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They say one can tell a lady’s age from her hands and her neck…

Here I am again, posting about fripperies rather than anything serious. I could talk about how difficult it is going to be for me to sit down with the Boywonder on his return from France this evening and examine his options for the rest of his life, AGAIN. Or how I am viewing the next month or so with increasing trepidation.

Apparently, I’m supposed to be concerned about this sort of thing all the time and, as an intelligent woman, eschew with trivia such as nicely manicured nails. It is, however, only supposedly-intelligent men who have ever said this at me. Most women seem be cool with the fact that I can care about cosmetic enhancement and, say, the Syrian situation simultaneously. It could be women’s stereotypical ability to multi-task or perhaps most of the intelligent men I know can think clearly only when parcelling things up in neat little boxes. Who knows? And, after all, I saddled myself with this selfsame affliction for too many years before lightening up and having some fun. But don’t you think it’s a pity that some people lack the imagination to see that a person’s outlook can encompass thoughts both serious and less serious and that that does not detract from their intelligence or serious intent? But heigh-ho, what do I know?

Above is a picture of my hand embellished with Biosculpture Gel nails in shade pillar box red.  Now, I’ve written about gel nails in the past. I’ve had different forms from Essie and Jessica which have yielded results of various durability (or dubious variability.) To my mind, whether a gel manicure lasts for the promised number of weeks is totally and completely dependent on the skill of the person who does the manicure. It is for this reason that I shall never rush and buy the whole set of Bioscuplture colours for home use.

In the past, I’ve been really disappointed with gel manicures that broke or peeled or, even when they didn’t, reduced my naturally delicate fingernails to a crumbling mass for six months after the manicure. So I’d never envisage having my nails permanently embellished with gel. I’ve concluded that it’s great for a special occasion, however, particularly if your nails are dry, flaky and susceptible to damage anyway; there’s not a lot to lose. I had a beautifully-applied Jessica Geleration manicure for Brian and Alison’s wedding last month, which lasted so well that it was undamaged as my nails grew and pushed the colour gradually towards the nailtip. I eventually decided that they looked odd and that I’d have to have them soaked off. This is another drawback of gel nails: the professional soak-off.

My local salon had no spare time slots so off I popped, irretrievably delayed by roadworks that had sprouted overnight like mushrooms, to the Nails Inc bar at Bluewater. I’m a little suspicious of these places, where clients are seated in ranks of ten like at a kaiten sushi conveyor belt, but the therapist was friendly and professional despite my late arrival. Originally I was just going to have a soak off  but I was celebrating the start of my staycation so I decided to have them re-done. In red. To remind me what a vibrant, confident, interesting, fun woman I am. Or something.

These photos were taken 9 days after that. Look: not one single chip and, hand-on-heart nary a broken old chipped nail. In fact my nails are growing and now all of them are longer than I’ve ever managed to grow them before. Slightly irritatingly long as it happens.

Turns out that the nail technicians at bars like these are doing nothing but nails all day, all week, and soon become quite accomplished. They stick to the knitting, as Tom Peters might have it. What is more, the Bioscuplture Gel is apparently unlike any of its imitations in that it is porous and lets the air and water pass through. I am hoping that it is this feature that will protect my nails against damage when the red is eventually taken off in a few weeks’ time, with any luck. Actually, I’ll be replacing the red with a shade to match my outfit for the forthcoming family civil partnership: I’m so excited about this.

As recommended I bought some vitamin E oil, which I paint on with the brush applicator every night and massage into the nails and this has kept my cuticles from fraying and drying and maintained the glossiness of the red. Yes, it does add yet another step to my nighttime beauty routine but there’s not usually an audience so that doesn’t really matter. All in all I’m delighted. We shall see what happens to the nails in a couple of weeks but I thought I’d write this while I was still proudly click-clacking on my laptop keys.


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Anyone read palms?


And look: here they are five weeks later.

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Not a single chip or break and starting to lift in only the tiniest way. I’m having them soaked off tomorrow and shortened, as the length of my nails is starting to make me like one of those incapable women. I’ll have them done in orange to match my jacket for next Saturday’s Big Event but after that it will be time for a break from Biosculpture I think, and we’ll see what effect it has had on my nails.

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