Testing The Waters: My Impulse Powdered and Tipped Manicure Experience

I’ve been waiting for a divine inspiration for my first blog post, and I think that fell upon me on Tuesday. At a nail salon of all places. I work a 9 to 5 job in Center City, so I am understandably really tired at the end of the day — I wanted to do something relaxing after 9 hours of grinding. I knew I wanted—no, needed — to  get my nails done. My once-shining and smooth white gel manicure became a deteriorating, jagged sight too quickly. It didn’t help that the satisfaction of peeling off sizel strips tempted me until I had only four partly manicured fingers left.

After unnecessarily debating for about an hour about whether I should go home to get my nails done or go near work with my friend, I decided to try out a new salon in the city. It was about a block from work, Yuya Nail Spa. I walked into the spartan interior of the salon and was immediately hit with slightly chemical fumes that reminded me of a Supercuts. But I didn’t mind. My nails were in desperate need of some TLC.

I knew that I wanted gel again. I know, I know, it’s bad for your nails to get it twice in a row. But I couldn’t resist that thick, long-lasting shine. When I told the woman at the salon that I wanted white gel, she asked if I wanted regular gel or powdered gel. Powdered gel? I was taken aback. I later learned in my Finsta poll asking who had heard of it that I was among approximately 20% of people who were out of the loop. After four minutes of back and forth with the woman, I decided to try the powder even though it was ten dollars more. The woman convinced me with her talk of nail health and polish longevity.

One thing about me is that I’m really specific about my nails. Maybe “specific” isn’t the word – it might be “anal.” Not even about the color, per se, but the length. When my nails are more than about a centimeter long, I start to get antsy. If I don’t find my turtle shaped nail clipper soon enough, the fate of the nail is tragic. I’ll pick it until it’s too short and honestly kind of painful. Great habit.

I have major respect for people who can stand having luxuriously long nails, however, I am not one of those people. But I want to be.

I had a small panic attack when the woman doing my nails asked if I wanted “tips”. I was already going out of my comfort zone with the powder. But what better time to do it than now? I finally agreed to try out a tip on my pinky, and immediately decided to get nail extensions on all. ten. nails.

There were about four women who took turns on my nails throughout the appointment. The first promised me that the tips wouldn’t take up any extra time. I then learned, however, that she was mistaken. The second woman put the tips on, and the process of picking the right size, snipping it to length, gluing it, shaving it down, filing it and shaving it down again took about 25 minutes. Needless to say I missed my train.

When they shaved down my nails with the electric file, I started to panic. It felt as though they were eroding my nail away, down to the skin. My anxiety really kicked in and I asked if they were doing it too intensely, but they said they were on the tips, not my nails. They were definitely on my real nails, but I took a deep breath and Trusted The Process.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the process of putting the powder on took even longer. Powder gel manicures are essentially getting your nail sticky with clear polish, dipping it in powder and then doing that four times. It’s basically Fun Dip for your nails.

You know when you get your hair cut and you feel like you’re going to cry because it’s not what you wanted? Well, that’s how I felt to an extent. After a few powdery layers, my nails were bulging with thick, poorly done coats that reminded me of that bubble nails trend from 2014. They were bumpy and looked like slabs of clay on my poor little nails.

Somehow, in the next 20 minutes after the two to three women dipped and polished my nails 100 times, they used a nail file, an electric shaving tool and two kinds of clear polish to get my nails looking… good? I was in shock. They toiled at my hands swiftly and focused on each nail. Slowly but surely, they smoothed out. Then, they started to feel like shiny, little almonds. They are still thick due to the nail tips and 4 layers of powder, but at least they are smooth and look good from a bird’s eye view.

I have now been rocking the powder manicure and long nails for two days, and let me just say… they are fun. With ASMR Youtube channels in mind, I have been tapping hard surfaces with my tips non-stop and making soothing little clicking sounds (sorry to the people near me in the newsroom.) I have been pressing them and fiddling with them like crazy. It’s like a built-in stress reliever.

Depending on how long these actually last, I might actually get them again. It was a slightly traumatic manicure experience, but I’ve already gotten some compliments on my white, shiny, soothing almonds. 7/10