A Review of the No-Chip Manicure

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I wrote a humorous type thing for the LA Times on other guys "Dexter's" Deb Morgan should date. And here's a tiny thing at the AV Club about something pop culturey I want more of that I can't have.

Normally I don't get manicures. I take pride in having the steady hand, patience and lack of distractions that lets me do a pretty good job on my own but basically I am growing tree-hands this winter. Everything is so dry and hangnaily. Even more repulsive, when I'm distracted, I tend to bite off my overgrowth, which is no way to live in that it's disgusting to other people and makes you prone to infection. So, I decided to go get my hands professionally taken care of before a trip last week. I opted for the "No-Chip" manicure, a service I've been intrigued by for a while thanks to the sign for it ($40) hanging in the nail salon near my work. It's one of those nail salons that hopes it draws a big bachelorette party crowd, with "Sex and the City" running nonstop on the TV and coolers out for white wine and champagne. This is not why I go there, I'd like to clarify. It's just there.

I had picked out a color that was sort of gray-beige for my manicure (the IT color I tell you!!!!) when I was informed that there are set colors for the no-chip, only about five of them, basically, including basic red, purplish fuschia and a light pink. I decided to go for light pink which is not usually what I choose but I figured if I had to look at my nails for a while I'd choose something pretty neutral.

The technician told me that the paint is more of a gel than a polish, and after a few sessions under the UV lamps (which are probably giving me hand cancer, hancer) they were completely dry, so that was cool, none of that "Oh shit I messed up my nails the second I left the salon." One thing that I was unsure about was that the technician said that in order to remove the polish, you either need to wrap tinfoil around your hands while letting polish removal soak in (maybe I heard this wrong) or you had to come in to have it taken off. So that's how they get you.

I think the polish was supposed to last two weeks but I made it about a week before the polish started coming off, although the "chip" was sort of rubbery. I had noticed some little pockets of air growing around the nails as the week wore on, not unsightly but something I noticed, so last weekend I just went for it and peeled the polish off. Except for one stubborn finger it just came right off in one rubbery chunk, a sort of fun experience, if I'm being honest, except the nails did seem a little screwed-up afterwards--not as bad as when you try to take acrylic tips off yourself, but peeled and dry.

For what it was I have no complaints about the no-chip manicure--I actually think getting a full week's worth out of a manicure,without any touchups, was pretty good, it was great for a trip where I had to shove my hands into suitcases and overhead bins and so on but still look presentable at my meeting. There are only two issues with the manicure that I can see--one is the "outgrowth," or basically, your nail roots. If you can make your manicure last the full two weeks, you'll see new nail growing. This was fine for the pale polish I had on but it could look weird if you went with a darker hue

The other is that I realize I go crazy if I can't trim my nails for too long. Usually when I get a manicure I get my nails as short as possible but this time the manicurist left them a little bit longer. Many years ago I wrote about my pursuit of long, healthy nails. Well, that's all over now. I HATE having long nails. They feel all dirty and scratchy and raggedy. I must have short nails in order to be streamlined so while the no-chip manicure may last for two weeks, my sanity might not.