© 2020 Caitlin Jane Adams

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Your guide to fake nails


We can’t help but to admire all those girls on Instagram with flawless makeup, perfectly styled hair, stunning outfits, and weirdly enough, their ‘on-point’ nails. For a while, each time I opened Instagram I was bombarded by celebrities rocking their extravagant manicures, and I wanted in. Cardi B, Rihanna, even King Kylie herself posted gorgeous bedazzled manicures, and the nail envy was growing inside me until one day I finally cracked, and booked in for my first set of fake nails. 


It’s been almost a year now, and I think to think I know my SNS from my acrylics, my gel coats from my shellac, and am here to help you decide if fake nails are right for you. Here’s everything I wish I knew before I got fake nails


1. Choose the right salon

Not all salons are equal when it comes to looking after your precious fingertips. We’ve all heard horror stories of nail infections, badly done nails, and poor customer service that can make getting a set of fake nails seem like a bad idea. 

By checking google ratings, looking at social media pages, and asking friends where they get their nails done, you can easily avoid salons that treat their customers badly. 

I personally found that Instagram was a great way to sort through the good salons from the bad ones. Active social media pages are typically a sign that the salon is professional and will take care of your nails, more so than a random salon that has a dead FaceBook page from 2014.

Find a salon that you can keep going to. Loyalty is a big deal in the nail industry, and it’s always a nice feeling walking in and knowing who’s doing your nails. (I even get freebies at my salon!)


2. Know the different types of manicures available.

It’s good to know what kind of manicure you’re after before you walk into the salon. SNS and acrylic are nail overlays that often involve a ‘tip’ that they glue onto your natural nail. Gel is a strong nail polish set with UV light, and can sometimes be removed at home. Shellac is an overlay on your natural nail, and needs to be removed by a qualified nail technician. 

So which one should you get? 

I’ve been getting SNS for almost a year now, and I love it. SNS doesn’t require the strong smelling chemicals that are used in acrylic nails, and most nail technicians will actually encourage you to get SNS instead. 

If you want something gentle on the nails, gel would be the best way to go.


3. Have an idea of the shape, colour, and length.

There’s nothing worse than waiting in line to order food and finally getting to the counter, only to say ‘uh, hang on let me look at the menu’. Do your research so you know what to ask for! Have a look on Instagram and Pinterest at nails that inspire you. Better yet, have a look at some YouTube tutorials and see if you come across a design you’d like to try out. 

There are so many different shapes available, so make sure you look them up or have a reference photo for your technician when they ask what kind of manicure you'd like.

A set of SNS will last 2-3 weeks (4 if you try to stretch them out like me!)  So choose wisely. 


4. It’s expensive

My salon charges me about $45 for a refill set. They take the old ones off, and redo them with a new set. This is no tips, no intricate nail designs etc. For a holiday I went on recently, I decided to be more adventure and get a gorgeous set of nails with diamontes, stickers, nail art, and various colours. I paid $55 for those, but know that other salons could charge up to $70 for the same set. 


5. It takes longer than expected

The first time you get SNS it only takes around 45 minutes, but every other time after that it can take about an hour (since they soak off the old nails). Acrylic nails usually get filed down and refilled, whereas SNS gets fully removed and put back on. 

If you’re visiting a popular salon on the weekend, prepare to have to wait for a while (unless you pre-book).


6. They can get in the way

If you get long nails or let them grow out to be long, prepare for them to get in the way nad maybe break. Picking up coins/credit cards from a flat surface becomes really difficult, let alone opening a can of soft drink! 

It’s best to start off short and see how you feel when they grow longer (it’s addictive seeing them long!)



7. It's okay to have fun with them!

Nails are a great way to express yourself. It’s so much fun matching them to an outfit or makeup for a big event, or even having a cute set that suits your personality. Don’t stress too much wondering if you chose the right colour/shape, you’ll get to do it ALL over again in a few short weeks. 


Go off and slay, you’re now a nail EXPERT.