26 November 2018

Twilight Zone: Nails III - Press on Nails - Part One

irst up nothing has changed on my own nail front since last time. I’ve put in a few hardening cycles which seems to work. This is due to having a combination of Onychoschiza and Onychorrhexis. That is splitting of the fingernails due to brittle or soft nails and longitudinal ridges on the nails. I’m told (in the literature) this is not uncommon in combination.

Excuse the unprofessional application in the example left. As well as not having enough practice, I had the feeling that the varnish was too thick and dare I say ‘lumpy’. Also it didn’t apply evenly over the nail even after rigorously shaking of the bottle beforehand. Maybe it needs to be thinned. I know it will dry out at one time or other but does nail varnish ‘go off’? 
Even with a base coat and two coats of mint one can still see the ridges on my thumb and ring finger (see insert of thumb, the varnish left a gap at the tip of the ridge). It’s interesting that the ridge pattern is mirrored on the corresponding finger of the other hand. 
This combination of brittle nails and ridges is one of constant annoyance. When a nail breaks due to mechanical stress then ok it’s not good but one has a possible reason why it broke. But I get angry when at the end of a ridge, even when the nail is only a couple of mm long, it automatically splits along the ‘fault line’ without any particular reason other than - I can only conjecture here - the build-up of static stress forces being released!

So enough about my brittle nails, I wanted to give my experience with false nails and in particular with press-on nails as these are the only ones I have tried until now..
As I have mentioned before in Nails II post finding an ‘alone time’ to varnish and then remove is not easy. One needs a minimal amount of time for the logistics and there is always the aftermath of unseen traces of colour in the crevices and the lingering smell of removal.
With stick on nails it sounds as if the process would be easy and sticking on relatively quick. The problem I saw was when trying to remove them as seen in various film comedies situations. Ok the film scenes are usually overdone but still a ‘sticky’ situation depending on if the glue is of Superglue or Post-It strength.

A chance to try false nails came about in 2016 when I had a week alone. MrsA went on holiday to the coast with a girlfriend and her dog (the friends dog that is). This was the third time and as it happens the last time she would be doing this. As a consequence this was to be my last long weekend fem for the foreseeable future.
As the holiday was planned a long time beforehand, I also did some planning and took a crash course in false nails by looking at various videos on YouTube and checking websites with their comments to the products and procedures. This way I found out there were basically three types/methods to choose from.

The first - which was quite out of the question - was your acrylic UV light hardened ‘semi-permanent’ type. Not only is the procedure long, rather complicated for a part-time amateur like me, full of chemicals plus smells and needing a UV light to harden, but also on removal by having to painfully spend half the day cutting off access acrylic before wiggling ones fingers for over half an hour in either an acetone bath or wrapped in aluminium foil with acetone soaked cotton pads!
All this and with no guarantee that one’s real nails would not drop off in the process, and to top that having to file off the bits of acrylic still hanging on for dear life after the soaking!

The ultimate put off for me was the removal method for people with problems with acetone and/or acetone free nail polish remover. It was suggested to get someone to help in using dental floss to saw off the nails! There was also the mention of pain, lots of it!
I can just imagine MrsA getting home and seeing my colourful talons and hearing me say
“Darling be a dear and help me saw my nails off!?’
[Ed: Aye and the first thing she would do, after making herself a cuppa tea, is to ring for a windowless padded van to cart you away..]
Yep, quite probably.

The other two types were more in my line as they looked ‘semi-temporary’.
There was the ‘raw’ colourless fake nails using a separate glue of your choice. Either you stick & paint or paint & stick depending, I think, on the art work you want to decorate them with or how shaky in general your hands are. And lastly there are press-on fake nails, pre-painted and already coated in glue ready 'to go'.

There were a lot of comments in the net to various glues and methods, mainly about being disappointed with the lack of staying on power even for a few hours. There are also glue pads out there sold separately that allow you to stick fake nails on less messy. But the comments to them were even more negative. What calmed me somewhat, after having the acrylic horrors echoing in my head, was not finding any mention of forced removal gone wrong followed by a visit to the local ER.
So after spending some time deciding on what to buy I went for both, raw plus glue and press-on nails.

To begin with I ordered a box of colourless nails of a moderate length. The glues in bottles and tubes reminded me again of super glues and so I went for what looked like a felt pen that you ‘draw’ the glue onto the nail which I thought was a neat idea.
One long evening alone I plucked up courage to try and glue and remove one nail as a sort of test ‘stick’. I was stopped before I began as the glue pen turned out to be ‘useless’. It wasn’t even tacky when I touched my nail after applying a coat. I thought it had probably dried up although it still had a smell of chemicals.
It was only when I looked at the pen again and read the small print on it with a magnifying glass that I realised, to my embarrassment, it wasn’t a glue at all but a primer to help the glue stick better! I had even bought a finger wiggling bath just in case I panicked trying to remove the nail!  So the box, pen and soaking bath are still stashed away waiting for use, if ever as with most of my makeup.

Following this non-starter set back I went for ‘plan P’ and the press-on type.
While doing my crash course in fake nails in the Net I came across among others Broadway ImPress. They have a nice selection of different styles, colours and strangely a very wide range of prices depending on the retail shops selling them! After scrutinizing the websites I was informed that the nails are ‘easy’ to apply and ‘painless’ in removal when using a manicure stick.
I was a little hesitant that wedging a manicure stick between me and ‘it’ would be painless but I was willing to take the chance. Ok I wasn’t that naïve thinking something that needed to stick for a week (their claim) and survive routine housework and not only clubbing and parties (my idea) would be removable without at least some resistance. I knew I would have to do it gently and with feeling as well as taking my time.
[Ed: You’re not telling me you did of all things, ‘housework’ with extended nails!?]
Yes I did, and NO not in a maids outfit.
But we're jumping the gun here.

After looking at the different styles and as I’m partial to French nails (up to then on other people's fingers), I went for two sets. Also without really knowing why, I picked one set with pink and glitter. This was way before my pink phase when I got my pink prom dress.
It was not always possible in the ads looking at the nails in the packaging to see if they were short or medium. I only found a few that said medium length so they went on my ‘short’ list. I didn’t want nails that just covered my own nails but also not too long as I suspected they would not look good with my cubby fingers. Apart from the length the price dictated what I ordered; as cheap as possible as it was highly probable that this would be a one-off experience.

So I was ready for the long weekend between Friday, after getting home from work, and Monday morning before leaving for it. This would allow me to take my time not only to dress but also to explore the world of false nails. The week came and unfortunately a lot of work came up and so I got home late evenings. This meant dressing was short but open ended; a rare treat for me. Friday took ages in coming as the butterflies started to build up in anticipation in how I was going to occupy myself at the weekend. Eventually it did arrive and to the surprise of my colleagues I made excuses and left early. I really had to concentrate hard on the traffic as my mind was wandering thinking about what I would be doing later that evening.
I made it home in one piece, made myself a cuppa tea and went through my plan of action for the weekend. I knew I would not keep to all of it but a plan is always good even if one deviates from it almost immediately. There was bound to be interruptions, but I hoped only on the phone and not somebody dropping in without ringing first. Main thing was to do my nails, even if it would be two in the morning!

I spread all my nail varnishes out on the table including the newly arrived false nails and looked at the colourful display in wonder; it felt like Christmas from my childhood [Ed: No she didn’t get any makeup, just ‘borrowed’ her mum’s when she wasn’t looking]. I wasn’t really sure what I would be doing with the varnishes but I put them in easy reach for the evening just in case.
I didn’t intend to do a ‘how to’ here, but the following may give you some idea of what to do if you’re not tried ImPress nails until now.
There is a small pad included with alcohol to clean the nails from fat before sticking. Whatever you use make sure your nails are fat free, as with any surface you want to stick something to. Also provided is a mini paper file for smoothing the tips following applying. Use a proper glass file for this and on your nails beforehand to tidy them up a bit.
Next is sorting out which ones match which finger. Basically the rule is if your not sure go for a slightly smaller size. This is because of the nails curvature. When they are pressed and glued onto the receiving nail they spread out ever so slightly to fill the gaps left and right. Less fitting is okay as with varnish but over the edge is ugly, again as with varnish.

Each nail has a thin transparent plastic covering on the underside with a small tab to help remove it (see picture). The tab needs to point towards the cuticle. Although it may be obvious with other shaped nails with these it’s not always easy to see the orientation. After finding the right nails for the one hand line then up and find for each one a second matching nail for the other hand resulting in two lines of five.
Remove the plastic covering using the tab and apply trying not to come in contact with the sticky side unless it’s the target nail! See that the false nail is close up to the cuticle as possible without pain. I have read somewhere one should, as far as possible, push the false nail up and under your cuticle! This is not only dangerous but painful and totally unnecessary unless your going to be scrutinised close up from your friends!

It’s a good idea to leave the thumbs to the end as they will be instrumental in helping press on all the others. Times vary, some say press for 5 or 10 seconds per nail, some 30. Maybe a little longer is better, especially when starting out with press-on nails.
Oh yes almost forgot there is a recommended 30 minute ‘settling in’ phase in which one should keep away from watery substances.
So that’s the theory now to my first attempt, which I will relate after a break in part two of this nail marathon.

[Ed: Use the Nail as link to go to Part Two.]

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