger and last linger, so depends if you just want it for the day of!

Post # 4
207 posts
Helper bee

Don’t do either! they weaken your natural nails. Just wear your natural ones, because you don’t usually do anything with them.

just dont do this

Post # 5
8518 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2014

@lilek22:  Are your nails pretty strong? If so, I wouldnt get fake nails. They have to file your nails down REALLY thin before they put the tips on. Freaked me out the first time I had it done. And then once the nails come off, your nails are still really thin and break easily. 

I dont know anything about gels though, as I’ve never had it done. 

Post # 6
375 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

Gels are awesome. It is just like super shiny, thick, durable nail polish. It doesn’t make your nails longer. So go in with what ever lenght you want. Seriously it can last for weeks and looks great. Doesn’t damage your nails at all.

Post # 7
2878 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

Regular manicures – they will moisturize your cuticles, tidy them up, cut and file your nails, and apply regular nail polish (base coat, color, top coat).  How long the polish will last depends, but for me, it’s like, a day.  For others, it’s more like a week.  It can be removed with regular polish remover.

Gel/shellac manicures – same stuff with cuticles/nails, and then apply gel polish – it is painted on like regular, but they set each layer with UV light.  It lasts for two weeks or more – typically you want it removed because it grows out rather than because it chips.  It doesn’t hurt your nails in and of itself, but if you try to peel it off, it will pull off a layer of nail.  If you go in and get it removed in the salon, you’ll be fine. I HIGHLY recommend this option.  It’s the only reason I now have healthy nails; I used to have thin nails that I always bit, but after getting regular gel manis for a few months, they are now gorgeous and I don’t need the gels to protect them. The gels didn’t damage my nails (always had them professionally removed) and now my nails are stronger because they were safe under the gels. It is a bit thicker than natural nails, so they won’t break as easily.  Gel/shellac manis look gorgeous; the polish stays glossy and don’t scratch or chip even when abused, unlike regular polish.

Acrylic/’gel nails’ – they deal with cuticles etc, and then grind down your nails, removing the top layers so that there is a rough texture for the fake nail paste to attach to.  They then put on tips that make your nails longer, and then apply a paste that sets into a thick ‘nail’.  Like gel manicures/shellac, they last for 2-3 weeks, and the issue is them growing out rather than them chipping.  They have to be removed in the salon – if you pull them off, you will remove even more layers of the nail.  This is what you would do if your nails are super short and you want them long, but it will definitely damage your nails no matter what.

Hope that helps!

ETA: Re-read that you want your nails longer than usual.  That gives you two options, depending on what you’re willing to do for it.  If you start getting gel manicures now, you can keep them protected so they will be able to grow longer than you naturally can do (as I said, slightly thicker so they won’t break as easily, you can’t bite them, etc) – more of a long-term fix.  If you just want a fast fix to have longer nails than you normally do and are okay with them being weak for awhile after the wedding, just do fake/gel nails for the wedding; they will put tips on and you can have them do them whatever length you choose – this will give you a great one-day fix.

Post # 8
1443 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2010 - parent's backyard

@lilek22:  shellac is nice, you don’t have to worry as much about chipping. however, I got one in a pale color and it somehow got stained – my guess is from running my hands through my recently dyed hair? I read somewhere that shellac is porous.  so if you get shellac, just ask them what might stain them.  they might slightly protect your nails from breaking too.

on the other hand, regular nail poslish has never gotten stained on me. honestly, if you get your manicure the day before or the morning of the wedding, regular nail polish is fine. most manicures won’t chip until several days in as long as you don’t do anything extreme with your hands. 

IMO, fake nails, acrilycs, etc, are super thick, which I think makes them look fake, even from far away. here’s an example:

they look like they’re nicely done. but they’re SO thick. I think they look super fake — and this is an example of a nice one. the bad ones are really gross.

Post # 9
6964 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

I wouldn’t get “fake” nails. I don’t think they look natural and they trash your real nails. I’d either do a regular manicure or the gel.

Post # 10
215 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

I had gel nails done by my sister. She made them longer but didnt glue any tips. I took pictures for you, but I’ve had them for 4 weeks already and they are starting to grow out so I will have to fix them. She did file the top of my nails down a bit but not much. I thik they looked really good when she first did them. She also did the square tip but I dont really like it much so I made them round after the wedding. I really really love them. No issues at all. I will be making them myself from now on.

It’s basically 2 layers of clear gel and one layer of white for the tip



here they are from the bottom. You can see how much length she added

Post # 11
720 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

DON’T get fake nails! I’ve had acrylics twice to try and kick my nail biting habit..and all it did was RUIN my nails. 

Post # 12
73 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

I like the Gel or Shellac (they are different but the same . . . someone explained to me once, but I can’t remember). This is what I did and would recommend for you

1) Go in 2 to 3 weeks before your wedding and get a gel manicure. The gel doesn’t make your nails grow, but the strength of the gel will keep them from breaking. This way your nails can grow to the length you like.

2) Go back in the week of the wedding to have the gel re-done for the wedding. You will have your own nails (not thick, damaging acrylics), the length and color you want. I did French tip at the urging of some family members, but I would have done a neutral color also.

I’m not sure what acrylics cost, but I didn’t mind have 2 relaxing trips to the salon a month before the wedding 🙂

Post # 14
2831 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

don’t get acrylic or gel nails. they’re not safe, they ruin your nails, and they do permanent damage to your nail beds if they aren’t done properly. trust me, i have my license to do nails.

use a nail strengthener which will help them grow (i like duri rejuvacoat). then get a shellac or gel polish manicure for the wedding. or, treat yourself to a manicure every other week leading up to the wedding, and use the rejuvacoat/strengthener as a base coat under the regular polish.

Post # 15
10748 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2014

There is one kind of soak-off gel nails called Biosculpture Gel, and I had it done with a bit of length added for our engagement pictures. They lasted 4 weeks (but grew out obviously) before I had them soaked off, and it was pretty easy. I wasn’t a huge fan of how thick she did them though – after the pics I filed the thickness down a bunch myself and resealed the top with my at-home shellac kit. Then I just trimmed them as usual and painted over with regular polish as they grew out to hide the gap. Anyway, if you’re going to get fake that’s the only kind I’d go with it. I’ve read too many bad things about non-soak off fake nails and the damage they do. Or take nail vitamins, let them grow out nice and long naturally and just do a gel polish. Those soak off and are thin like regular nail polish, but last way longer. 


Post # 16
80 posts
Worker bee

@lilek22:  Another route you could go that hasn’t been mentioned yet is press-on nails. I know what you’re probably thinking: “Those nasty fake looking things from the early 00s?” But ImPress makes really great ones that last for at least 10 days and look super natural.

I had them when I worked retail and women constantly asked me where I had my nails done.  Major plus…they’re so cheap! About $7 at Rite Aid/Target/Walmart for a set that has two applications. 

Here’s a picture of the french manicure ones, but they have lots of color options!

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